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  • The space rocket project led by Professor Quatermass has now not heard from their crew for several days and the worst is feared. Suddenly though the rocket reappears and they manage to get it back to Earth by remote control, still not knowing the fate of the crew. When they breach the hull they find only one member of the crew in the craft – the others "gone". With the media and other investigators looking on, Quatermass and Dr Briscoe try to work out what happened up there when contact was lost, where the other two crew members are and what has happened to survivor Carroon, who is in a panicked and incoherent state.

    Two interesting, maybe even good, ideas here. Firstly have a modern go at Quatermass; secondly do a live broadcast of a multi-location drama (they have done it with dramas in the US like ER to reasonable effect). Putting them together into one idea though only works if one doesn't limit or detract from the other, which you gotta feel happens here. Never having really the original Quatermass (I've only ever seen a couple of the movies – which I enjoyed), I'm not protective over the subject and a remake is not something that I specifically have an issue with – if it is good or bad I will watch it on its own merits, not in comparison to something else. The remake itself on paper offers tension, global threats, fear of the unknown and solid sci-fi and it is disappointing then that more is not made of it.

    Sadly a lot of the biggest failings come down to the delivery of the first idea. The thing about it being live: why? In what way did it help the film other than just being a gimmick to make people watch (which, being BBC4 and now being just a repeat, I doubt does much). I did see a modern musical retelling of the crucifixion done in Manchester (Manchester Passion) and that was done live. While that film was not perfect, at least it was live in a crowd and in public – the fact it was live was a positive (or at least interesting) aspect to it. Here all it seemed to do was meant that it was done cheaply and not in the way that best serves the story. It is not that anyone laughs or falls over, but just that the scenes are done with limited cameras and camera positions, you don't get a lot of edits around a scene, the use of music is limited and of course special effects are not really involved.

    Technically I'm sure it was impressive to pull it off but this doesn't translate into value for the viewer. Instead what I found was, while the basic story offered me potential, all I ended up thinking about was how much better it would have been if they had made a "proper" film (ie, take your time and redo bits if need be – play with the edit etc) rather than this experiment. It is not that I needed effects but all the way through the fact that they get one shot at everything does prevent it doing more things that would have been useful – such as effects, such as more cuts around scenes, such as multiple angles, such as more locations etc. What the live aspect doesn't explain though is why the film cannot decide when it is set. The characters mostly appear to be in the 1950's, they all talk in the tones and language of 1950's Britain, the space mission is certainly not occurring in the world of 2005 but yet we are in the Tate Modern and are watching the modern BBC news. It is not a massive problem but it just felt like someone wrote this, saw that the clash but just decided to ignore it.

    The cast are mostly good although you do get the impression mostly that nobody is really pushing themselves or doing anything more exciting than making sure it is right first time. Flemyng is probably not right for the title role but he was OK – if the film had been better generally I think he would have been exposed but as it was he did alright. Tennant, Gatiss, Dunbarr and Varma all do solid work and seem to fit their characters but for me the best performance was from Tiernan. Essentially a babbling wreck throughout the film, if he hadn't convinced then the rest would have fallen down; but fortunately he pulls it off and mostly his weird state is quite effective.

    I will not recommend this film to anyone because I don't think it was that good. I suppose if you specifically want to see a project (or gimmick) then the live broadcast bit may interest you but I cannot imagine many came for that. No, instead you will be, like I was, attracted by the name and the cast and will be hoping for a good bit of sci-fi. Sadly the live broadcast gimmick takes away a lot while bringing nothing to the table of value to the viewer. A shame because the material's potential is there to see but sadly this is just a basic film that doesn't work and, for another project, I would like to see them do it again with the same cast etc but with the resources of time and money added – just to see what they can do then.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw the original when it went out live and have copies of episodes 1 and 2, and the Exclusive Films version made in 1955. By far the worst version is this 2005 version.

    I quite understand why the recording techniques in 1953 were not good, but did the BBC really give up trying to record episodes 3 onwards? And if it went out live in 1953, was it really so hard to achieve that in 2005? I realize that the director Sam Miller was probably told to recreate the atmosphere of the original broadcast, but I think he got confused between the poor technical abilities of that time and poor direction/poor script.

