History Files

WAR OF THE WORLDS

 

Thrown into Anglia's late night non-network slot, this was never going to be a big hit in Britain. Made in 1988-89, it achieved its first showing (at least in the South of England) on Anglia in 1992, not reaching the London area on Carlton until late 1993. It was average US fare with a certain fascination-factor, and particular episodes produced scenes of rather grisly effects.

The story was a direct sequel to the Hollywood film of 1953, set over forty years later. A group of terrorists 'liberate' an army chemical dump with the intention of blackmailing the Government. During the attack something is released and the terrorists are knocked out and taken over in quick succession. They, as the Martian hosts of ex-human bodies, then establish contact with the advance base on Mars and are told to prepare the ground for an invasion fleet. Using assorted weaponry they manage to defeat a special attack squad, which forces the US top brass to concede to scientist Harrison Blackwood that there is a problem. A crack team is set up, lead by Harrison, to work out a scientific way of defeating the aliens, and, after Harrison destroys the three surviving alien ships captured after the 1953 movie, the weekly series itself began with the aliens desperately trying to find a way around Harrison's blocking attempts.

It was a delight to see the original film ships on the rampage again, however briefly, in the pilot episode, but the series quickly turned to the usual formula of continual sparring between the opponents each week, as one sought to out-do the other, although there were darker and more thoughtful moments, and some rather unexpected defeats and victories for the Harrison's team. Although the series achieved no notable publicity, and the second, final, season was shown in another graveyard slot, its introduction to a London audience on Carlton bought it a certain cult following, and articles sprung up in the science-fiction-related literature of the time. The role of Sylvia Van Buren was reprised by Ann Robinson, who played the same part in the 1953 movie.

When the series began a repeat on ITV from 22nd June 1995, the pilot episode was chopped to a mere fifty minutes running time, making it fairly incomprehensible. Season Two ran on Carlton alone in the same graveyard slot in 1996.

 


REGULAR CAST

Dr Harrison Blackwood Jared Martin
Suzanne McCullough Lynda Mason Green
Lt Col Paul Ironhorse Richard Chaves (Season 1 Only)
Norton Drake Philip Akin (Season 1 Only)
Debi McCullough
Rachel Blanchard
John Kincaid Adrian Paul (Season 2 Only)
Advocate #1
Richard Comar (Season 1 Only)
Advocate #2 Ilsa Van Glatz (Season 1 Only)
Malzor
Denis Forest (Season 2 Only)
Mana Catherine Disher (Season 2 Only)

 


Executive Producers: Sam and Greg
  Strangis
(Season 1), Frank Mancuso
  (Season 2)
Producer: Jonathan Hackett
Exec Script Consultant: Tom Lazarus
  (Season 1), Jeremy Hole, Jim Trombetta
  (Season 2)
Executive in Charge of Production: Robert
  Wertheimer

Music: Billy Thorpe (Season 1), Steve
  Cohen
and Fred Mollin (Season 2)

All details are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective producers. All character and location names are also copyright. No infringement of any copyright is intended.
Home.