Why take the Great Circle route to Australia when you can tunnel through the very molecules of the solid earth itself in a TAU-mode shuttle? When a routine TAU-shuttle becomes entombed in ... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview:
Eric Benedict
Sebastian Breaks ...
Paul Porter
Kate Story ...
Mary Webster ...
Jessica Dunning ...
Mary Bone
Geoffrey Frederick ...
Geoffrey Kenion ...
Harvey (as Anthony Wager)
Michael Danvers-Walker ...
Brett (as Danvers Walker)
Peter Fontaine ...
Jan Conrad ...
Andy Ho ...
The Oriental
Murray Kash ...


Why take the Great Circle route to Australia when you can tunnel through the very molecules of the solid earth itself in a TAU-mode shuttle? When a routine TAU-shuttle becomes entombed in solid rock miles under the earth, the only means of rescue may be the wildly experimental LAMBDA-mode shuttle; and even its creator has no idea how it will behave, or whether its pilot can keep his sanity during the rescue mission. Written by hutch48

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Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

20 October 1966 (UK)  »

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This episode was the BBC's entry into the 6th International Science Fantasy Film Festival at Trieste in 1969. See more »

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User Reviews

Muddled sci-fi drama.

Out of the Unknown: Lambda 1 is set in the distant future where physical travel has become obsolete, a new form of sub-atomic space travel called TAU is widely used. In the New York TAU terminal several passengers board the Electron TAU craft in anticipation of a nice, safe, secure, easy & quick trip through the Earth itself & atomic sub-space & emerge in London. Different atomic levels are known as modes - Gamma, Delta, Epsilon & Omega - each being more unstable & dangerous than the previous one. Unexpectedly the Electron slips into Epsilon & then Omega & becomes trapped in solid rock miles under the Earth's surface with no form of contact or hope of ever reaching normality again. However Juile (Kate Story) the pregnant wife of senior London TAU controller Paul Porter (Sebastian Breaks) is on-board the Electron so he is persuaded to mount a rescue mission using the unstable prototype craft the Lambda 1, but the dangers are great & unknown...

Episode three from season two of the British produced sci-fi television series Out of the Unknown this was directed by regular series producer George Spenton-Foster & is a hard fifty odd minutes to sit down & watch & grasp everything that you have been told & have seen go on as the ideas of the script by Bruce Stewart who adapted it from the story by Colin Kapp are so abstract & difficult to comprehend or relate to in any way. The first twenty odd minutes is full of exposition about the TAU system, the various modes, the reality shield's & the various main character's that make it hard to keep up, I was getting lost by the time Omega was mentioned & the script doesn't do a very good job of differentiating the character's or making the subject & ideas easier to understand. Lambda 1 is just too complicated for it's own good, there's almost nothing in Lambda 1 that you can relate to or emphasise with, as pure sci-fi drama it's still watchable as all the (existing) Out of the Unknown episodes are but I don't think Lambda 1 would top many fans best episodes list. Once the rescue mission kicks in it's unclear as to how Paul plans to rescue the Electron & the ending is rather abrupt leaving a lot of things as clear as mud. I think the basic message here that I took & I think the script was trying to make was that it's not just the mechanical side of travel that has to be developed, tested & researched but the psychological side of it as well & what ever more advanced & sophisticated forms of travel do to the human body & psyche.

Originally broadcast during October 1966 the BBC apparently entered Lambda 1 into the 6th Internation Science Fantasy Film Festival at Trieste in 1969, three years after it originally aired. The concepts & ideas in Lambda 1 are large & imaginative but the budget & production team couldn't do them justice, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between the interior of the Electron & the London TAU control room, it's almost impossible to tell TAU workers apart & the lack of colour really hurts here in this regard, for some strange reason TAU workers wear large 70's gold medallions which look naff & the model work also show's the signs of a low budget with the TAU craft looking like tin cans & shoe boxes on spider legs. The one impressive aspect of Lambda 1 are the dream & hallucination scenes, the shot of a woman moving in reverse & then being encased in a huge stone pillar is effective & quite haunting, there are also a few nightmarish facial decomposition scenes which must have been quite strong at the time. The acting is pretty solid, the actor's certainly try to take the material the utmost seriousness.

Lambda 1 has it's moments & is quite deep & is watchable enough but the confusing concepts & ideas occasionally make for a difficult experience, had Lambda 1 been a bit simpler or clearer then it could have been great but alas it wasn't so it isn't.

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