The Yellow Pill

The Yellow Pill

1962 - United Kingdom

Who is the strange man brought by the police to Dr. Frame? Is he a murderer? How did he gain his uncanny knowledge of Frame's private life? Is it possible that he really comes from anothert time? This is the most unusual case the doctor has ever had.

The Yellow Pill, starring Nigel Stock, Richard Pasco, Peter Dyneley and Pauline Yates, was the first in ITV's new anthology series, Out of this World

Originally it was planned to be the second episode with Dumb Martian preceding it, but ITV Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, decided to put Dumb Martain out under the Armchair Theatre strand a week before. Therefore, The Yellow Pill(which sadly no longer exists in the archives) takes its place in television history as the first episode of ITV's first science fiction series. 

Broadcast on Saturday 30 June 1962 the episode was (as was each in the series) introduced by Hollywood's British born master of horror, Boris Karloff. Immediately following the broadcast of Dumb MartianKarloff appeared on screen in a promo to tell viewers: "Tonight's play has taken us to Jupiter 4-2, the second moon of Callisto. A mere pebble in space about forty miles across - four hundred and eighty-three million miles out of this world. Out of this World! - the first play next Saturday evening is called The Yellow Pill. If you do not find it a most unusual story, then my name isn't Boris Karloff." 

The episode pulled in 11 million viewers and was the eleventh most popular ITV broadcast of that week. Nationally it came 18th - equal to the BBC's long established series Z-Cars. The original story was written by American science fiction writer Rog Phillips and adapted for television by Leon Griffiths.   

Published on April 4th, 2020. Adapted from original TV Times article..

Read Next...

After the Funeral

When Alun Owen's play 'After the Funeral' was read by Sydney Newman, head of drama for ABC Television, and William Kotcheff, the television director, they were so taken by his conception of Wales and the Welsh, they decided to see for themselves.

Also tagged Single Play

The Beverly Hillbillies

Classic US sitcom following the adventures of Jed Clampett and his family who, after discovering oil at the back of their Ozark ranch, pack up their things and move to Beverly Hills, much to the consternation of the local populace.

Also released in 1962

The Browning Version

Schoolmaster Andrew Crocker-Harris is retiring because of ill-health, and Taplow, one of his pupils, brings him a present on the eve of his retirement in this Terence Rattigan play from 1966.

Also tagged Single Play

The Bulldog Breed

A single series of seven comedies about Tom, the perennial optimist, as he wanders through life leaving chaos in his wake totally oblivious to the problems he causes for everyone.

Also released in 1962

Cathy Come Home

Harrowing drama of one family's downward spiral into poverty that sparked a national debate in the Houses of Parliament on the plight of the homeless.

Also tagged Single Play


An expensive investigative agency operating in San Francisco protects the lives of people who had become targets of the criminal underworld.

Also released in 1962

Albert TV play

Single play based on a true story about an ingenious and daring escape from a German POW camp for Allied naval officers during WW2

Also tagged Single Play


Compact was the BBC's third adult soap opera.

Also released in 1962