    I agree with Theo Robertson when he says "All in all this version of a Nigel Kneale classic is more of a nostalgic gimmick than anything else. If the BBC are thinking of doing a live version of 'Quatermass And The Pit' then my advice is don't. It'd be terrible to see the greatest SF drama in the history of television turned in to something like this." Absolutely, Theo.

    And the scene near the end with the guy describing "Turbine Hall"? What he actually said was: "If man has to destroy beauty in order to survive, perhaps he denies his right to do so. This is utter madness. Do you hear me? Utter madness". We hear you! Couldn't have put it better.

    That one scene sums it all up for me - diabolical script! But at least I now know why Indira Varma - "Judith Carroon" in Quatermass - got the part of "Suzie Costello" in Torchwood... she was kissing Doctor Who in Quatermass!
  • The original BBC version of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT shocked a nation way back in 1953 but this remake barely caused a ripple when broadcast three years ago and it's not too difficult to see why . Nowadays television audiences are much more sophisticated and television in the 21st century is more of a bastard child of cinema than theater , but it would be both churlish and incorrect to state that the failings and the lukewarm reception of this remake are down to the audience because the fault lies entirely with the production team

    A lot of people have complained about the anachronistic feel of the production . Indeed it doesn't really feel like it's set in the present day despite the scenes set at the Tate Modern and having BBC News 24 giving away exposition . Perhaps the most startling thing are the large number of characters who smoke , something both television production teams and government have cracked down on and I'm possibly correct in saying if this had been made in the Autumn of 2008 none of the actors would be allowed to smoke on screen by law

    Director Sam Miller usesa countless number of medium shots . In order to generate tension and atmosphere wouldn't close ups have been more effective ? Of course Miller is directing a live broadcast where anything or everything can go wrong so perhaps we should be more forgiving because of the amount of pressure he was under . Unfortunately any tension and atmosphere is diluted with the amount of clichéd POV shots and over head filming of London which outstay their welcome very quickly . There's also a lack of internal logic to these shots . If you're a mutating monster walking around London dressed in a cloak wouldn't someone call the police , and wouldn't the police be going out of their way to hunt down the mutating monster ? Are we to believe the monster hasn't been picked up on CCTV cameras ? Apparently the story is set in a world where we can send astronauts into deep space but no one has invented the close circuit TV camera . Do you understand the anachronistic criticisms now ?

    Some of the problems with the script actually lie at the door of Nigel Kneale . The original version of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT was written as a suspenseful mystery . Alas however it was constructed very much as a whodunnit . Once you know what is happening to Victor Carroon etc there's little mystery involved . It's similar to watching a whodunnit unfold when you already know who did it so there's no surprises . Kneale did construct his story in an episodic form to be broadcast over a period of six weeks which leaves Richard Fell's adaptation very disjointed . In some places it's very slow and in other places so rushed you find yourself thinking if there's been a hitch in the production that stopped a scene being transmitted . We also have to endure a ridiculous scene where an art lover bleats " If you destroy beauty then we don't deserve to go on living " Oh please !

    All in all this version of a Nigel Kneale classic is more of a nostalgic gimmick than anything else . If the BBC are thinking of doing a live version of QUATERMASS AND THE PIT then my advice is don't . It'd be terrible to see the greatest SF drama in the history of television turned in to something like this
  • larryy29 December 2009
    I really liked the old Quatermass films and even though I discovered them belatedly, being from the US, I got some enjoyment out of the TV series. But this remake was simply dreadful. The writing and direction were horrendous. Most of the time it was simply dull, but occasionally the poor actors had to deliver lines that made no sense, or go from quiet discussion to drastic scenery chewing in a heartbeat. I'm a huge science fiction fan and will watch (and enjoy) almost anything with a hint of science fiction to it. I can find great pleasure in a good B film and put up with almost anything to enjoy a bit of space travel, alien contact, or futuristic speculation of any kind. But I had to give up after about 36 minutes of this. I skipped forward, dropping in once in a while if anything looked remotely interesting. It never was. Partly because it was live, partly because it was cheap, and partly because the people who created this were completely lacking in intelligence or imagination, it was utterly without even a pretense of supporting special effects (e.g., monitors with important data the actors are all discussing are tilted away from the camera so you only see the back of the monitor), the sets were plain and very few, the audio was terrible, the whole show was dark and dreary looking, and the ending was as uneventful and lame as any movie or television program I've ever seen. Do not waste your time. It's not even interesting as a curiosity. There is absolutely nothing to recommend it.
  • I'm an old fan of Quatermass and the Pit (watching the DVD now actually...) but I'm a bit surprised by the BBC4 experiment I saw a few late nights back. Not great, not bad, not much actually - it was very much all theatrics and really lacked any real bearing. Plus the ending just completely fizzled out..I sat there thinking "Huh? What have I missed?"

