The Quatermass Experiment (partially lost BBC serial; 1953)

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Quatexp01.jpg

Title card of the serial.

Status: Partially Lost

The Quatermass Experiment was a BBC television serial which was broadcasted between the 18th of July to the 22nd of August 1953. The Quatermass Experiment has been heavily influential on other works of Sci-Fi, such as Doctor Who and Alien.

Plot

The plot follows Professor Bernard Quatermass, leader of the British rocket group. Quatermass has launched the first human expedition into space, but contact has been lost with the rocket after it overshoots its planned orbit. They later regain contact with the rocket but it has crash landed in London. When they open the rocket they discover that only one of the three crew members is inside. The surviving astronaut 'Carroon' is taken into care by  rocket group's doctor 'Briscoe'. Upon further inspection of Carroon, it is revealed that he has absorbed the consciousness of the other two crew members. Also, he is slowly mutating into a  plant-like alien creature, who's spores could spell the end for humanity.

Availability

All six parts of the serial were broadcasted live. The BBC had plans to record the serial onto 35MM prints for preservation and overseas sale. The Canadian Broadcasting Company was also interested in airing the serial. However, only the first two installments were recorded before the BBC abandoned the notion. Today, only poor-quality recordings of part one and two exist in BBC archives. An insect can be seen on the screen for several moments during the recording of part two. It is highly unlikely that the missing installments well ever be found due to them being broadcasted live. However, there is a Hammer horror movie adaptation known as the Quatermass Xperiment. In 2005, BBC 4 produced a remake of the story starring Mark Gatiss and David Tennant.

Gallery

Part one of the serial.