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 Posted:   Aug 17, 2014 - 11:21 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Release date 13th October.

Designed as an offshoot from the legendary Armchair Theatre, Out of this World was devised by television colossus Sydney Newman (Doctor Who, The Avengers) and Irene Shubik (The Wednesday Play, Rumpole of the Bailey) in 1962 to present the science fiction genre at its intelligent best to an adult audience.

An anthology series produced by Leonard White, dramatising the cream of literary science fiction, from such writers as Isaac Asimov, Clifford Simak and Philip K. Dick, and using the considerable scriptwriting talents of Clive Exton, Leon Griffiths and Terry Nation, the show was a tremendous success, paving the way for Irene Shubik's later classic series Out of the Unknown. Hosted by veteran actor Boris Karloff, each episode explored every aspect of the genre from satire to suspense, from tense drama to sparkling comedy, with the greatest flair and invention that Sixties television could provide.

This long awaited release presents the only surviving episode, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Little Lost Robot, with Maxine Audley as the formidable 'robopsychologist' Susan Calvin. Also included are two audio recordings of otherwise lost episodes Impostor by Philip K Dick, dramatised by Terry Nation who devised the Daleks for Doctor Who the following year, and Cold Equations, Tom Godwin's suspenseful tale featuring a very young Jane Asher, the impeccable Peter Wyngarde and a screenplay by Clive Exton. Exton's script for John Wyndhams The Dumb Martian, which heralded the series, is also included to download.

Special features

Digitally remastered presentation of Little Lost Robot
Cold Equations (Paul Bernard, 1962, audio only): adaptation of a short story by Tom Godwin
Impostor (Peter Hammond, 1962, audio only): Terry Nation's adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story
Dumb Martian (1962): downloadable PDF of the script for this lost episode, adapted from a story by John Wyndham
Illustrated booklet with essay by Oliver Wake, and full credits

 Posted:   Jan 7, 2017 - 6:34 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

The list of writers on the BBC sci-fi series Out of the Unknown reads like a Who’s Who of literary talent: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham, JG Ballard, EM Forster and JB Priestley.

But this programme, which ran from 1965 to 1971, ticks just about all the boxes for lovers of older British genre TV: creepy title sequences; “radiophonic” music and soundscapes; plenty of appearances from soon-to-be familiar faces – from George Cole to David Hemmings, from Lesley-Anne Down to Burt Kwouk and Geoffrey Palmer.

Some Lapse of Time – an episode about a doctor pushed to the edge of collapse by nightmarish visions while treating a homeless man suffering from high levels of radiation poisoning – is played out in a gleaming white hospital set created by a talented young BBC designer called Ridley Scott. Whatever became of him?

Really, though, the ideas are the star of this anthology – there wasn’t the budget for much else. There is plenty of cheap, black-and-white, ingenious futurism, such as the underground dwelling pods in the excellent adaptation of Forster’s The Machine Stops. His classic novella depicts a world in which people are isolated from one another and from the natural world, dependent on a supercomputer that controls every aspect of their lives and allows them to message each other instantly. Sound familiar? Forster’s hubristic tale dates from 1909.

Another hit is Ballard’s Thirteen to Centaurus, set on a space station en route to colonise a distant star system, a journey so long that it will take generations. We learn that this is merely a real-time simulation experiment on Earth – but how do you reveal the shocking truth to people born on “the voyage”? Meanwhile, in David Campton’s Stranger in the Family, a young man living with his family on a council estate is monitored by scientists hiding in the flat next door as he develops mental powers that enable him to influence the minds of others. The boy looks normal, apart from his unsettling lack of fingernails.

Ironically, it is the later, colour episodes – made after original producer Irene Shubik’s departure – that seem the most dated today. Those stories, which mostly dealt in psychological horror, are still frequently great, but are perhaps a bit more standard fare. They are certainly less fantastical.

It is the sort of show that is so full of twisting tales and headspinning concepts that it sticks solidly in the viewer’s mind – which was handy, as that is where this seldom-repeated classic dwelt for decades, as one of the many victims of the BBC’s shortsighted 1970s tape-wiping policy. Much of this series is lost: only 20 episodes remain. Which is why this box set from the BFI is such a significant release, its title taking on a whole new, ironic meaning.

 Posted:   Jan 7, 2017 - 7:30 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

I keep meaning to buy this set, it's only £25 from Zavvi, in fact the next time it dips a bit or I can use a discount code I will. I sure some episodes will jog what's left of my brain, as I probably saw them all when they went out.

 Posted:   Jan 7, 2017 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

This thread is confusing. The first post is for the single surviving episode from OUT OF THIS WORLD, not OUT OF THE UNKNOWN released in 2014 (The Guardian review was from mid-2016). Amazon.UK link:

BFI trailer

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