The Day of the Triffids Logo 'The Day of the Triffids'
(6 Parts)

by Douglas Livingstone
Story by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids Cast

Recovering in hospital from a triffid sting to his eyes, a temporarily blinded Bill Masen wakes up one morning to an uncanny silence; taking up his Dictaphone, he recounts the events that led to his accident… When Bill was a young boy, his father found a strange plant growing in his garden; curious, he allowed it to grow – and very soon, Bill became the first person to be stung by a “triffid”. Bill was saved from blindness by the fact that the triffid’s sting was not fully formed, and he soon developed a fascination for the deadly plants. Named after their three foot-like appendages, which enable them to uproot from the earth and walk independently, these “tri-feds” – or triffids – are carnivorous, capable of killing their prey using a venomous sting situated at the end of a whip-like tendril. No one was exactly sure of the triffids’ origins, although it was generally believed that they were originally developed by the Russians, and subsequently spread across the world following a failed attempt at industrial espionage. After scientists discovered that triffids were a good source of natural oil – which, ironically, was of a better quality when obtained from triffids whose stings were undocked – thousands of the plants were grown in special triffid farms. Securing a job in one such farm, Bill was able to pursue his interest, and worked with triffids for several years; however, a sting from one of the vicious plants left him with short-term blindness – luckily for Bill, the incident in his childhood enabled him to build up a natural immunity to the lethal venom. Having finished recounting his story, Bill becomes suspicious of the lack of noise around him, and decides to investigate; he carefully removes the bandages from around his eyes, and is pleased to find that his vision has now returned. However, while exploring the hospital, Bill is shocked to discover that everyone in the building is now blind; it seems that their retinas were burned away after looking at the spectacular meteor shower that lit up the skies the previous night. Leaving the hospital, Bill finds London in a state of panic and terror, as the blind stumble helplessly about the streets, desperately crying out for help that may never come. While making his way through the city, Bill rescues a young sighted woman, Josella Payton, from an assault by a blind man. Together they return to Jo’s home, only to find that her family have been slaughtered by triffids – the lethal plants have gotten loose from their pens, and are now roaming the streets preying on the sightless civilians. Forced to abandon their car after an attack by a frenzied mob of blind people, Bill and Jo take refuge for the night in an abandoned tower block. That night, they see a beacon flashing from the tower of the University of London; when they investigate the following morning, they meet a small group of sighted people who have decided to leave the city and start a new community in the countryside. They also encounter a group of blind people led by a sighted dissident named Jack Coker, who demands that his party be given much-needed supplies; however, when the community’s armed soldiers refuse to accede to Coker’s wishes, his followers merely wander away. Bill and Jo decide to stay together, planning to leave the next morning with some supplies and find somewhere safe to settle down. However, that night, Coker and his men attack the building and set fire to several rooms; in the panic and confusion, Bill is knocked unconscious, and when he eventually comes to some time later, he learns that he is now a prisoner. His captor, Coker, explains that the sighted have a moral duty to stay and help the blind as best they can; to this end, Coker assigns him the task of leading a small group of sightless people to forage for food and a place to live. Handcuffed to one of Coker’s blind associates, Bill’s hopes for a future with Jo are dashed further after he learns the woman he has come to love has been sentenced to a similar fate as him. Will Bill ever see Jo again? And will mankind be able to survive in a world now ruled by triffids?

John Duttine (Bill Masen), Morgan Sheppard (Bill's Father), Steve Jonas (Young Bill), Jonathan Newth (Doctor Soames), Robert Robinson (Palanguez), Ian Halliburton (Grant), Keith Alexander (Newsreel Voice), Edmund Pegge (Walter), Cleo Slyvester (Nurse), Chris Gannon (Patient), Emma Relph (Josella 'Jo' Payton), Stephen Yardley (John), Chris Cannon (Patient), Bonita Beam (Blind Woman), Alan Healm (Blind Man), Max Faulkner (Jo's Attacker), Caroline Fabbri (Bettina), Christina Schofield (Shirley), Albie Woodington (Gang Leader), Andrew Ball (Gang Member), Mario Renzullo (Gang Member), Susie Fenwick (Blind Girl), Lindsey Moore (Singer), Elizabeth Chambers (Car Attacker), Morris Barry (Car Attacker), Bernie Searle (Car Attacker), Maurice Colbourne (Jack Coker), Desmond Cullum-Jones (Tom), Beryl Nesbit (Tom's Wife), Donald Palmer (University Gateman), Denis De Marne (Major Anderson), Andre Miller (Doctor Vorless), David Swift (Michael Beadley), John Hollis (Alf), John Benfield (Ted), Eva Griffiths (Teenage Girl), Jean Perkins (Hotel Manageress), Joy Rumney (Manager), Terry Andrews (Frank), Gary Olsen (Red-Haired Man), Sally Lahee (Woman in Street), Gordon Case (Dying Man), Perlita Neilson (Miss Durrant), Christopher Owen (Vicar), Emily Dean (Susan), Jenny Lipman (Mary Brent), Desmond Admas (Dennis Brent), Desmond Adams (Dennis Brent), Gary Olsen (Torrence), Lorna Charles (Susan), Denis Gilmore (David), Claire Balard (Alice), Terry Andrews (Frank)*, Pat Gorman (Blind Man)*, Lindsey Moore (Singer)*

Directed by Ken Hannam
Produced by David Maloney
A BBC / Australian Broadcasting Company Co-production

TX (BBC1):
Part 1 - 10th September 1981
Part 2 - 17th September 1981
Part 3 - 24th September 1981
Part 4 - 1st October 1981
Part 5 - 8th October 1981
Part 6 - 15th October 1981

*Introducing Bill Masen and Jo Payton