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Customer Review

on 14 September 2011
The Omega Factor in that same to the definition of "cult television" perfectly: made originally in 1979, by BBC Scotland, it rests on the 1970s fascination with parapsychology and the paranormal, and even name checks Uri Geller in the first episode. 1979 was the height of the Graham Williams period of Doctor Who, and this series marks the first major TV performance of actress Louise Jameson who played Leela in the series from 1977 to 1978.
So far so good. The production values here are as solid and dependable as the 1970s interiors depicted in the show. What lifts this program above any other show of the late 70s that ran for only one season, and has languished without a repeat for 32 years, is a pervasive sense of fear and dread that is genuinely chilling.

There's not much on the series on the Internet, but you will often find it being described as a precursor of The X-Files. This is undoubtedly true, with James Hazeldean's lead character discovering his own psychic abilities under the aegis of a shadowy government organisation known as Department 7. The male-female pairing of Tom Crane and Louise Jameson's character Ann Reynolds prefigures Mulder and Scully, and the series even has a story arc concerning the pursuit of the malign psychic Drexel, responsible for the death of Crane's wife Julia. The series has deeper ancestors, most tellingly the Richard Burton movie The Medusa Touch which supplied the theme of the misuse of telekinetic powers, and Nigel Kneale's 1972 drama The Stone Tape.

The series only ran for 10 episodes, and despite strong indications that a second series was being considered, the BBC ran foul again of Mary Whitehouse, and there are strong suggestions that the series was cancelled due to pressure from the National Viewers and Listeners Association. This in itself should be recommendation enough watching the series again its entirety. The performances are uniformly good, with the seriousness of the cast adding extra depth to the sense of menace. I enjoyed recalling watching the series as 12-year-old at 8.10 on a Wednesday night, and I only needed my bound set of The Unexplained magazine to complete an atmospheric journey back to the sinister world of the 1970s paranormal drama.
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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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