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Scary TV Moments: Rats, Torture, Mind Control – it must be 1984

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On 12th December 1954 Nigel Kneale’s adaptation of George Orwell’s controversial 1984 was transmitted, live from the BBC, to an audience of 9m people. Never before in the history of television had so much fuss been caused by one programme. Even today, few other programmes have been as controversial and 1984 stands as a landmark in scary TV history.

The Daily Express reported that a woman had collapsed and died whilst watching the play and MPs complained about the level of “sexual and sadistic tastes” in the programme. So what caused all the fuss? Rats. Torture. Mind control. Watch the scene with Peter Cushing and the rats and, even all these years later, you might be prompted to write a stiff letter of complaint yourself.

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