Quatermass Logo 'The Quatermass Experiment'
(1 Part)
adapted by Richard Fell
original story by Nigel Kneal

After Professor Quatermass and his team at the British Experimental Rocket Group send an observation rocket 1,500 miles above the Earth, the craft suffers a malfunction in its control systems and veers 562,000 miles off course. With contact lost for fifty-seven hours, Quatermass has almost given up hope when the rocket is suddenly detected on a return course for Earth. By remotely separating the nuclear propulsion unit from the crew capsule, Quatermass and his colleagues are able to guide the ship on an emergency landing. Arriving at the crash-landing site in Surrey, Quatermass, John Paterson and Judith Caroon are astonished to find that instead of the three-man crew, only Victor, Judith’s husband, is inside the capsule - the other two crewmen, Greene and Reichenheim, have mysteriously vanished. Chief Inspector Lomax of Scotland Yard begins an investigation into the crewmen's disappearance, and soon discovers that Carroon has the memory and identity of the entire three-man crew. While Quatermass attends a press conference, Carroon somehow absorbs a nearby cactus plant into his hand and then escapes the complex. Lomax mounts a search, but is instructed by his boss, Blaker to call off the hunt for Carroon, who is now publicly seen as a national hero. Meanwhile, Carroon – now with his hand fusing with the cactus and mutating into something horrific - makes his way to a chemists and then consumes substances that would kill a normal man. Examining a blood sample taken from Carroon, Doctor Briscoe and Quatermass determine that the astronaut has taken on an alien substance – it seems that the spacecraft was infiltrated by an extraterrestrial force that absorbed the crew, and it now intends to release spores that will rapidly grow and absorb all animal life on the planet in a matter of hours. When the creature is tracked down to a modern art gallery on London’s South Bank, the military begin making preparations to blow up the monster; however, Quatermass realises that this will merely help the spores to spread further. Quatermass enters the building alone, and attempts to talk to the last remaining vestiges of the absorbed crewmen. Reeling from the alien’s psychic attack, Quatermass manages to convince Caroon, Greene and Reichenheim to retaliate against the creature, and the alien, unable to hold out against the humans’ force of will, is finally destroyed.

Jason Flemyng (Professor Quatermass), David Dunbar (Lomax), Mark Gatiss (John Paterson), David Tennant (Doctor Gordon Briscoe), Indira Varma (Judith Caroon), Andrew Tiernan (Victor Caroon), Adrian Bower (James Fullalove), Isla Blair (Blaker), Paul Broughton (News Editor), Stephen Boxer (Colonel), Matthew Flynn (Charles Greene), Carston Hayes (Ludwig Reichenheim), Jane Hill (Newsreader), Tracy O’Flaherty (Louisa Greene), Greg Sheffield (Boy), Andy De La Tour (Chemist), Kerry Godliman (Mrs Matthews), Robert Howell (Len Matthews), Susan Sylvester (Journalist), Lucy Evans (Janet), Alex Robertson (Ted), Richard Huw (Park Keeper), Andrew Scott (Vernon), John Kirk (Inspector), Madeleine Curtis, Rufus Wright, Gary Shelford (Understudies)

Directed by Sam Millar

Executive Producer Richard Fell
Consultant Nigel Kneale

TX - BBC4:
2nd April, 2005 @ 8.20 pm

*Featuring Professor Bernard Quatermass

*This story was transmitted live, as part of BBC4's 'TV On Trial' season

*Although 'Radio Times' billed this programme as having a two-hour duration, the show actually finished twenty minutes early!

*The live transmission was overlaid with two announcement straps, telling viewers to go to News 24 for an important news announcement: this referred to the death of Pope John Paul II, at the age of 84 following heart failure

*Subsequent transmissions and the DVD release are slightly edited, removing the sequence in which David Tennant nearly falls over while running to the sickbay!