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Quatermass

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Nigel Kneale apparently wrote this in the 1960s, which might explain why it seems out of date.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
John Mills
Joe Kapp
Simon MacCorkindale
Kickalong
Ralph Arliss
Caraway
Paul Rosebury
Bee
Jane Bertish
Hettie Carlson
Rebecca Saire
Sal
Toyah Willcox
Chuck Marshall
Tony Sibbald
Clare Kapp
Barbara Kellerman
Gurov
Brewster Mason
Annie Morgan
Margaret Tyzack
Tommy Roach
Bruce Purchase
Isabel
Annabelle Lanyon
Frank Chen
David Yip
Toby Gough
Neil Stacy
Alison Thorpe
Brenda Fricker
Woman Minister
Elsie Randolph
Jack
Larry Noble
Edna
Gretchen Franklin
Arthur
James Ottaway
Jane
Clare Ruane
Chisholm
Donald Eccles
Debbie, Kapp Child
Joanna Joseph