    Jason Flemyng, as good an actor as he is, was just not Quatermass material. As the head of a space program, sorry - he's just too damn young. He lacks gravitas and bearing and just seems as if he's always catching up rather than leading.

    Fun - to a degree - but ultimately disappointing
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With a quality cast I had high expectations for this TV movie. Unfortunately it was the worst BBC adaptation I've seen in years.

    *** Spoilers follow *** Initially, the movie just seemed to be really low budget and dull, with very poor dialogue. It was only when it first moved to a scene that wasn't set in a small room that I realised just how awful this was going to be. It showed the space capsule that had returned perched on top of a mound of earth, rather than being embedded into it in any way. There appeared to be no parachute, which raised the question of how the astronauts were expected to survive the impact in the first place.

    Characters then started to say and do really stupid things. The most extreme example of this was when they held a press conference leaving a nurse alone with the sole surviving astronaut. They heard her scream, rushed to the scene to find that he'd escaped. They then just decided he'd escaped and debated over whether to alert the press to help recovering him. Just how far could he have got in one minute? Where was security? So they then learn from his blood that he's been infected by some kind of alien, and is going to produce spores that'll destroy all life on Earth within hours. How do organic spores travel faster than the speed of sound? The ending is also stupid and annoying, but I've said enough about this already. Unless you enjoy being treated like an idiot by fools then avoid this. 2/10.
  • simonpcpearson20 November 2014
    The idea of a modern version of Quatermass is an intriguing one, but unfortunately this poor effort is a wasted opportunity.

    The decision to transmit the programme live is ultimately a gimmick that damages the project. It would appear that the budget was quite low, which, when combined with the live aspects make this look like a you tube video.

    Jason Flemyng is arguably miscast as Quatermass, although it might be argued that this incompetent production doesn't give him a fair chance.

    David Tennant fares a little better , but of the rest of the cast the females are the only ones who seem to be even trying. Isla Blair and Indira varma bring a bit of much needed credibility to the proceedings.

    The really big problem is Richard Fell's awful script which is amateurish in every imaginable way. When listening to the dialogue one imagines of the writer or director have ever heard real people speak. Fail.
  • Like the previous poster, I too was impressed by the Quatarmass drama aired live on BBC4 on April 2nd. Though I am too young to remember the original and its various adaptations, I had heard enough about it to convince myself that this would be some schlock 1950s-style "creature feature" sci-fi fest. Instead, the BBC served up a couple of hours live science fiction, that although short on special effects was not short on tension and creditable performances. Jason Flemyng's performance as the eponymous Professor was one that captured well the scientist's terror at what his experiment unleashed combined with the cool, detached analytic mind of the scientist trying to sort it all out. The mix of studio and location settings in a live drama was ambitious and cuts between them were seamless, the use of VT was a bit of a cheat, but hey they used to do it in Z cars all the time. This was, nevertheless a triumph for live television, a credit to all those involved.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Nigel Kneale's 1953 serial The Quatermass Experiment has long had a reputation as one of the seminal works of British science fiction. Yet it is by and large missing from the BBC archives and, outside of the published script from it and the subsequent film remake by Hammer that took some liberties in its adaptation, has been impossible to view again. Yet in 2005, more than fifty years after its original broadcast it was once again re-staged in front of cameras to be broadcast live by the BBC. How did this remake of it fair and did it do justice to its source material?

    The performances are certainly interesting. Jason Flemyng's Professor Quatermass seems quite close to Kneale's original conception of the British Experimental Rocket Group's leader: a determined scientist yet also a thoughtful man who looks on with horror at what the mission he launched has unleashed upon the Earth. Flemyng brings all of those elements across well and his performance in the closing minutes of the production, where he brings to life two vital but lost scenes from the original production makes the entire viewing experience worthwhile. Other times though, Flemyng's performance feels rather rushed as he throws lines out in a hurry (one scene partway in where Quatermass is arguing with Lomax and Blaker is a good example) and he's lumbered with a costume that doesn't quite seem to fit the character. Overall though Flemyng does a good job and his Quatermass is certainly memorable.

