My goodness, the BBC seems to have been producing some good programmes for me tonight. After the tribute to Edwin Morgan I was channel hopping and came across a programme on BBC4 about Nigel Kneale, covering many of his TV dramas, of which a fair number were quite groundbreaking for the early era of TV broadcasting. Naturally, being a geek I was especially interested in the sections dealing with 1984 (with Peter Cushing) and, of course, the staggeringly good Quatermass tales (was that really fifty years ago?). Fantastic drama and fabulous SF – one of those SF pieces that cross the genre to drag in people who don’t normally watch or read it, in much the way 90s shows like the early X-Files or Ultraviolet did (he was approached to write for the X-Files). His fascination with TV technology lead him to create s programme in which the TV company of the future has what we would now call a ‘reality’ show – decades ago. There’s a screening of his inventive and creepy Stone Tape afterwards – scientists who discover their new recording technology has picked up a ghost who is recorded inside the fabric of a building (now a semi-respected theory in some circles). Excited to find this we have a ghist tale investigated by modern science instead of priests – but in true fashion there is more here than they understand – if the sonte of the bulding can ‘record’ ghosts then what about the stones deep in the Earth? What do they hold? Do I stay up late or tape the Stone Tape? Or both.
Despite the 70s clothes and fashions which make some of the scientists look like Open Unviersity lecturers it’s still a damned fine story, a clever variation on the classic British ghost tale and spooky as hell. And how young is Jane Asher in htis?