TV UK TV

Tripods, The (BBC-1 1984-85, John Shackley, Ceri Seel)

The Tripods

Scifi drama series set sometime in the future when the world has been overtaken by alien beings and their huge machines – The Tripods. The human race has been subjugated by means of a cap fitted into the skull and controlled by the aliens.

Three young teenagers join a resistance movement that plans to free the world and get rid of the Tripods. This is a series with a troubled history, the show was cancelled two thirds of the way through its three season run, leaving the aliens still in control. The only recourse for viewers to find out how the story ends is to read the source material – the third novel in the sequence The Pool of Fire).

Special effects took up much of the budget for the show and although the Tripods were seen in long shot the effects team mainly used a single huge leg to convey the presence of a tripod. The production couldn’t actually run to a trip to the French Alps where some of the action was set so Snowdonia stood in for it.

The Tripods

Will, Henry and Beanpole.

The first season had stayed very close to the original source material but for season two it was, for some reason, felt better to expand upon the material and bring in new situations and material.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 25×30 minute episodes / 1984-85

Writers: Alick Rowe, Christopher Penfold / Trilogy of Novels: John Christopher (The three books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire) / Theme Music: Ken Freeman / Producer: Richard Bates

cast
JOHN SHACKLEY as Will Parker
CERI SEEL as Beanpole
JIM BAKER as Henry Parker
PAMELA SALEM as Countess
RODERICK HORN as Ozymandias
JOHN WOODVINE as Master 468
EDWARD HIGHMORE as Boll
ROBIN HAYTER as Fritz