Written by Nigel Kneale, as were all the Quatermass stories, this was an intelligent extrapolation of 1970's industrial-strife-ridden Britain, a continuation of the apocalyptic British SF tradition of John Wyndham (The Day of the Triffids was serialised by the BBC two years later). Thanks to a generous budget sufficient to allow for an international theatrical version, the production values are impressively large-scale, and the naturalistic performances from a cast including Simon MacCorkindale, Barbara Kellerman and Brenda Fricker add greatly to the sense of reality. Best of all, John Mills brings tremendous class to an adventure which remains a rare example of serious, ideas-based adult TV SF. Director Piers Haggard (Pennies from Heaven) packs considerable tension and not a few scares into Kneale's epic canvas.
On the DVD: Quatermass is presented on three DVDs with two 50-minute episodes and perfunctory production notes on each of the first two discs. The 4:3 picture is good for a 1970's TV series, though there is some minor print damage. Sound is adequate two-channel mono. Disc 3 offers the 101-minute international theatrical version, called The Quatermass Conclusion. This version contains some slightly stronger, 15-rated material, and different credits. The disc also features an oddly presented but interesting 18-minute interview with Nigel Kneale which is centred on the original three Quatermass BBC serials. A 16-page booklet is informative and the packaging is among the most attractive to grace a DVD set thus far. --Gary S Dalkin