Whether working for studios such as Hammer and Woodfall or redefining the role of television drama at the BBC, Kneale’s writing ventured into daring new territory, brilliantly reflecting the changes … Kneale's script, Jack and the Beanstalk, was transmitted on 24 March 1974, and marked the end of his BBC writing career. [67] The play, a horror piece based around witchcraft, led the following year to a series called Beasts, a six-part anthology where Kneale created six different character-based tales of horror and the macabre. He was married to Judith Kerr. Thomas Nigel Kneale was born in Barrow-in-Furness on 28 April 1922. “I saw it when it was first shown,” says the film critic Kim Newman. "Thematically no less awesome than Mr Kneale's earlier science-fiction essays for BBC Television, his ITV debut has proved only a so-so affair", was the verdict of The Times when previewing the final episode. He has been described as "one of the most influential writers of the 20th century",[1] and as "having invented popular TV". [36] Kneale was inspired in writing the serial by contemporary fears over secret UK Ministry of Defence research establishments such as Porton Down, as well the fact that as a BBC staff writer he had been required to sign the Official Secrets Act. HEADPRESS: When did you first get the idea to write a book on Nigel Kneale and how did the opportunity to meet him come about? He died on October 29, 2006 in London, England. [27] The Professor's first name was chosen in honour of the astronomer Bernard Lovell. Manx-born author/screenwriter Nigel Kneale was one of the most compelling and influential film writers to come out of England in the '50s. [18] This play was adapted and directed by the Austrian television director Rudolph Cartier, who had also joined the staff of the BBC drama department in 1952. Like its three predecessors, Quatermass was written by Nigel Kneale.It is the fourth and final television serial to … Miller, David. Quatermass (also known as Quatermass IV, or The Quatermass Conclusion for its intended international theatrical release) is a British television science fiction serial produced by Euston Films for Thames Television and broadcast on the ITV network in October and November 1979. [6] He did take small voice-over roles in some of his 1950s television productions, such as the voice heard on the factory loudspeaker system in Quatermass II (1955), for which he also narrated most of the recaps shown at the beginning of each episode. "The fact that it's lasted a long time and has a steady audience doesn't mean much. [55] Like The Witches, the film version of Quatermass and the Pit took several years to reach the screen, eventually being released in 1967. In the early 1950s Kneale met fellow BBC screenwriter Judith Kerr, a Jewish refugee, in the BBC canteen. In a January 2015, BBC Radio 2 gave an interview with Hammer Films CEO Simon Oaks with news of developing a new Quatermass series for television. First Men in the Moon is a 1964 British science fiction film, produced by Charles H. Schneer, directed by Nathan Juran, and starring Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and Lionel Jeffries.The film, distributed by Columbia Pictures, is an adaptation by screenwriter Nigel Kneale of H. G. Wells' 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon.. Ray Harryhausen provided the stop-motion animation effects, which include the … Curiously, I can remember clearly the first time I saw The Year of the Sex Olympics by Nigel Kneale. [6] In 1951 he was recruited as one of the first staff writers to be employed by BBC Television;[16] before he started working for the BBC, Kneale had never seen any television. [13]), Following this success, Kneale gave up acting to write full-time. Defiant (1962, from the novel Mutiny by Frank Tilsley)[52] and First Men in the Moon (1964, from the novel by H. G. The following year, Michael Barry became the Head of Drama at BBC Television, and spent his entire first year's script budget of £250 to hire Kneale as a full-time writer for the drama department. [17] Kneale was initially a general-purpose writer, working on adaptations of books and stage plays and even writing material for light entertainment and children's programmes. Tags: BOO!, Film podcast, Ghostwatch, Haunted Houses, His House, James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Mat Colegate (aka Lord Nuneaton Savage) & Dan White (aka The Beast Must Die., Michael Parkinson, Nigel Kneale, Sarah Greene, Sinister, Stephen Volk, The Amityville Horror, The Savage Beast, The Stone Tape, There's A Ghost In My House, Trauma. The first Quatermass film had been a major success for Hammer and, eager for a sequel, they purchased the rights to Nigel Kneale's follow-up before the BBC had even begun transmission of the new serial. "[65] His final BBC work was an entry into a series called Bedtime Stories, adapting traditional fairy tales into adult dramas. [6] Kneale knew Richardson through having previously adapted a Chekhov short story for the BBC, which Richardson had directed. [49], For the next few years, Kneale concentrated mostly on film screenplays, adapting plays and novels for the cinema. [29] Only the first two episodes were telerecorded and survive in the BBC's archives. The dialogue/characterisation seemed to consist of a kind of childish squabbling" and Doomwatch: "I was approached to write Doomwatch. [64] Lez Cooke praised the production, when writing in 2003, describing it as "one of the most imaginative and intelligent examples of the horror genre to appear on British television, a single play to rank alongside the best of Play for Today. [6] His