SEAT AT THE BACK

SEAT AT THE BACK - SCRIBBLES! ~ Films on the Seat at the Back playlist right now: KIDS IN LOVE; JUNE; CURVE; WILD, BARELY LETHAL; GODDESS OF LOVE; THE VATICAN TAPES .. What a night in!

Monday, 12 December 2011

BBC WORST WIPES - Nigel Kneale's THE ROAD (1963)

BBC : WORST WIPES ~ so much BBC drama lost forever thanks to wiping policy of old, but one of the worst has to be Nigel Kneale's The Road (1963) - James Maxwell plays 1770 country squire and 'natural philosopher' Sir Timothy Hassell, investigating a haunted wood where men die screaming after hearing strange cries "as if all the dead people was risin' out o' Hell", a phenomenon that occurs just once a year, on Michaelmas Eve. Sir Timothy decides to investigate, thinking it's a past echo of a retreating Roman army ...

If you know where to find this one - please do get in touch!

words: mark gordon palmer
markgordonpalmer@aol.com

12 comments:

  1. I remember watching this when I was 14;I washaunted by it for years!

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    1. Tim, I envy you - wish I had seen this one and had similar nightmares:))

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    2. Yes, Tim, the four scariest TV productions I was fortunate enough to see were Quatermass Experiment (only one episode -- my parents decided I was too young), Quatermass and the Pit, The Stone Tapes, and The Road.

      The original TV version of QATP is viewable on You Tube -- and has stood the test of time superbly.

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  2. Where can I read a script of The Road?

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    1. I think there is a script for "The Road" included in the book, "Year of the Sex Olympics: Three Television Plays" by Nigel Kneale, published by Ferret Fantasy in 1976, (I'm not absolutely certain though!) but on Amazon this is currently selling from £150!

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  3. Re: where can I get the script of The Road?
    I was wondering if there is a collection of all Nigel Kneale's scripts? If not, why not? I'd love to read all his screenplays.
    The BBC turned down an idea to make a documentary about him recently, probably because their standards have dropped so much. Exactly as Kneale predicted in his play' Y.O.T.S.O.'
    If only I was a movie director, I'd never have to search for a good script again!
    His talent was so under used. But that's Britain for you!

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  4. Here I am again! Another superb production that was wiped -- except for about 5 minutes -- was the first adaptation of 'Casting the Runes' by M,R.James.

    The other terrible production, and the movie (Night of the Demon) still exist -- unfortunately

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  5. Yes, you can see the remaining minutes of Casting the Runes on the DVD 'Mystery and Imagination' - all the episodes we still have, including Suicide Club and Curse of the Mummy, and there's a booklet inside detailing ALL the episodes, including the missing ones...
    I can only find individual Kneale scripts in ancient books (ok, from the 60s and 70s!) great though these are to find and THE TELEVISION PLAYWRIGHT (Michael Joseph/ 1960) contains 10 BBC plays and one of these is from Kneale, not sure what -will probably have to track down a copy to find out ..!
    Kneale was uncredited on the excellently weird 1982 movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch but it's clearly still a Kneale epic to the core - and the novelisation, by Dennis Etchison, writing as Jack Martin, is an exciting read too..

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  6. I was fortunate enough to see The Road when it was first broadcast and it left a lasting impression on me; as did Quatermass and the Pit (the original tv series), and The Stone Tape. The latter really had my spine tingling at the end. I was alone in the house with the nearest neighbour about a mile away and was of a "nervous disposition"!

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  7. The script to The Road is on the original 2001 BFI The Stone Tape DVD in PDF format.

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  8. Don’t blame the BBC, blame Equity: they were the ones who contrived to make the re-showing of material a virtual impossibility (the number of hours of repeats was strictly rationed by them, and in so doing they made it unattractive to keep everything), so that the BBC and other TV companies would have to keep employing actors to make new programmes. The BBC charter didn’t allow for the archiving of material, and such stuff as was kept (which used money which should have been used to make new programmes) was more or less limited to a small stock for reference. Next time you here an actor complain about the BC wiping stuff as if they were Philistines, remind them that it was in their union’s gift to promote the retention and preservation of TV shows, and they offered neither financial assistance nor encouragement so to do.

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  9. Thanks Mark Gordon Palmer about the heads up for "Year of the Sex Olympics: Three Television Plays". It's £140 on Amazon unfortunately!

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