Out of This World

1962 | United Kingdom

British TV's first attempt at a science fiction anthology, Out of This World ran for thirteen episodes on ATV in 1962. Sadly, only one episode survives. 

The introductory episode, John Wyndham's Dumb Martian (produced by Sydney Newman), was actually shown as part of ATV's popular Armchair Theatre series (24/06/1962), in order to retain a captive audience for this untried genre, which started the following week. 

Out of This World was an hour-long series that featured dramatisations of short stories by popular fantasy writers such as Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Clifford Simak. Terry Nation adapted two scripts as well as writing 'Botony Bay,' in which a psychiatry student (William Gaunt) discovers that his patients are possessed by aliens. He kills one of them, and in a bitter twist, is committed to the same institution. 

The series also featured many familiar TV names such as Nigel Stock, Peter Wyngarde, Patrick Allen, Milo O'Shea and Paul Eddington. The series producer was Irene Shubik, who went on to mastermind BBC 2's Out of the Unknown series in 1965. 

Horror master Boris Karloff introduced each episode and the series proved a great success paving the way for future science fiction series such as Doctor Who. The only episode that has survived is Little Lost Robot, an adaptation of an Asimov story, the rest (including Dumb Martian) were wiped.

Published on January 17th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.