first script for ITV in this period was the one-off play Murrain, made by the network's Midlands franchise holders Associated TeleVision (ATV) in 1975. He continued to appear as an interview subject in various television documentaries,[18] and also recorded further audio commentaries for the release of some of his productions on DVD. He was a writer and actor, known for, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England, UK. [4] At the beginning of the Second World War Kneale attempted to enlist in the British Army, but was deemed medically unfit for service[7] owing to photophobia, from which he had suffered since childhood. Predominantly a writer of thrillers that used science-fiction and horror elements, he was best known for the creation of the character Professor Bernard Quatermass. [56] Roy Ward Baker directed, with Andrew Keir starring as Quatermass. Hence Brian Donlevy’s being cast to play a very un-British Bernard Quatermass in this particular film. [38], Kneale's next script for the BBC was The Stone Tape, a scientific ghost story broadcast on Christmas Day 1972. [38], In 1982, Kneale made another one-off diversion from his usual work when he wrote his only produced Hollywood movie script, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Sutton was the Head of Drama at the BBC during this period, and twice lists Kneale while citing examples of the finest single plays made during his tenure. The film will be produced by Hammer’s Simon Oakes and follow the story of Bernard Quatermass, which was made popular by the successful BBC 1950s series, and a trio of films from Hammer Film Productions from the mid-50s to the mid-60s and seen as a precursor to Dr. Who. Writer. [75], Susan Hill herself did not like some of the changes that Kneale had made to The Woman in Black. The writer and actor Mark Gatiss, paying tribute to Kneale on the BBC News Online website shortly after his death, indicated that he was among the first rank of British television writers, but that this had been overlooked. But there were after-effects, a moo “Fantasy Flashback: Quatermass &Amp; The Pit.” TV … [17] Kneale was unable to find backing to produce the play for the stage, but sold the script to ATV who put it into pre-production for television. [73] It has been observed that Kneale on some occasions operated a double standard with adaptations; being unhappy when others made changes to his stories, but willing to make changes to stories he was adapting into script form. "[28] Like all of Kneale's television work for the BBC in the 1950s, The Quatermass Experiment was transmitted live. [99], Nigel Kneale in 1990, discussing his career on. [10] Kneale's first credited role in adult television drama was providing "additional dialogue" for the play Arrow to the Heart, broadcast on 20 July 1952. It was a case of take the money and run. [8] Kneale worked with Kerr on an adaptation of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit in the 1970s, but the eventual makers of the film version disregarded their script. [14] Kneale's publisher was keen for him to write a novel,[3] but Kneale himself was more interested in writing for television. Cine-literate, politically aware and scathingly … Or in the case of Mr Donlevy, waddle."[38]. He took very little interest in the making of the films or in playing the part. [56] Kneale was much happier with this version than the previous Hammer Quatermass adaptations,[57] and the film was described by The Independent in 2006 as "one of the best ever Hammer productions. This issue also has reviews of the VHS releases of Quatermass and the Pit (by Petley) and The Quatermass Conclusion (by Kim Newman). Back in 2000 I was working at Cornerhouse arts centre in Manchester. [38] The production was nearly made as a film by 20th Century Fox, but John Trevelyan, Chief Executive of the British Board of Film Censors, forbade the script's production. [78] Partly composed of Kneale looking back at the events that led to the writing of the original three Quatermass serials and using some archive material, there was also a dramatised strand to the series, set just before the ITV Quatermass serial and featuring Andrew Keir, star of the Hammer version of Quatermass and the Pit, as the Professor. He died on October 29, 2006 in London, England. Writing extensively for both film and TV, Nigel Kneale is one of the most important and radical British screenwriters of the last century.His work has haunted several generations of British viewers. Joe Dante is one of the great heroes of American cinema. [3] His final professional work was an episode of the ITV legal drama Kavanagh QC, starring John Thaw. We all just wanted to watch a spooky ghost story. Kneale had initially been approached by the director John Landis to work on the screenplay for a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon,[72] and he and his wife spent some time living at the Sheraton Hotel in Hollywood while Kneale worked on the project. People who made the bold decision to watch this excellent drama will respond to any 'clip-clop' by gratifyingly leaping in the air and grabbing the backs of their necks. "[Donlevy] was then really on the skids and didn't care what he was doing. The Quatermass Experiment was the first adult television science-fiction production,[25] held a large television audience gripped across its six weeks,[3] and has been described by the Museum of Broadcast Communications as dramatising "a new range of gendered fears about Britain's postwar and post-colonial security. [72] Kneale agreed, on the proviso that it would be a totally new concept unrelated to the first two films, which he