On Jupiter's moon Ganymede, an alien life-form has taken over the body of a human astronaut, creating an almost perfect copy. But perfect enough to escape discovery on the long return trip ... See full summary »


(short story, "Counterfeit"), (adaptation)


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Episode cast overview:
Dr. Crawford (as Alex Davion)
Roger Westcott
Captain Jaffe (as Charles Tingwell)
Peter Fraser ...
Donnie Chaffer
Jensen (as Anthony Wager)
Scotty McIntyre
David Savile ...
Geoffrey Kenion ...
Barry Ashton ...
David Munro ...
Hedger Wallace ...
Lew Luton ...
Derek Martin ...


On Jupiter's moon Ganymede, an alien life-form has taken over the body of a human astronaut, creating an almost perfect copy. But perfect enough to escape discovery on the long return trip to Earth? Can the deadly counterfeit be detected and stopped before its hunger for new life can endanger an entire planet? Written by hutch48

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Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

11 October 1965 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Great story & not that dated either.

Out of the Unknown: Counterfeit Man is set in the distant future as a small space craft is on it's way back home to Earth after a mission on Ganymede, one of Jupiter's moons. However what should have been a routine mission becomes serious when Doctor Crawford (Alexander Davion) finds out that a crew member named Westcott (David Hemmings) has a blood sugar level of zero which is medically impossible, then suddenly another member of the navigation crew Donald Shavers (Peter Fraser) drops down dead with a blood sugar level of zero. Doctor Crawford tells his suspicions to Captain Jaffe (Charles 'Bud' Tigwell), Crawford believes that an alien life form killed Westscott & replaced him with an exact replica but make a mistake trying to copy human blood & Shavers death was a decoy. Crawford believes the alien to be hostile & an exact copy of Westcott in every detail apart from the alien consciousness, Crawford & Jaffe decide they can't let the alien reach Earth but somehow first must prove that Westcott is a counterfeit...

Episode two from season one of the rarely seen British produced television sci-fi series Out of the Unknown this was directed by George Spenton-Foster & when it aired originally there was some debate as to whether No Place Like Earth (1965) of The Counterfeit Man would be the first episode shown, the BBC decided to go with No Place Like Earth which had the famous writer John Wyndham's mane behind it although one has to say The Counterfeit Man adapted from the short story by Alan Nourse is far superior in every way from script to acting to special effects to production values to overall entertainment value. While watching The Counterfeit Man I was amazed as to how many similarities it shared with John Carpenter's classic sci-fi horror film The Thing (1982), in fact you could say The Counterfeit Man is basically The Thing but set in space rather than the Artic. The premise of some alien life-form killing & then copying a person to go unnoticed are at the heart of both scripts, while not as long as The Thing or as deep The Counterfeit Man still manages to crank up the tension & mistrust to a satisfying level & the story really is quite gripping as it unfolds with the simple yet fascinating question is Westcott an alien & if he is how is Crawford going to prove it? I thought the sixty odd minutes flew by & I was genuinely captivated & engrossed in this futuristic sci-fi horror story of mistrust until the downbeat ending which I also liked.

The production values are a little dated but they never distract from the story & while basic they are solid so there's no cardboard walls or anything. The model effects are passable & there's a surprisingly gruesome shot of a rotten corpse at the end which I am surprised the BBC allowed to go out in the mid 60's. The costumes look fine, they aren't silly in a futuristic way & again don't distract from the strong plot & character's. The acting is pretty good but I don't really get why Crawford keeps using the word counterfeit, sure it refers to the title but surely most people would have simply said the more natural sounding copy or replica rather than counterfeit. The acting is pretty solid, David Hemmings would go on to find international stardom in the mystery thriller Blow-Up (1966) the following year.

The Counterfeit Man is a great piece of classic British telly, sure it may be a bit creaky for some but I thought the production was solid & the plot was tense, gripping & exciting. A real contender for the best surviving episode of Out of the Unknown, well worth a watch if you can find a copy (easier said than done I'm afraid).

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