On a remote Scottish island, Doctors Curtis Lark and John
Cornelius are convinced that the violent death of their friend
Dr. Hugh Dexter was no accident. Dexter's research notes reveal
that he was investigating an island sickness affecting many
of the inhabitants, turning them into zombies blindly obeying
orders from an unknown source. The key to the mystery seems
to be an apparently telepathic, but simple-minded local girl,
Flora. Lark and Cornelius want to take her to London to find
out more - but is she the only telepath to have left the island?
And who is controlling them?...
horror legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price play John Cornelius
and Curtis Lark in this six-part series, which also features
Richard Hurndall (Blake's 7 and Doctor Who).
Written by Rene Basilico and based on a story by '70s Doctor
Who script editor Robert Holmes, it is presented on CD
for the first time since it was originally broadcast in 1977.
came as no surprise to learn, thanks to the interesting sleeve
notes, that this story was a failed Doctor Who script,
originally entitled Aliens in the Blood. It's odd because
before I knew this fact was drawn to how much like a Who
tale this was - with Cushing as The Doctor and Price as his
companion. Sadly there just isn't enough content her to be
stretched over three hours. When you strip the story down,
it's incredibly dull and clichéd. In fact, if it weren't
for Cushing and Price, the whole thing would probably be unlistenable.
Thankfully the two main actors bring a spark to the tale and
make the characters instantly likeable.
fact, the on-air relationship between Lark and Cornelius seemed
totally real. This wasn't two actors pretending to be friends,
this was Cushing and Price having a damn good laugh together.
In part four there is a great line, which I hope was ad-libbed,
but I suspect was scripted. Cushing and Price have been talking
to an MP and afterwards Price congratulates Cushing on his
ability to convey his message. Cushing replied: "Personally
I felt we were hamming like mad." To which Price laughs
and says: "Don't we always?" And
there are several other little jokes that make the rather
bland script come off the page in the hands of Cushing and
are clichés galore here, but by far the worst is the
Scottish connection. You can always tell when a character
you meet is one of the mutants - nine times out of ten they
have a very bad Scottish accent.
I said earlier, if you strip the story back to its main elements
there's very little of substance there. In fact once you have
the bare bones you start to notice how stupid and pointless
the whole tale is. Why, for example, would anyone want to
control so many people this way? It is possibly the stupidest
way of gaining worldwide power. By the time everything was
in place for the orchestrater of the plot to seize total power
they'd be too old to do anything worthwhile.
Cushing and Price this would have scored a lot lower than
the final mark I've given it. Historically it's worth listening
to, but I doubt you'll listen to it twice.
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