    There's a decent supporting cast as well. A pre-Doctor Who David Tennant does particularly well in the role of Doctor Gordon Briscoe while Mark Gatiss believably plays the increasingly disillusioned scientist Paterson despite his role being largely truncated. Adrian Dunbar's Ministry Of Defence investigator Lomax and Isla Blair as Home Secretary Margaret Blaker comes across well as officials caught up in events beyond their control and trying to deal with it to the best of their abilities. Perhaps a bit less successful are Indira Varma as Judith Carroon and Andrew Tiernan as her husband Victor with both being more melodramatic than anything else though Tiernan does well in the second half where his appearances are more limited. Perhaps the weakest of the main cast though is Adrian Bower as James Fullalove who, partly because of the script and partly because of his performance, comes across as a parody of the 1950s reporter type that seems a bit out of place with the rest of the production. The results then are interesting and good but far from perfect.

    The script effectively condenses the approximately three hour original TV version into a little more than half of its running time. Despite that, it's far more faithful to the original than the Hammer film was. The opening and closing minutes of this version in particular neatly condense the respective episodes of the original version. As a result, some of the best moments of the original version that have been lost (such as the very conclusion to the story) are presented on screen at last. That isn't to say it's perfect however as the condensing means that characters, subplots and some scenes seem to randomly drop in and out of the film (such as Gatiss' Paterson for example). In other cases, the original 1950s dialogue seems out of place (such as some of the dialogue from the scene with the Matthews' couple) which isn't in turn helped by the fact that the sets and costumes are a really odd mixing of the 1950s with the 2000s, as if the production team couldn't decide which way to go. Overall though, the script does an admirable job of condensing and presenting Kneale's original, if with some hiccups.

    Perhaps the biggest problem of the production lies in how it was made. While the idea of broadcasting this live seems a good idea, especially given that was how the original went out, in retrospect it served to do little more than hamper the production. Performances can seem rather hurried while lines being drowned out as well as the occasional fluffed line doesn't help matters either. That isn't the big problem though.

    By doing it live, the whole production feels largely static. For much of its length, the film seems confined to a couple of rooms and even then the number of shots seems limited. When the camera does finally become mobile from time to time, the results are often shaky with a feeling more akin to amateur video than a polished production. Nowhere are the faults perhaps more apparent than in the final scene when the lack of a creature means that the whole scene is effectively just Flemyng acting in a pool of light to an empty room. While doing the film live certainly captures the almost theater like feel of the original's era, it does make the production drag and frankly does it no favors.

    Ultimately then, this 2005 remake of The Quatermass Experiment is itself an interesting experiment. There's some good performances and some strong moments in it but its a production hampered by and large by its live format and sometimes uneven mixing of past and present. One can't help but wish that it had been done as a filmed production when some of its larger issues could have been sorted out but, baring that, it's an admirable attempt to re-stage one of the lost classics of British television.
  • davek2822 August 2005
    But I just couldn't believe that this was really happening. Where were the isolation chambers? Where were all the medics? Where were the police and the politicians?

    If it had been set in the 50s I might have been able to tolerate it, but it had been updated to 2005 and as a result it just looked lame. My suspension of disbelief lasted about five minutes before I started to get annoyed with it. The presence of Indira Varma kept me watching a little longer until I was forced to hit the fast-forward button after about half an hour.

    If this had happened today, the crashed rocket would have been surrounded by troops, police, scientists, stripey red and yellow tape, covered with a tarpaulin with filtered air, and no-one would have been allowed near it for at least a week until all possible biohazard and radiation tests had been made.

