1969 | United Kingdom

Originally planned in 1966 but shelved by the BBC for three years, Counterstrike was a short-lived science fiction series centred round alien invasion and an alien 'agent', Simon King, sent to Earth by an intergalactic council (the celestial equivalent of the UN), posing as a journalist in order to unmask the Centuarans, refugees from a dying planet, who wanted to take over the world. 

The series was similar in theme to the US series The Invaders and this was the reason why the BBC held it back. The Corporation had even gone so far as to have commissioned effects and title music (by Delia Derbyshire) and assigned a producer, Antony Kearey, before calling a halt on production. 

When the project was dusted off the shelf in 1969 new effects and music were created by Brian Hodgson and Keith Beckett produced. Jon Finch starred as King who quickly goes about unmasking the villains of the series and he was aided by his doctor friend, Mary (Sarah Brackett). Having made the series the BBC then seemed to lose faith in it, inexplicably showing only nine of the ten episodes. 

Episode six was pulled at the eleventh hour to be replaced by a documentary on the notorious London gangland twins, The Krays, who had been refused leave to appeal against their prison sentences on that same day. However, it was never rescheduled and the series tapes were subsequently wiped. The first four episodes exist today on 16mm Black & White Film. An un-transmitted pilot episode was also made but it is unclear if this was from 1966 or 1969. It too is no longer held in the archives. 

Published on December 5th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.