9 September 2002 | gnb
It's all in the stone...
"The Stone Tape" is a real oddity - how can a sci-fi/fantasy drama of this high standard go unnoticed for so long.
Transmitted at Christmas in 1972 and repeated the following year, nothing has been seen of this classic piece of TV until earlier this year when the BFI released it on both video and DVD.
Written by Quatermass scribe Nigel Kneale and directed by TV/film veteran Peter Sasdy, "The Stone Tape" is an example of all the elements working together to produce a masterpiece.
In brief, the story concerns a group of scientists staying in a converted manor house to carry out research into a new recording medium to replace magnetic tape. One of the analysts, Jill Greely, has visions of a ghost in the one room of the house the workmen refused to renovate. The rest of the team then set about surveying this ghost and come to the conclusion that it is the stone of the room which has captured the image of the woman and the presence of certain receptive people, namely Jill, has triggered its playback, hence stone tape.
This is a well written and well directed piece of fantasy drama mixing the right amount of moody lighting and music with Peter Bryant and Jane Asher's kitchen sink romance to create something instantly believable as well as disturbing.
TV favourites such as Iain Cuthbertson and Tom Chadbon are present to make up the numbers in the impressive supporting cast.
A spooky masterpiece - go and buy the video or if your budget will allow, the DVD for Nigel Kneale's interesting and revealing commentary.