    Just too frustratingly unrealistic for me. Oh - and the soft focus effect all the way through - puhlleeze!!
  • This film must be about cosmology and astro-physics, because it has a black hole at its centre. That black hole is the actor Jason Flemyng, one of the most catastrophically miscast actors I have seen in a long time in a film. Doubtless he is a very fine fellow, and can act very well in certain roles. But unfortunately some lunatic has cast him as Professor Quatermass, the lead character of this story who is meant to be brilliant and charismatic. Flemyng has about as much charisma as a woodlouse. All the people around him, such as David Tennant, give the impression of being far more intelligent than he is. The story thus streams over the event horizon into the black hole that is Jason Flemyng and disappears out of sight, taking with it all possible drama and interest. What a pathetic disaster this is. The production was mounted as a BBC live production, the first in 20 years. That part of it was an interesting challenge, and I would say that the production manager pulled it off. But otherwise, this effort is worse than an embarrassment. They used the original scripts of Nigel Kneale, who created Quatermass. (Maybe slightly out of date by now 57 years later??) So many films and series have been made over the years since 1953 exploiting this material. Some of the actors who have played Quatermass in the past, such as Brian Donlevy and John Mills, were excellent. I think this disastrous failure tells us something about the state of the BBC at the moment, a monstrously mismanaged organisation which itself has become a disgrace and a disaster.
  • I know the film well, & was intrigued when I heard about this version & how it would compare. I was very happy with it. All the actors were superb-especially Fleming & Gatiss & the atmosphere was excellent, especially the use of music. The special effects were minimal, but that only contributed to the atmospshere-creepy music & good lighting & that can do a whole lot more sometimes than all the special effects in the world!! For a live production it also looked great.Its also a treat to get well acted & scripted sci-fi, & sci-fi aimed at adults. I understand that the ending used in this version is closer in feel to that used in the original TV series. I liked also that characters who were given little to to in the film were fleshed out nicely here-ie. Caroon (sp!!)the doomed astronaut & his wife but without slowing the pace. I really hope that this comes out on DVD as I would buy it.
  • Back in the 60's and 70's, studio-based sci-fi dramas were made and devoured by a mainstream audience. At some point that audience became a "cult" audience. (Probably as a result of the ever-so-hip 80's changing societal attitudes) Those dramas represent the very best that television sci-fi had to offer, even on low budgets, shot on video with 16mm film inserts. They were flawed, and still we loved it... because we knew how to suspend our disbelief.

    Today's breed of programme makers, although largely familiar with the era to which I am referring, have rejected this format, and now have an addiction to making everything look like it was shot on film.

    How ironic that a 90 minute LIVE programme was processed to look like it was shot on film..... BADLY.

    Coupled with the appalling location work at some disused MOD base ( think), this represented the biggest disappointment of the year so far.

    Those of you who liked "Eldorado" would have felt right at home here. Due to the nature of the placing all the locations in a single, huge, concrete building (with the odd exterior from out the same building), there was no sound treatment and everywhere echoed all to hell.

    It was OBVIOUSLY the same building no matter where you looked, and that ruined it for me utterly. That and the fact that it SEEMED to be live..... no sense of time passing was communicated at all.

    No effects, no risks, no fun.

    Some of the lead performances were excellent, but a good many were stagey and forced. I expect the pressure of a live broadcast rattled some of the actors.

    The live episodes of Coronation Street and The Bill recently were more believable than this.

    What a complete waste of time, money and effort! 1/10
  • beauchamp-43 January 2009
    I started to fast forward to see if it got better but unfortunately it didn't. Cheap sets and production (looks like handy cams with poor acting) let this movie down. At one stage you could see the camera and sound men the next shot pans too. Also you can tell the transitions between shots as there is a awkward pause before the actors start acting! It was also hard to believe as there were no hospitals for the sick astronaut or isolation chambers, etc as if the script had not been updated. The whole movie looked cheap, very c-grade and was extremely implausible to watch, so much so it had me cringing and wanting to turn it off. I Give it a miss.

    Just found out this was originally broadcast live, I watched a broadcast much later.
  • The original TV series and movie were ground breaking in Sscience fiction. Why BBC remade this as a 90 minute film , is a mystery. The story line, sets and especially the acting were all atrocious. Good actors appeared to be embarrassed in their attempt to utter their lines from an appalling script. The BBC should be censured for this nonsense and I doubt Nigel Kneale, the original author (mentioned as a consultant) had anything to do with this travesty. I could go on using all the derogatory adjectives in the English language but who really cares, but I have to to make this submission the required length. I sincerely hope they do not attempt a remake Quatermass and the Pit. probably one of the best ever science fiction series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The story may be 50 years old but this revised version,shown live in 2005, was every bit is tense and thrilling as the original.

