QUATERMASS

July 13th, 2009 | researchmaterial

QUATERMASS, or, as it has been renamed since, THE QUATERMASS CONCLUSION, was the final QUATERMASS television presentation. (Many years later, a radio presentation, THE QUATERMASS MEMOIRS, tied the man’s life together marvellously.

Professor Bernard Quatermass, founder and head of the British Experimental Rocket Group, the other great hero of British sf television, had been off the screen since 1959. The first three QUATERMASS serials helped define television drama. Imagine an sf television series that emptied out the country’s pubs once a week. That was THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, QUATERMASS 2 and QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. Nigel Kneale, creator and writer of all the QUATERMASS projects, offered this to the BBC, who refused it. And so Euston Films produced it for ITV in 1979.

Kneale was one of my great influences. And just tonight someone pointed out to me that (only) the first of the QUATERMASS episodes is on Google Video. It may seem a little old and creaky to you, but please do bear with it.


15 Responses to “QUATERMASS”

  1. One of my earliest memories is of watching bits and pieces of Quatermass and the Pit when I was three or four years old. Considering that I can say the same thing about Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who and Space: 1999, it’s hardly surprising that I’ve grown up enjoying a love affair with British science fiction, and slept with a light on until I shacked up with my first serious girlfriend.

  2. Thank for this, I used to watch Quatermass when I was younger and I’m only 27. I remember being really creeped out by the horrible blob things in the cooling towers in, I think Quatermass 2.

  3. I keep thinking about Allan Quatermain. Is being preoccupied with naming coincidences wrong? Is Quater-X the British “X Rogers”?

  4. I have all the Qs either on DVD or tape. Great stuff. Would like to hear MEMOIRS, too, if anyone can point me to ‘em.

  5. No, it’s simply an old British naming form. Manx, I think. Most of the Quater-‘s died off by the Sixties.

  6. Ah, just found it. Thanks much.

    Very timely, WE.

    Cheers!

  7. Slow opening, but now I’m halfway through and I’m enjoying it. Thanks!

  8. Quatermass and the Pit played in the states as “Five million years to Earth.” I saw it as a kid, and at firswt was impressed at how sophisticated it was compared to a lot of the SF / monster movie stuff that made it onto the old-movie slots. And then it preceded to scare the boogers out of me with that Martians-as-the-devil bit.

  9. The tone of the Quatermass material is something unique that resonates with certain people even now. I think the appeal lies in a knowledgeable, genial-yet-slightly-cranky person standing straight-backed amidst chaos, because we know this solidity is in part fed by the circumstances – the sort of person we’d all like to be, in a way.

  10. oh, i have the quatermass memoirs bbc radio thing somewhere. will look it out and disseminate

  11. This was classic Quatermass, and none of those dreary happy endings either, left me pretty shell shocked when I watched this aged about 6!

    And this serial is available on DVD if your interested. Its well worth it as well (if its been discontinued I could also ‘back you up’ a copy Mr Ellis).

  12. i love this series.
    This, the BBC version of Day of the Triffids and the Railway Station episode of Sapphire and Steel are the holy trinity of my early sci fi memories.

  13. A few years ago, before MOMI had closed on the South Bank, they showed all the episodes of the last Quatermass (Ringstone round) in their wee cinema. A fantastic collection of oddballs, people from the original production and youngsters like me who had it seared to their eyeballs as kids were in the audience.

    Kneale even used a Theramin in the plot. Geek.

  14. you have mail, sir

  15. For those who wish to check out the other serials they are here:

    http://www.guba.com/general/search?query=quatermass&set=5&x=13&y=8

    All in glorious black& white which makes them far creepier and lovely than color.