Friday 2 August 2019

Episode 1 - The Quatermass Experiment - Part One

BERGCAST finally crashlands somewhere near Croydon with its inaugural episode, first of a two-part exploration with performer, writer, broadcaster and author of an upcoming Quatermass book, Toby Hadoke.

For gallivanting reasons, I couldn't make the recording session, so Jon and Toby go ahead without me, and in this episode they explore what the deal is with Inspector Lomax and the Loch Ness Monster, whether a cast member's beef with a cat got the poor thing sacked from the production, and whether everyone really came out and took a bow at the end of “State of Emergency”.

I find The Quatermass Experiment pretty haunting. It's not the show that was broadcast – it's a fragmentary copy of it. To see the original drama, you would have had to have been there in 1953, watching the actors play live. This is only the result of a camera pointing at the TV. In a sense, it's not a recording of the programme, it's a recording of the experience of watching the programme. It's largely lost to memory. It'd take a miracle to be able to see the rest of it, and it's gradually on its way to leaving the preserve of living memory. More or less everyone significant involved in its making is gone. We're watching a blurry facsimile of the work of the dead. It's a ghost of television.

But it's also really great. I suppose an expectation that something from 1953 is going to be a bit rubbish by modern standards, but really, no. Kneale's writing is poetic. It is alive, it is alive.

You can listen to BERGCAST here, at the BERGCAST site, and, when all the pings happen and contact has been established, via iTunes.