    Great performances by David Tennant,Adrian Dunbar,Andy Tiernan and Jason Flemyng were overshadowed by the acting of Indira Verma and Mark Gatiss who stole the show.

    The lack of CGI and any real special effects will probably seem strange to the modern audience who like monsters and gore but I found it a treat to be able to use my imagination which was stoked up by the performances.

    The ending may also disappoint in this regard. However given the premise that Quatermass is appealing to the "Humanity" of the victims I think it works very well on an abstract level and has a creepy feel all of its own.

    The DVD version uses two clips taken from the recording of the final run through and allows for the smooth running of a couple of shots that, on the night, didn't go to plan! This is a pity as it gives the over all production too much polish and loses some of its "as live" appeal.

    No matter - maybe the programme will be repeated as was in the future (Or the cut scenes will appear as extras somewhere - they are not on the DVD unfortunately!).

    There is an easter egg on the video if you search for it - and is of great interest to Doctor Who fans! Bob
  • When I heard that the BBC were planning to re-make The Quatermass Experiment, I got quite excited. The original is lost forever (except for two episodes) and the film, although a fairly good version (sorry Nigel) is half as long as the original. Great, the BBC might beef this up with some good effects, a colour version to last and interest others in Nigel Kneale's much underrated genius. What planet was I living on? 'Here, let's remake Quatermass'. 'Good idea, ooh shall we spend some money on it like Dr Who? Make it something people will remember'? 'Nah let's cut an hour out, pretend CGi's never been invented, and do it live as a gimmick and instantly forgettable'! 'Oh, and then let's cock-up 'A For Andromeda' in the same spectacular style'! Unforgivable! My advice, buy the scripts in paperback and imagine yourself a better version!
  • Very, very different to the flash-bang wizardry of almost all TV sci-fi these days, but a marvellous and suspenseful piece of viewing.

    It requires more than the usual suspension of disbelief until the characters and story fall into place, but the acting--live remember--is powerful and extremely effective. Flemying is excellent as Quatermass, and the supporting cast uniformly good.

    It isn't perfect. It is acted live, with all the limitations that brings with it. It has a mix of styles and seems uncertain of what year it might actually be set in, but it becomes a riveting piece of television.
  • n 2005 the BBC did a live version of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass Experiment. Originally a 6 part three hour TV series about a rocket that returns to earth with only one of its crew still alive, and he's horribly changed. It was the first appearance of Professor Quatermass a flawed genius who is in a way the precursor to Dr Who.(This version co starred David Tennant, the current Dr Who).

    The production is very good and the cast is excellent with Jason Flemyng making an excellent Quatermass.The show is for the most part very creepy and had it held together until the end it might have actually crossed into scary. The problems with the show come from two places. First the 96 minute program effectively removes half of the originals 180 minutes. There is a great deal of story compression especially in the second half as the plot does not zip along as much as it jumps. I have not seen the original series (only two episodes survive the last I heard) but I've read on the show and seen the film that was made from it so I know there was a bit more towards the end than we see. The other problem with the show is that in adapting the 195-something scripts for modern day broadcast they didn't update enough. the space shot is secret, the technology is often out of date (audio cassettes in a black box?), the media is much too trusting and not enough in your face. It creates a nice sense of its own world, but at the same time its not wholly believable. That said its still a very good retro-sci-fi drama 7 put of 10
  • I haven't seen such a mess as this on the BBC in a long time.

    The script is straight from the pioneering 1953 TV series, when spying on earth from a satellite was a futuristic idea, and travelling in a spacecraft 500,000 miles from Earth was a step into the unknown.

    But crazily, it is updated to the 21st century, where all this is massively anachronistic.

    The production is also 1950s-style. It is shot in live action (much was made of this at the time, but what does it add?), hand-held cameras are artlessly handled, the sets and cast are both dreadfully impoverished, e.g. Mission Control consists of three people in a bunker with a couple of laptop PCs! The woman in Mission Control takes over as the sole nurse in the hospital room, etc, etc.

    In a genuine 1950s production you could live with all this, of course - or perhaps if it was a spoof on the 1950s. But this is apparently intended as a serious drama! It didn't work for me.
  • I thought that the whole production, considering it was a live presentation, was very well scripted. The acting was great and there were no "Fluffs" of note. The only thing out of the ordinary to happen was one of the actors falling over a prop off camera. The actor could be heard hurting himself.

