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.
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.