had not seen and he did not like what he had heard about them. If you have never seen Nigel Kneale’s Beasts I urge you to rectify this as soon as you can. [62], Kneale was admired by the film director John Carpenter,[3][31] who hired Kneale to write the screenplay Halloween III. [17], Following the cancellation of Crow, Kneale moved to work for another of the ITV companies, Thames Television, who in 1977 commissioned the production of the scripts of Kneale's previously abandoned fourth Quatermass serial, to be produced by their Euston Films subsidiary film company. [5][6] He was raised in the island's capital, Douglas, where his father was the owner and editor of the local newspaper, The Herald. A particular critical success was The Year of the Sex Olympics, broadcast as part of BBC2's Theatre 625 series in July 1968. [10] Later that year he left the Isle of Man and moved to London, where he began studying acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). "If you like the idea of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide but found its realization tiresomely hysterical you may well prefer Kneale's relaxed wit. [77], Kneale also adapted Sharpe's Gold for ITV in 1995, as part of their series of adaptations of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels. [29], Kneale and Cartier next collaborated on an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (broadcast 6 December 1953) and then on a version of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (12 December 1954). In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. Kneale wrote original scripts and successfully adapted works by writers such as George Orwell, John Osborne, H. G. Wells and Susan Hill. At his initial job interview with Michael Barry, Cartier had criticised the department's output as being too sedate and theatrical,[20] while Kneale was frustrated at what he saw as the slow and boring styles of television drama production then employed, which he felt wasted the potential of the medium. [31] There was also prominent support for the play; the Duke of Edinburgh made it known that he and the Queen had watched and enjoyed the programme,[32] and the second live performance on 16 December gained the largest television audience since her coronation the previous year. [81] The horror fiction writer Stephen King has cited Kneale as an influence,[3][31] and Kim Newman suggested in 2003 that King had "more or less rewritten Quatermass and the Pit in The Tommyknockers. It was 35 years ago. The Year of the Sex Olympics was the brainchild of writer Nigel Kneale. Not only did it have three of the... Years and Years: Russell T Davies drama gazes into near future with unmissable dread The … In compressing the 3-hour BBC series into an 80-minute film, director Val Guest, who co-authored the revised script, also took other liberties with the story. Described by The Independent as "one of the few writers not to fall out with John Osborne,"[7] Kneale adapted Osborne's plays Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer in 1958 and 1960 respectively, both for director Tony Richardson. He started on television, where his five-part series The Quatermass Experiment in 1953 took the fledgling British television industry by storm, racking up huge audiences despite the relative rarity of TV sets at that time. For this adaptation, Nigel Kneale himself was allowed to write the first draft of the screenplay, although subsequent drafts were worked on by director Val Guest. "In a story which mined mythology and folklore ... under the guise of genre it tackled serious themes of man's hostile nature and the military's perversion of science for its own ends. Called Crow, it was based upon the memoirs of real-life Manx slaver Captain Hugh Crow. [30] Nineteen Eighty-Four was a particularly notable production; many found it shocking, and questions were asked in Parliament about whether some of the scenes had been suitable for television. The award has twice been won by the son of a previous winner: Kingsley Amis (winner in 1955) was the father of Martin Amis (1974), and Nigel Kneale (1950) the father of Matthew Kneale (1988). In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. The Live Life Show, in which a family are watched twenty-four hours a day as they struggle to live on an isolated rural island, becomes a massive success, especially when a murderer is introduced into the set-up. [8] He continued to write in his spare time and in 1949 a collection of his work, entitled Tomato Cain and Other Stories, was published. On 25 December 25 1972, BBC audiences were terrified by a new programme, written by Nigel Kneale, directed by Peter Sasdy and starring Michael Bryant and Jane Asher. Don't let SILENCE go silent! "[62] The island locations scenes for the production were filmed on the Isle of Man, Kneale's homeland. "[38] Doctor Who was heavily influenced by Kneale's Quatermass serials,[88][89][90] in some cases even using specific storylines that were very similar to those from Quatermass.[91][92]. Neither Kneale nor Cartier were impressed with the state in which they found BBC television drama. Australian TV drama was … Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional rocket scientist originally created by writer Nigel Kneale who, as a … [61] Kneale's first television work to be made in colour—although only a black-and-white copy now survives—the story was based in a future where the majority of the population are kept in a docile state by constant broadcasts of pornography and other low-brow reality television programming. [72] The Black Lagoon script never went into production, but while in America Kneale met the director Joe Dante, who invited him to script the third film in the Halloween series, on which Dante was working. When his novel English Passengers won the Whitbread Book of the Year award in 2001, his father commented that: "Matthew's much better than I am. [78] According to The Independent, Kneale conceived a storyline involving the young Quatermass becoming involved in German rocketry experiments in the 1930s, and helping a young Jewish woman to escape from the country during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.