1 9 7 9 (UK)
4 x 50 minute episodes
This four-part miniseries was written by Nigel Kneale and directed by Piers Haggard and formed the final part of Kneale’s Quatermass saga.
Professor Quatermass (John Mills) arrives in London to appear on a television programme about a joint Soviet/American space mission. London is little more than a pile of rubble and is on the brink of anarchy.
Quatermass is mugged by a gang of thugs but saved by Professor Joe Kapp (Simon MacCorkindale). Kapp is an astronomer due to appear on the same show.
Kapp recognises the famous Quatermass and invites him to his home in the country where he has built a radio telescope and lives a simple life with his family.
Something very strange is happening though. Contact was suddenly lost with the space mission and young people seem to be congregating at Stonehenge-style sites where they believe aliens will transport them to a better world.
Nigel Kneale apparently wrote this in the 1960s, which might explain why it seems out of date. The hippie gangs – or Planet People as they are known – congregating at the monuments seem hopelessly anachronistic considering this was transmitted at the tail-end of the punk era. The hippie leader Kickalong (Ralph Arliss) looks like a reject from a Mad Max film
This was the first Quatermass television adaptation for some time as the BBC declined to produce it in the end despite their early interest. The series was eventually made by Euston Films for ITV.
A 100-minute theatrical cut of this 200-minute miniseries was released as The Quatermass Conclusion for theatrical release abroad. The theatrical cut is rather incoherent and best avoided.
Professor Bernard Quatermass
Debbie, Kapp Child