1 9 6 2 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
British space scientists are experimenting with breaking through the Van Allen belts – two belts of highly radioactive particles 500 and 9,000 miles up in the earth’s atmosphere – in order to be able to reach the moon.
As the series opens, American astronaut Major Mike Sklorski (Frank Fenter) is returning to Earth, having successfully traversed the belts and performed a single orbit of the earth.
His shuttle returns safely with the astronaut in fine health, but it is discovered that the cameras and tape recorders inside the capsule had stopped for nineteen seconds prior to re-entry.
Sir Robert Nailer (William Dexter), the British Head of Space Research, is keen to discover the cause and ascertain any side effects Sklorski may be experiencing.
Less than an hour after the capsule is opened, the astronaut dies – with no apparent medical reason for his death.
Nailer becomes even more concerned when Doctor Weatherfield (Felix Deebank) – the designer of the rocket and the first man to enter the space capsule when it was opened – disappears from his hotel after a terrible nightmare in which he had “absorbed” the mind of the dead astronaut.
Meanwhile, a new giant radio telescope receives an unintelligible signal from an unknown source.
With Weatherfield still missing, the astronaut, Sklorski, is seen alive, leading Sir Robert Nailer to believe that Sklorski and Weatherfield have become one body with one personality.
Elsewhere in Britain, other pairs of men encounter the same phenomenon – one is killed, and one goes missing.
The number of victims doubles each time while the time between events reduces by half.
It appears the earth is under some form of intelligent attack from two alien forces – the Jotus and the Nebula.
This six-part Saturday night science-fiction series from the BBC was highly innovative at the time and compellingly addictive, keeping viewers guessing to the end whether it was radiation contamination or an alien encounter.
Sir Robert Nailer
Dr Alan Tullis
Major Mike Sklorski
Det. Supt. Allison
Det. Chief Supt. Stroud