A team of scientists search for the origin and purpose of a mysterious capsule found on a building site.
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1959   1958  

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Professor Bernard Quatermass (6 episodes, 1958-1959)
Cec Linder ...
 Dr. Matthew Roney (6 episodes, 1958-1959)
Anthony Bushell ...
 Colonel James Breen (6 episodes, 1958-1959)
John Stratton ...
 Captain Potter (6 episodes, 1958-1959)
Christine Finn ...
 Barbara Judd (6 episodes, 1958-1959)
Michael Ripper ...
 Sergeant (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
Harold Goodwin ...
 Corporal Gibson (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
Clifford Cox ...
 First Private / ... (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
Brian Gilmar ...
 Second Private / ... (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
Alexander Moyes ...
 Narrator (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
Brian Worth ...
 James Fullalove (4 episodes, 1959)
Richard Shaw ...
 Sladden (4 episodes, 1959)
Richard Dare ...
 Private Secretary / ... (4 episodes, 1958-1959)
Kenneth Seeger ...
 Sightseer / ... (4 episodes, 1958-1959)
Tony Quinn ...
 News Editor (3 episodes, 1959)
John Walker ...
 Private West (3 episodes, 1958-1959)
Robert Perceval ...
 Minister / ... (3 episodes, 1958-1959)
Ian Ainsley ...
 Police Inspector (3 episodes, 1958-1959)
Noel Howlett ...
 Vicar Gilpin (3 episodes, 1959)
Edward Burnham ...
 Official (2 episodes, 1959)
Allan McClelland ...
 1st Journalist / ... (2 episodes, 1959)
Bill Shine ...
 2nd Journalist / ... (2 episodes, 1959)
Harold Siddons ...
 Electrician (2 episodes, 1959)
Bernard Spear ...
 First Customer / ... (2 episodes, 1959)
Patrick Connor ...
 Policeman (2 episodes, 1959)
Hilda Barry ...
 Mrs. Anne Chilcot (2 episodes, 1958)
Victor Platt ...
 P.C. Ellis (2 episodes, 1958)
Kenneth J. Warren ...
 Young Constable (2 episodes, 1958)
Howell Davies ...
 Mr. Chilcot (2 episodes, 1958)
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Storyline

When a skull is found during building works at Knightsbridge, London, the work is halted in order that a full archaeological dig can proceed. The diggers delve deeper, finding more skulls, but also finding some form of tube-like shell made of a ceramic like material. The Ministry of Defence believe it to be an un-exploded bomb, but when they manage to dig inside the shell, dead insect-like creatures are found. The MOD continue with their story, but Professor Quatermass's theory that the insects are Martians who visited Earth over five million years ago is proved to be correct with drastic consequences. Written by Rhino <rhino@blueyonder.co.uk>

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 December 1958 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Pit  »

Box Office

Budget:

£17,578 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The famous shock at the climax of part three, when one of the "dead" Martians appears to lurch at its discoverers from the just-opened forward section of the capsule, was not in fact planned by director Rudolph Cartier but was the result of a lucky accident when the Martian prop slipped down from its position unexpectedly, resulting in giving the creature the semblance of movement and causing the actors - and audiences at home - to draw back in fright. See more »

Goofs

During the cliffhanger of Episode Two ("The Ghosts") the interior of the capsule is still streaked with dirt and clay. When this scene is reprised at the start of Episode Three ("Imps and Demons") the capsule is completely clean, even though no time is supposed to have elapsed. See more »

Quotes

Sladden: Yeah, I reckon this'll cut through pretty well anything that exists. I did steel armor plate with it six inches thick, just like that! Oh, it was legal. Bloke shut in a strong room, I got him out. Secret job, like this one.
Col. Breen: Then I'm glad you don't talk about it.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Five Million Years to Earth (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Escape Velocity
Written and Performed by Trevor Duncan
Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes
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User Reviews

"I thought I heard....I DID hear!"
11 November 2001 | by (Longmont, Colorado) – See all my reviews

The line above, uttered by Professor Bernard Quatermass in the abandoned and derelict building in Hob's Lane, Knightsbridge, remains one of the most chilling moments of dialog ever uttered on either the television or theatrical screen. I was twelve at the time and came as close to wetting my pants that night as I have since. (with the possible exception of the day I received a letter postmarked R.A.A.C. telling me I had been conscripted into the Australian Army in 1967 - THINK about it!)

So far ahead of its time QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, Nigel Kneale's third installment in the Quatermass series, was a brilliant pot-pourri of horror, sci-fi, mysticism, the occult and just plain scripted genius. It was estimated that more than 3/4 of Britain were tuned-in to the 6th and final episode - the rest we presume, didn't have television!

Distinguised British actor Andre Morell WAS the perfect Quatermass, Senior Government scientist and head of Rocket Research, assigned to an investigation of the presumed 'unexploded bomb' unearthed during a routine archaeological 'dig' at Knightsbridge, subsequent upon the discovery of a human skull during building excavation there. Following the unearthing of the object virtually unmarked, yet located BELOW the skull, since carbon-dated as being at least five million years old, extreme paranormal occurrences are recorded which in 1958 were simply terrifying. Their power can still be seen even in the creaky and grainy old B & W video re-edit that was released some years ago and which I regularly watch, probably as much to re-capture my youth as to be thrilled once again.

This was a cerebral trip, Neve Campbell really wouldn't have slotted in here! It was a DIFFERENT fear back then...cabalistic markings, disturbing sounds, ghosts and demons you couldn't see, but KNEW were there (that awesome utterance in the summary!) and the biggest fright of all - the dead martian as it rustled and slipped through that web of decaying strands that had held it in place all those centuries! The big-screen color re-make FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH was OK but lost all the POWER of the TV original and remains a pale imitation.

To have been able to watch this epic piece of film-making AT THE TIME was a great privilege, I don't think today's audience are going to feel quite the same about Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees in 2046. (although I HAVE to say, I rather LIKE these guys...they're almost family now!)


19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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