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




1959   1958  


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Complete series cast summary:
...  Professor Bernard Quatermass 6 episodes, 1958-1959
...  Dr. Matthew Roney 6 episodes, 1958-1959
...  Colonel James Breen 6 episodes, 1958-1959
...  Captain Potter 6 episodes, 1958-1959
...  Barbara Judd 6 episodes, 1958-1959
...  Sergeant 5 episodes, 1958-1959
...  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 ...  Harrison - Private Secretary / ... 4 episodes, 1958-1959
Kenneth Seeger ...  Sightseer / ... 4 episodes, 1958-1959
Tony Quinn ...  Jacko - 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
...  Vicar Gilpin 3 episodes, 1959
...  Official 2 episodes, 1959
Allan McClelland ...  1st Journalist / ... 2 episodes, 1959
...  2nd Journalist / ... 2 episodes, 1959
Harold Siddons ...  Electrician 2 episodes, 1959
Bernard Spear ...  Arthur - 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


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

22 December 1958 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Pit  »


Box Office


£17,578 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Malcolm Watson is the only actor to have appeared in all three of the 1950s Quatermass serials. See more »


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 »


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 »


Followed by The Quatermass Conclusion (1979) See more »


Mutations No. 1
Written and Performed by Trevor Duncan
Courtesy of Conroy Music Library
See more »

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User Reviews

"I thought I heard....I DID hear!"
11 November 2001 | by 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!)

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