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The Road (BBC Drama, James Maxwell, Ann Bell)

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Scifi drama The Road, written by Nigel Kneale and broadcast under the First Night banner, 17th century philosopher Gideon Cobb (John Phillips) and his friend Sir Timothy Hassell (James Maxwell) investigate a haunted wood which turns out to be sending out sounds from what we the audience realise are sounds of the present day – a sound of a car door slamming, talk of the M1 motorway and even the four minute warning of impending nuclear attack.

Reviewing the play in The Stage (3 Oct 1963) William Pearce felt The Road presented “an interesting interpretation of the difference between the scientist and the philosopher which one did not need to be skilled in dialectics to understand.”

Dennis Potter reviewing the play in The Daily Herald (30 Sep 1963) called Kneale “The master of the shiver. Nigel Kneale of Quatermass Renown, knows how to take the pulse of terror. Kneale and the others of this trade can touch our imaginations with uncanny ease. Last night’s play was as intriguing as it was enjoyable.”

Series: First Night Episode 2

Cast: John Phillips as Gideon Cobb; James Maxwell as Sir Timothy Hassall; Ann Bell as Lavinia; Rodney Bewes as Sam Towler; Meg Ritchie as Tetsy; Victor Platt as Lukey Chase; David King as Big Jeff; Reg Lever as Landlord; Richard Beale as Villager; Beaufoy Milton as Villager; Clifton Jones as Jethro; Douglas Harris; Fred Rawlings; John Scott Martin; Francis Larkin; Alfred Hurst; Tony Walsh; Ralph Katterns; Frank Wheatley

Writer: Nigel Kneale / Script Editor: Vincent Tilsley / Producer: John Elliott / Director: Christopher Morahan

UK / BBC / 1×55 minutes / 29 September 1963 black and white