1 9 8 2 (UK)
10 x 60 minute episodes
Scientist Dr Paul Brack (Donald Sumpter) is working on a project at Wintersham – one of Britain’s nuclear power stations – when it’s hit by an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale.
Appalled at the lack of protection at the plant – and the subsequent cover-up – the disenchanted Brack has a falling out with his Atomic Energy Authority employers and seeks advice from Max Challen (Graham Crowden), a respected figure in the scientific community.
He quits his job at the power station and joins energy consultant Harold Harlan (Robert Lang), agreeing to write a report on potential future energy sources, including oil, coal, wind, sea and the sun – but Harlan has his own motives for hiring Brack.
Harlan and Brack come to loggerheads over the contents and conclusions of the report and the two find themselves in sharp conflict when Brack – impressed by the imaginative and practical design of a prototype aerogenerator pioneered by Cloudley Grainer (David Waller) – tries to arouse interest in electricity-generating windmills.
He also sets out to show that the sun and the sea could provide many answers to Britain’s energy problems if only the political willpower existed. Unfortunately, he encounters great political indifference and financial embarrassment in his crusade to save the future from the present.
Viewers needed an O-Level in physics to stay with the quick-fire dialogue in the opening episode – “a spent fuel stringer jumped its lifting tackle. The drop rakes eventually held but the lateral shock and turbulence have probably done considerable damage, especially at the lateral end of the stringer, and that could mean chunks of graphite sleeve being carried through the core. Fuel pins will have broken, scattering fission products throughout the core. Some are already leaking past the nose cone of the pile cap” – but The Brack Report was a commendable attempt by Thames Television to confront a modern issue in drama form.
Dr Paul Brack