The Omega Factor

1979 | United Kingdom

Long before The X-Files hit our screens British television explored the unkown with a pair of investigators who worked at a centre for psychic research, seeking out seemingly paranormal activity in an attempt to get a better understanding of the ultimate potential of the human mind: The Omega Factor. 

Journalist Tom Crane (James Hazeldine) learns he has psychic powers that have been dormant since he was a child. After his wife dies in a car crash, seemingly engineered by an occultist called Edward Drexel (Cyril Luckham), Tom learns that he has unwittingly been used as a test subject by a secret government unit called Department 7. Their remit is to investigate paranormal phenomena as well as how the mind is effected by hypnosis, brainwashing, extra-sensory perception, telekinesis, and spiritual possession. Crane joins the Department whose members include physicist Dr. Anne Reynolds (Louise Jameson) and psychiatrist Dr Roy Martindale (John Carlisle). His own psychic gift leads Crane to think he may have stumbled on a conspiracy by a mysterious organisation called Omega to take over the world using mind control. 

The series very quickly came under attack by the National Viewers and Listeners Association, its Honourary General Secretary Mrs Mary Whitehouse citing one particular episode as "one of the most disturbing programmes I have ever seen on television." Produced by BBC Scotland, the series was shot on location in Edinburgh almost entirely on videotape. 

Although the final episode resolved several of the subplots it also ended ambiguously suggesting a second season was planned. However, although critically well received the ratings were particularly poor and series creator Jack Gerson had already moved on to his next project, The Assassination Run. There is nothing to suggest that the series would have carried on beyond the 10 episodes.

Published on January 15th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.