Saturday, April 02, 2005

Saturday night: stayed in and watched TV... sad is that. DOCTOR WHO on BBC1, then the live re-staging of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT on BBC4. WHO was excellent again, better than last week's episode, broadened the scope of the show, dropped a few hints at a larger arc for the series, and was as glossy a bit of sci-fi as there's ever been on British telly. QUATERMASS was, for me anyway, fun. Not often that that adjective is used in connection with a typically Lovecraftian Nigel Kneale script, but seeing a bunch of young(ish) British thesps sweating it was entertaining in its own right.

As I watched it, I thought I could see a way forward for cheap, quality television: resurrect great old teleplays long thought lost by re-staging them live for modern sensibilities. I hope the Beeb follow this up by re-staging Kneale's lost adaptation of 1984, and his SF-cum-ghost story THE ROAD. There might be a few others by the man, too: depressingly, the BBC wiped most of his fifties and sixties output (not that he's the only writer who suffered this way). And I only noticed one actor fluffing his lines and looking panic-stricken: it was Brian the P.E. teacher out of TEACHERS (from back when it wuz good). Oh, and a couple of sound cues were missed, and some dialogue was muffled by dodgy mixing.

I thought going in to the play that Jason Flemyng was too young to play Quatermass, but gave him a chance - his Jekyll/Hyde was the best thing about the piss-weak (and I blame Sean Connery more than the writer or the director - his star power was horribly abused by a vain old man who obviously didn't "get" the source material, to reshape a potentially better movie that sometimes manages to rise to the surface anyway) LXG. Flemyng did as well as any actor could. Anyone in this day and age is going to sound strangely out-of-time quoting Kneale's frankly patrician, very much of the fifties, script.

So. All the fun of the theatre, without the need to deodorize or wear trousers. Sweet!