    The special effects were not great and practically non-existent, but considering the fact that it was done in real time this is not surprising. Also this was more of a modern story with a lot of characterisation, which makes one forget the absence of the more special effects which one would have if it was not a staged show.

    Would I buy it if it came out on DVD? Difficult question as I still favour the original version. I might be tempted if both films came out on one DVD or more special effects were added later.
  • I can honestly say I've been a "Quatermass" fan most of my life. Ever since I saw "Quatermass Xperiment" at age eight(shown in the U.S. as "The Creeping Unknown"), I've seen and enjoyed almost all available versions of the series. If I say that this version is the weakest of the bunch, that's no slam, not at all! The acting was first-rate, the adaption nearly so; the only flaw here is one that almost everyone on the site mentions--the production budget. If BBC 4 needs a benchmark of how little money they can get away with spending to make a good SF thriller, this is the breaker. Even a brief look at the metamorphosed Caroon in the museum would been better than what we were supposed to have seen over the television monitors(that was fiberglass insulation being shaken by off-camera grips, to portray the "alien fungi", right? In soft-focus? That was pretty sad). To quote the late, great Casey Stengel, "Eventually, you've got to sell some steak along with the sizzle!" I hope that when they re-make "Quatermass 2", they give it a *slightly* bigger budget. Hell, I know _I'd_ watch it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this experiment shortly after watching the second episode of Doctor Who. That particular endeavour has successfully updated a previous science fiction programme and brought it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Witty, intelligent scripts;good cast giving top notch performances;state of the art special effects. This on the other hand was a waste of the viewer's time. At least it was restricted to a digital channel so the majority of people would have avoided watching it. I only hope the luvvies taken part in the exercise enjoyed the "danger" of a live performance. I found the acting flat, the special effects non-existent (if you want to leave it to the imagination of the viewer-do radio) and the script ludicrous (example reaction to man in lab when apparent tramp wanders in)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While it may be slow, overly-intellectual, and deficient in CGI for younger, ADD-prone viewers, this remake is all the more admirable for sticking to its roots. This is live TV modernized but not homogenized... assembled using the best of current technology, but with the emphasis still very firmly on script and performance. Could it have had a big green CGI monster at the end? Yeah, yeah, sure. But thankfully it avoids such tired clichés.

    While the original Quatermass is lost, this version goes a long way toward recapturing its impact, and the unique vitality of the live format. The story has been parceled out differently, but quite reasonably; the two new episodes offer an adequate running time, considering all the recaps and redundant credits that are omitted compared to the original shorter episodes. So the careful pacing remains largely intact. Scientific revelations accumulate at an accelerating pace, leading up to the same unnerving climax.

    The performances are all superb. The younger take on Prof Quatermass is perhaps the biggest shock, but it works. This new Quatermass is very much the kind of scientist you see in all those direct-from-NASA broadcasts. He effectively combines the quick wit and moral sensitivity of the original character with the reality of modern life.

    I'd love to see more of this kind of thing - not just the rediscovery of lost masterpieces like Quatermass, but the immediacy of TV as a live medium, a direct link between performers and audience. TV just doesn't get any better than this. More, more, more!
  • matt-138222 November 2006
    3/10
    Awful
    We watched this the other night because of the reputation of the cast - particularly Mark Gatiss and David Tennant - not to mention the "iconic" nature of the name Quatermass. At the time we didn't know that it had been recorded live. Hence we had no idea why there were no special effects, strange Apprentice-style flyover shots of London, not to mention some bizarre prop choices (what *was* that thing that fell on the floor in the art gallery?!). Of course these were either caused by, or designed to overcome, the technical limitations of a live broadcast.

    However I still don't understand the anachronisms. If it wasn't for the Tate Modern and the BBC news bulletins, there would be no reason to think this wasn't a 1950's period drama. The dialogue was in the post-imperial stiff upper lip tradition and the newspaper reporter was, bizarrely, a teddy boy. The saddest thing is the complete failure of the programme to create any tension, fear or even intellectual curiosity on the viewer's part.

    A wasted opportunity. They should have given this to the Doctor Who production team and done it properly - i.e., not live.
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