back to article Goodbye Blighty: The alternative reality of Quatermass II

The Quatermass Experiment saw Nigel Kneale lay the foundations of what, in the era of trilogies, prequels, sequels and reboots, the entertainment biz would almost certainly call "a franchise". Kneale created Professor Bernard Quatermass, a gifted British rocket scientist whose adventures would be told and re-told eight times …


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  2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge


    Great article, putting Quatermass into its historical milieu. However, I take some issue with the comment "Their machine guns sport a drum magazine and look a lot like the Red Army's PPSh-41". From the still on page 1, it is fairly clear that it is a Thompson sub-machine gun with a drum magazine, well known to British viewers in those days as the weapon of choice for gangsters (often carried in violin cases for some reason). It would be good to be able to read more into that, but is is probably that the props department had plenty of them lying around.

    Equally, the helmet in that still looks more like those worn by GIs in WW2. I'll leave others to talk about the predictive powers of Nigel Kneale, and whether he should be nicknamed "Nostradamus" ...

  3. SW10

    It's curtains for you...

    Now look here, the Iron Curtain didn't rise, it descended.

    Here's what the great man said:

    "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

    1. Heathroi

      Re: It's curtains for you...

      well Winston would be in the best place to know about the Iron Curtain, as he played a part in creating it.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    A timely article

    I watched the new film The World's End yesterday, which affectionately draws on this sort of classic British alien invasion story... a bit John Wyndham.

  5. Dr_N Silver badge

    Recently watched Quatermass II on DVD

    For a 1955 TV production it stands up very very well.

    A sinister plot with a few horrific scenes that don't dwell on gore. With some excellent political commentary of the time.

    How is it not possible to create such shows now?

    All the Sci-Fi we get these days is a very weak Dr Who and the occasional US show.

    (And to be fair the last must-see US show was probably the Battlestar Galactic reboot. The spin-offs of which were shockingly bad.)

    1. Petrea Mitchell

      Re: Recently watched Quatermass II on DVD

      There's some excellent science fiction* being produced in anime, an increasing amount of which is available to the UK (Free! Legally!) via Crunchyroll. My current top recommendation is Space Brothers, which is practically the definition of a show that Hollywood and the BBC could never make. If that's too low-key for you, try From the New World or Steins Gate.

      North American readers should also go over to Hulu and check out Tiger & Bunny, which despite the title is a Watchmen for our day and age.

      * And plenty of crap, per Sturgeon's Law. But seriously, there is some really, really good stuff out there.

  6. Jedit

    "Later we had Ealing Studios’ Went the Day Well"

    I'm not sure what the writer is trying to say here. He seems to be saying that Quatermass II was an infuence on Went The Day Well, but it was released 13 years after that movie.

    1. BlinkenLights

      Re: "Later we had Ealing Studios’ Went the Day Well"

      No, this was about "a strand of British storytelling called invasion literature", and "later" was after H.G.Wells etc.

  7. Steve the Cynic

    Dr Who, a conundrum

    "And don't expect a Doctor Who-style one-hour romp - Quatermass II is six finely-crafted half-hour episodes broadcast once a week"

    You know, originally Doctor Who was done like that, little arcs of four or six 30-minute episodes. And then there was the Key to Time, which was a half-dozen of them linked together with an over-arching super-arc.

    But for me, "The Doctor" means Tom Baker...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spoiler warning

    No, not here.

    But even though the show in question is fifty years old, the article should have had one.

  9. adrianww

    Not fogetting...

    ...the greatest Quatermass spin-off of them all - step forward and take a bow the inimitable:

    Quatermass OBE!

    As presented, performed and plinged by Messrs Milligan, Sellers and Secombe.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whereas here in the States....

    I think Dr. Quatermass guest-starred on an episode of CSI!

  11. sonophy
    Thumb Up

    You can find: Quatermass Experiment (2 episodes), Quatermass II (6 episodes), Quatermass and The Pit (6 episodes) at, They are considered Public Domain.

    1. Stuart Halliday

      They're not PD....

      Do yourself a favour. Get hold of a good quality DVD.

      Quatermass is a brilliant British icon. Let's hope Nigel makes more of this character available for us to enjoy for years to come.

      1. thomas newton

        that might be a problem, as Mr. Kneale unfortunately passed away in 2006...

  12. Zot

    In hate it when a thumbnail picture... not included in the actual article!

    Just saying.

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