[7]. Carpenter wrote the screenplay for his 1987 film Prince of Darkness under the pseudonym "Martin Quatermass", a reference to Kneale's work. [72] Kneale got on well with the director assigned to the film, Tommy Lee Wallace,[72] but when one of the film's backers, Dino De Laurentiis, insisted upon the inclusion of more graphic violence and a rewrite of the script from Wallace, Kneale became displeased with the results and had his name removed from the film. [21] Together they would help to revolutionise British television drama and establish it as an entity separate from its theatre and radio equivalents; the television historian Lez Cooke wrote in 2003 that "Between them, Kneale and Cartier were responsible for introducing a completely new dimension to television drama in the early to mid-1950s. [97] Bryan Kneale painted the covers for the Quatermass script books released by Penguin Books in 1959 and 1960. [19] It was the beginning of a successful working relationship between the pair, that would lead to some of Kneale's best known work. Kneale's career in Television has been retrospectively obscured by the BBC's routine wiping of videotapes, in order to save money (this vandalism continued for years after American television series like I Love … He was a writer and actor, known for The Entertainer (1960), Look Back in Anger (1959) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967). [73] Lynne Truss, reviewing a repeat broadcast of the production on Channel 4 for The Times in 1994, wrote that: "Clip-clop is not usually a noise to get upset about. [2], Kneale was born Thomas Nigel Kneale in Barrow-in-Furness, England. [38] It was also his final new collaboration with Rudolph Cartier, although the director did later handle a new version of Kneale's 1953 adaptation of Wuthering Heights for the BBC in 1962. "[74] The adaptation nearly went unmade; Kneale had written the script in ten days but been advised by his agent to wait before submitting it to the producers Central Independent Television so that they would not think he had rushed it. The great horror sci/fi writer Nigel Kneale, usually renowned for his Quatermass writings and technology and science based themes, again comes up trumps with a finely acted drama that asks all the right questions and never resorts to silly clichés usually equated to the subject matter. Since then most of his writing work was for Television and film, often using sf themes, most commonly consisting of scientific rationalizations of ancient motifs from Horror fiction and Mythology. [71] However, the series was not a success, although Kneale later remained personally pleased with it. In 1991, a four-part version he wrote of Kingsley Amis's novel Stanley and the Women, met with approval from the original author, with Amis regarding it as the most successful adaptation of any of his work. [57] The production, Quatermass, was structured to work both as a four-episode serial for transmission in the UK, and a 100-minute film version for cinema release overseas—something Kneale later regretted agreeing to. Kneale wrote well-received television dramas such as The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968) and The Stone Tape (1972) in addition to the Quatermass serials. 12 (1992): 32–47. Here he talks about working with the man who invented modern television. [37] Kneale was not pleased with the film,[6] and particularly disliked the casting of Brian Donlevy as Quatermass, as he explained in a 1986 interview. [85], High-profile entertainment industry figures have publicly expressed admiration for Kneale's work, including The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr,[87] members of the rock group Pink Floyd[87] and Monty Python's Flying Circus writer/performer Michael Palin. But his place is secure, alongside Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, John Wyndham and Brian Aldiss, as one of the best, most exciting and most compassionate English science fiction writers of his century.[4]. A Weekend with Nigel Kneale is at Chapter Cinema, Market Road, Canton, Cardiff (01222 311050), from Thursday to Monday. "He is amongst the greats—he is absolutely as important as Dennis Potter, as David Mercer, as Alan Bleasdale, as Alan Bennett, but I think because of a strange snobbery about fantasy or sci-fi it's never quite been that way. He also criticised Blake's 7, which he described as the lowest point of British television science-fiction: "I think the low point for me would be the very few bits I've seen of a thing called Blake's 7 which I found paralytically awful. Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional scientist, originally created by the writer Nigel Kneale for BBC Television. [30], Almost simultaneously with the transmission of Quatermass II in the autumn of 1955, Hammer Film Productions released The Quatermass Xperiment, their film adaptation of the first serial. The series … "[17] Another screenplay that went unproduced was a Kneale original, a drama involving a wave of teenage suicides called The Big Giggle,[17] or The Big, Big Giggle. Nigel Kneale was born on April 18, 1922 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England as Thomas Nigel Kneale. Quatermass was a heroic scientist who appeared in various television, film and radio productions written by Kneale for the BBC, Hammer Film Productions and Thames Television between 1953 and 1996. [87], Kneale never saw himself as a science-fiction writer,[17] and was often critical of the genre. Nigel Kneale quoted in “The Quatermass Addendum Part 3” by Bill Warren, Starlog 141, April 1989, page 51 "[4] He returned to writing for radio for the first time since the 1950s in 1996, when he wrote the drama-documentary The Quatermass Memoirs for BBC Radio 3. "[23], The science-fiction production to which Jacobs referred was The Quatermass Experiment, broadcast in six half-hour episodes in July and August 1953. [95], Kneale was proud of his son's success as a writer. [67] It featured some well-known actors such as Martin Shaw, Pauline Quirke and Bernard Horsfall, but did not gain a full network run on ITV; different regions transmitted the episodes in different timeslots and some in different sequences. I'm sure if somebody thought that Quatermass was a silly name and changed it, he'd be furious! Disney dropped new trailers for "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," "Loki," and a first look at the new Star Wars series, "Andor.". [6] Kneale's episode, "Ancient History", was about a Jewish woman who during the Second World War had been subjected to horrific experiments in a concentration camp. [49] Broadcast on 18 June as part of The United States Steel Hour anthology series, the script was severely cut back in length. Controller of Programmes Cecil McGivern wrote in a memo that: "Had competitive television been in existence then, we would have killed it every Saturday night while [The Quatermass Experiment] lasted. [6] The play concerned the population of an 18th-century village who become haunted by visions of a future nuclear war,[3] and was followed by several further one-off dramas for the BBC over the following decade, including two entries into BBC1's The Wednesday Play anthology strand. This is an edited version of Neil Snowdon’s interview with Joe Dante on Nigel Kneale, which is published in the newly released book We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale. "[76] However, Kneale's adaptations were by no means always unpopular with the original author. [9], On 25 March 1946 Kneale made his first broadcast on BBC Radio, performing a live reading of his own short story "Tomato Cain" in a strand entitled Stories by Northern Authors on the BBC's North of England Home Service region. [57] Nothing came of this, but seven years later he was commissioned by the BBC to write a new four-part Quatermass serial, based in a dystopian near future world overrun with crime, apathy, martial law and youth cults. "[7] Quatermass and the Pit was Kneale's final credited film work; 1979's The Quatermass Conclusion was only released to cinemas in overseas markets after having been made for television in the UK,[58] and he had his name removed from the credits of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). [98] He was also responsible for a painting of a lobster from which special effects designers Bernard Wilkie and Jack Kine drew their inspiration for the Martian creatures they constructed for the original television version of Quatermass and the Pit. “Christmas Eve with my mum and dad. "I didn't want to go on repeating because Professor Quatermass had already saved the world from ultimate destruction three times, and that seemed to me to be quite enough," he said in 1986. [7] The book sufficiently impressed the writer Elizabeth Bowen that she wrote a foreword for it,[7] and in 1950 the collection won the Somerset Maugham Award. In 1968's The Year of the Sex Olympics, Kneale, a pioneering writer of TV drama who died this week, ingeniously predicted the future of lowest-common-denominator TV. [70] Tying in with the series, Kneale returned to prose fiction when he wrote his only full-length novel, Quatermass, a novelisation of the serial. [33], The Creature—an original script by Kneale concerning the legend of the abominable snowman—was his next collaboration with Cartier, broadcast on 30 January 1955,[30] followed by an adaptation of Peter Ustinov's play The Moment of Truth (10 March 1955),[30] before Kneale was commissioned to write Quatermass II. [4], Kerr became a successful children's writer, with the Mog series of books[31] and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which was based on her own experiences of fleeing Nazi Germany in her youth. Live on the Night: The Story of Live TV Drama. Referring to The Woman in Black adaptation, the writer and critic Kim Newman noted that: "He was very offended at the notion of Susan Hill using the name of Kipps from HG Wells as the hero of The Woman in Black, and so he decided not to use it and to change the hero's name to Kidd. [11] He also had further short stories published in magazines such as Argosy and The Strand. [6] This was an assignment that surprised his agent; "We didn't think he'd want to bother with them but he did. [59] Kneale did his first work for the ITV network during this time, writing one-off play The Crunch for the ATV company in 1964.[60]. Kneale was invited to write for the successful American science-fiction series The X-Files (1993–2002), but declined the offer. The same year saw the formation of the ... Roy Ward Baker, 1967), easily the best film adaptation of his television work thanks to his own script and a decent budget. 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