In a dystopian future, Britain is under the grip of the Home Office's Public Control Department (PCD), a tyrannically oppressive bureaucracy riding roughshod over the population's civil liberties.




2   1  
1978   1977  




Series cast summary:
Edward Woodward ...  Jim Kyle 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Robert Lang ...  Herbert Skardon 16 episodes, 1977-1978
Tony Doyle ...  Dave Brett 15 episodes, 1977-1978
Paul Hardwick ...  Faceless 11 episodes, 1977-1978
Barbara Kellerman ...  Delly Lomas 8 episodes, 1977
Lisa Harrow ...  Lynn Blake 8 episodes, 1978
Yvonne Mitchell ...  Kate Smith 7 episodes, 1978


Great Britain, 1990. The population is now governed by an increasingly corrupt bureaucracy headed by the Home Secretary and backed by the tyrannical Public Control Department (PCD), who have done away with the rights of the individual and maintain control through ID cards, rationing, censorship and electronic/audio/physical surveillance. Free speech is forbidden. The rule of law no longer protects the weak and defenseless. Emigration is impossible. But escape is not, thanks to rebels like Jim Kyle (Edward Woodward), a journalist and secret dissident who battles the forces of the Establishment, but constantly faces imprisonment or death (or worse) at the hands of the PCD and its ruthless controller Herbert Skardon. Written by

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Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller


Did You Know?


Yvonne Mitchell (Kate Smith), Paul Hardwick (Faceless) and the series' most prolific director Alan Gibson did not live to see the actual 1990. Mitchell died on March 24, 1979 at the age of 63, Hardwick died on October 22, 1983 at the age of 64 and Gibson died on July 5, 1987 at the age of 49. See more »

User Reviews

Wanted: On DVD
10 July 2010 | by GrahamEnglandSee all my reviews

I just about remember this as a child, In was at 11-12 too young to really get it, though the limited understanding I had, was enough to stay in the memory as sinister.

It was a product of the time in that it took what some saw as the post war advance of 'big government' to one possible conclusion. Just like the best sci-fi, of the best, understated British kind, with the pessimistic view of a future inherent in this genre.

But I cannot agree with the idea that this series foretold today, the recent, under the previous government (though some may cite the handling of the 1984/5 miners strike by the government of the day as well) questioning of civil liberties, the expansion of a 'police state', all the CCTV, the DNA database, the (latterly) unsuccessful attempts to lengthen detention of terrorist suspects, were not, unlike in '1990', the systematic work of a very authoritarian regime. Rather it was driven by fear. Fear of hostile media on crime, fear of, if a massive '9/11' style attack happened, being thought of any neglect that allowed an attack. An obsession to meet targets to produce evidence of 'fighting crime'.

Reality check - most CCTV systems in the UK are not controlled by the police, the state in general, rather they are operated on private premises, shops, shopping centres, business parks etc. Central control only exists in the third Bourne movie.

For all that, it does now seem that the coalition are going to roll back many of the controversial changes of the last 15 years or so. Because in a democracy, a change of government can do this. Unlike the world depicted in '1990'.

Still, I would love to see a DVD release, it was a superior series which did make for useful comment of a possible future, some of which did occur, though not so far in the all encompassing way of '1990'.

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Release Date:

18 September 1977 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs


(16 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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