Top critical review
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Worth a watch if you like old BBC sci-fi shows.
on 3 June 2014
This is a 4-part sci-fi/horror serial broadcast by the BBC in 1981. Never repeated, it seems to be largely forgotten amongst other more illustrious sci-fi shows of the era. It is fairly closely based (albeit with sex and violence toned down) on a 1978 novel by dentist David Wiltshire, which explains which the hero of the story is a dentist!
If you're a fan of British TV sci-fi, your interest will probably be piqued when you learn that it was scripted and directed by Robert Holmes and Douglas Camfield respectively - two men who often are cited as the among the best working in telly at that time (for instance responsible for many of the best episodes of Dr Who, Blakes 7, The Sweeny...and even Juliet Bravo ;)
I have to say that I don't think this serial ranks as the best thing either of them did. It's more "not bad" than "really good". Set on a Herbridean Island, the story starts as quite suspenseful, but perhaps turns into a bit of an 'info dump' when the resolution is revealed. The excellent Maurice Roeves probably gives the strongest performance as a Glaswegian police inspector, but I'm maybe less impressed by the heroic dentist who is a bit plummy and awkward (mind you, dentists aren't usually noted for their charisma, so maybe that's good characterisation! ;)
The serial was shot on location on outside broadcast video, which was never the most flattering or atmospheric of visual mediums, and this DVD doesn't appear to have much picture enhancement to help that - the quality is pretty 'adequate'.
All in all, not exactly top-drawer stuff, but if you're a fan of old British sci-fi you may well enjoy it.