The Master

The Master

1966 - United Kingdom

To most of us in 1966, Rockall - a lump of rock off the west coast of Scotland - was a word in a weather forecast. But inside that forbidding granite fortress there were secret passages, concealed entances, banks of scientific and electronic equipment. Rockall was the headquarters of a man who planned to dominate the world.

Fiercely dedicated men swear allegiance to The Master, a despot reputed to be 150 years old. His nightmarish schemes to control the world might have gone undiscovered had not two children, Nicky and Judy, landed on the island while on a sailing expedition. The science fiction tale by T. H. White - who wrote 'The Sword In The Stone' on which the musical 'Camelot' was based - is told in this six-part children's series from Southern Television. Significantly, it was the first venture for the company into the world of children's drama and kick-started a hugely successful 15-year run of tea-time adventure serials. Southern had so much confidence in the series that they invested a huge £6,000 per episode and introduced it with a full colour feature in the TV Times. It paid off, and proved a pivotal moment in children's television, mixing elements of standard adventure with James Bond type villians and science fiction. 

The Master TV Series
John Laurie as Totty McMcTurk

In the pay of The Master was eccentric scientist Totty McMcTurk played with manic wide eyed lunacy by John Laurie. The real villian of the piece was a 150-year old emaciated criminal with telepathic powers played by Olaf Pooley. He was accompanied by his unnamed sinister Chinese assistant (Terence Soall). The Master's plan was to hold the world to ransom with a deadly laser ray but his plans were complicated with the arrival of our heroes, especially when he learns that Nicky also has telepathic powers. 

12-year old Paul Guess played the role of Nicky whle his sister, Judy, was played by 16-year old Adrienne Poster, who would go on to become one of the faces of British cinema's swinging sixties era in such movies as 'To Sir With Love', 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush', and 'Up The Junction'. The kids were helped by George Baker as Squadron Leader Frinton and Richard Vernon played their father.

Published on January 3rd, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus (23 February 2008) with excerpts from original TV Times article for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

The Baron

An antiques dealer works in an informal capacity as an agent for British Diplomatic Intelligence.

Also released in 1966

Seaspray

Australian series about a widowed father travelling the Southern Pacific seas with his two sons, daughter and a deckhand.

Also released in 1966

Daktari

"The real stars of the series were Clarence the lion and Judy the chimpanzee."

Also released in 1966

The Flaxton Boys

This fondly remembered epic children’s drama created by Sid Waddell, set over four series, each featuring a different generation of the Flaxton boys, was inspired by a lunch-time meeting in a pub and an offer that an upcoming writer couldn't refuse.

Also tagged Childrens Drama

Box of Delights

John Masefield's enchanting children's fantasy The Box of Delights, tells the story of a young boy whose chance meeting with a Punch-and-Judy man leads him to a world where almost anything is possible.

Also tagged Childrens Drama

Brendon Chase

Classic children's story shown over thirteen episodes concerning the Hensman brothers, Robin, John and Harold, who spend eight months living as outlaws in the forest of Brendon Chase.

Also tagged Childrens Drama

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield remains, to this day, one of the most respected and best selling female vocalists of all time. Simply titled Dusty (in the opening credits - although the closing credits read The Dusty Springfield Show) the format of the series was very straight forward...

Also released in 1966

Flight of the Heron

Epic period drama made by Scottish Television and based on D.K. Broster's 1925 novel centred round fictional events at the time of the non-fictional Jacobite Rebellion of 1746 and leading up to the battle of Culloden.

Also tagged Childrens Drama