Out of the Unknown


Well it's always been an ambition of mine to become a DVD extra and now it's finally come to pass. The BFI has just released all of the twenty surviving episodes of the 1960s BBC TV science-fiction show, Out of the Unknown, on DVD. It's a bloody gorgeous box set and on the first episode, No Place Like Earth, an adaptation of two short stories by John Wyndham, you can, if you wish, choose to listen to a commentary by Mark Ward, a great expert on the series, and me. The thing is moderated by the quietly magnificent Toby Hadoke, actor, comedian, television researcher and fan, who I met when he acted rather brilliantly in my Dead Souls in 2006 and we've kept in touch ever since. Toby is a Doctor Who fan of a depth and intensity that makes me feel like a rank amateur, though we didn't make that connection at the time. Toby invited me to take part in the commentary because of my adaptation of Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos in 2003 and in the naive belief that I might have interesting things to say about Wyndham and this adaptation. Whether I did or not, you'll have to judge for yourself. I thoroughly recommend the box set, by the way, which I've only started working through, but it's a beautifully curated collection of some genuinely challenging and progressive television.