Donald and Derek Ford were brothers who wrote a number of films and television shows in the '60's, including a rather good 'Sherlock Holmes' movie called 'A Study In Terror' ( 1965 ) in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth ( played by John Neville ) tackled Jack The Ripper. They also penned the ghoulish Peter Cushing movie 'Corruption' ( 1968 ). 'The Resurrectionists' was one of a pair of 'A.A.L.' stories ( the other being 'Black Echo' ) from them, and like most of Season 2 no longer exists in the archive. However, like the public-spirited citizen that I am, I have reviewed it based on what little survives ( mainly the script ).
It opens at a top secret research establishment in which Dr.Morris Paine ( Bernard Kay ) is demonstrating his latest invention - the Psychaura machine - to a Minister ( Peter Stephens ). It has the ability to change personalities, so that a stupid man may become a genius in seconds and vice versa. As the Minister watches, Paine turns a ferocious dog into a tame one. But, afterwards, he wrecks the apparatus and flees, taking his secret with him.
Mr.Byers-Thompson ( Frank Williams, better known as 'The Vicar' in Dad's Army' ) sends for Adam Adamant. The bag Paine's notes were in bears the emblem of 'The Aphrodite', a newly-opened beauty parlour in London, run by Sara Linden ( Wendy Gifford ), Paine's girlfriend. Paine is in league with Adam's arch-enemy The Face ( Peter Ducrow ) and has incorporated his machine in specially converted hairdryers to 'process' clients, intending to create an intellectual elite to take control of the country...
The spy movie 'In Like Flint' ( starring James Coburn ) came out the year this was broadcast, and also had villains using beauty salons as fronts for mind control schemes. But it was just a minor part of the plot. Here the idea is given greater development. The episode was directed by Ridley Scott - then a B.B.C. staff director - later to make 'Alien', 'Blade Runner' and, most recently, Russell Crowe's 'Robin Hood'. He gave the show a more distinctive visual style than many of its other directors - check out the scene in 'The League Of Uncharitable Ladies' in which Adam drives through London at night. Pity more of his episodes did not survive.
'Resurrectionists' is a good solid story, although the ending in which Paine's subjects drop dead from heart failure because they cannot stand the strain of the process while Simms and Miss Jones revert to normal after Paine wrecks the machine is a bit of a cop-out. No action either. Some nice touches of humour though. Adam turns down a lucrative offer to promote a frozen food company, and Byers-Thompson claims Paine's disappearance is worrying not because of the threat posed to Humanity but because it is an infringement of Crown copyright! The B.B.C. should seriously consider resurrecting 'Adam' as a replacement for its rapidly crumbling 'Dr.Who'.
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