Just six episodes were made of Moonbase 3, centred on the Moon in the 21st century, in a European scientific research establishment. Welsh scientist David Caulder (Donald Houston) and his crew found plenty to keep themselves occupied, from technicians going loopy to behemoths. Ralph Bates, Fiona Gaunt and Barry Lowe also starred. The series has a stirring title theme, composed by the great Dudley Simpson. There's no mistaking this as being anything other than a BBC science fiction series, if you know what I mean! (tx 09/09/1973 to 14/10/1973)
This series by Crucial Films (co-written by Lenny Henry & Neil Gaiman) imagines the world of London Below, an Undergound system deadlier than Ken Livingstone's worst nightmare and populated by rodents, maniacs, Angels and Black Friars... Gary Bakewell and Laura Fraser were the stars, supported by Hywel Bennett, Clive Russell, Paterson Joseph and Peter Capaldi. tx: 12/09/96 - 17/10/96 BBC2.
The New Avengers
1976, ITV/TFI Paris
Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens revived The Avengers in 1976, enabled by co-production deals with IDTV Productions of Paris and Neilson-Ferns Productions of Toronto. Patrick MacNee recreated John Steed, with 'action' requirements fulfilled by Gareth Hunt as Mike Gambit, and 'glamour' provided by Joanna Lumley as Purdey. Two series of 13 episodes were made, the last four of which were set in Canada.
The Nightmare Man
If you know your telefantasy, you'll instantly spot the clues which signify this as a masterpiece: directed by Douglas Camfield, scripted by Robert Holmes, and featuring a top-rank cast that includes Celia Imrie, James Warwick, Maurice Roëves and Jonathan Newth. A slavering, monstrous creature runs loose on a remote Scottish island, killing the residents and emitting a dangerous radiation. Could the Child of Vodyanoi really be an extra-terrestrial? Or is the monster a poorly-kept military secret?
Edward Woodward, Barbara Kellerman and Robert Lang were the stars of this sci-fi political thriller, of which two series were shown in 1977 and 1978. At the time it seemed very futuristic, and imagined what life would be like in 1990 when the UK would fall under the rule of a tough and oppressive Home Office public control department (PCD). Woodward plays a journalist, Jim Kyle, who carries out a covert attack on the totalitarian regime. The series was created by Wilfred Greatorex and the zippy music composed by John Cameron. tx: 18/10/77 - 10/04/78 BBC2.
Out of the Unknown
1965 - 1971, BBC
A spooky BBC2 sci-fi anthology series, mixing new plays with adaptations of novels and short stories by the likes of Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, J.G.Ballard and E.M.Forster. Among the dramatists supplying original teleplays were Nigel Kneale, Brian Hayles, William Trevor and J.B.Priestley. These title sequences date from 1965 and 1969, designed by Bernard Lodge (who also created the original Dr Who titles), the latter being a colourised version of the original. The original theme tune was composed by Norman Kay.
Out of the Unknown
1965 - 1971, BBC
This new title sequence graced the fourth series, devised by Charles McGhie. The new theme tune was called "Lunar Landscape", composed by Roger Roger. There were 49 editions of Out of the Unknown, but with many programmes wiped during the early 1970s, only 20 have survived in their entirety, mostly from series one. Clips, audio recordings and tele-snaps exist for a handful of others.
The story of juvenile delinquent Raven (Phil Daniels), fresh out of borstal and assisting Professor Young (Michael Aldridge) on an archaeological dig as part of his rehabilitation programme. They're exploring a cave full of ancient symbols and want to stop the government from dumping nuclear waste in it. It seems Raven is the only one who can save the caves, thanks to 'strange powers' at his disposal. Patsy Rowlands and Tenniel Evans also star in this six-parter, which ran from 19/9/77-24/10/77.
Randall and Hopkirk Deceased
Charlie Higson's post-modern revival of the 1969 ITC series, starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer as Marty and Jeff, with Emilia Fox as Marty's fiancée, renamed Jeannie and blessed with the ability to kick-box. Like the original, this series features the cream of contemporary acting talent in guest roles. Episode one boasts Charles Dance and David Tennant, while Richard Todd, Wanda Ventham, Peter Bowles, Elizabeth Spriggs and Gareth Thomas pop up during series one. Not forgetting Tom Baker, who guests throughout as Marty's afterlife mentor Wyvern. The second clip is the BBC1 introduction to episode one, Drop Dead, on 18/03/2000.
Robin of Sherwood
1984 - 1986, ITV/HTV
There were three series of this gritty tea-time adventure series, 26 episodes in total, created by Richard Carpenter. Robin of Loxley was played in great earnest by Michael Praed, but after two series he left to guest star in Dynasty as the ill-fated Prince Michael of Moldovia. Jason Connery replaced him for the final 13 episodes, as Robert of Huntingdon. Unfortunately he was then at the depths of his acting prowess, but Ray Winstone, Judy Trott and Clive Mantle gave him strong support, while Nickolas Grace camped it up superbly as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Sapphire and Steel
1979 - 1982, ITV/ATV
The elements Sapphire (Joanna Lumley) and Steel (David McCallum) used their unearthly skills to solve dramas of a paranormal nature created by the darker and sinister elements, often involving time slips. Sapphire and Steel were frequently assisted by Silver (David Collings). Their fourth adventure, The Man Without A Face by P.J.Hammond (27/01/1981 - 05/02/1981) is the best in my view. Time manifests itself as a Shape in photographs, always the person facing away from camera. The Shape can travel from picture to picture and, in part three's cliffhanger, traps a girl in a photograph. Before Sapphire and Steel can rescue her he burns it. Her screams are shocking! The series was made erratically throughout the late 1970s, in groups of four- and six-part stories. Shaun O'Riordan produced and Cyril Ornadel composed the theme tune.
Shadows Of Fear
1970 - 1973, ITV/Thames © Fremantle Media
This Thames TV anthology series is well-remembered by genre fans, partially for its spine-tingling title sequence and theme tune, composed by Roger Webb, but mainly for its stellar cast. Michael Craig, Sheila Hancock, Gemma Jones, Victor Maddern, Elizabeth Sellars, George Cole, Margery Mason, Ian Bannen, Peter Barkworth and Edward Fox appear across the eleven episodes, penned by such luminaries as Richard Harris, Hugh Leonard and John Kershaw. The majority of the series was screened in 1971, with an initial outing in 1970 and the finale, The Party's Over, aired in January 1973.
1975, ITV/HTV West
The star of this eerie series was Marc Harrison, who was 17 at the time. He played an unidentified alien entity sent to Earth on an undisclosed mission. He befriended local teenagers who discovered him buried alive in the woods, the victim of earthly elements (the wind, the trees) trying to drive him away. He sought the Juganet - other websites will tell you why! The series was created by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and ran in seven episodes from 07/04/1975 to 19/5/1975. Sadly it is not complete in the archives.
1976, Portman Productions
Star Maidens was an Anglo-German production of 13 episodes, starring Dawn Addams as President Clara of the Grand Council of Medusa. It consisted of women in slinky costumes, subjugating and dominating the male population of Earth in the future. Apparently the German producers saw it as a sex comedy, while the English saw it as an intelligent sci-fi series that addressed gender reversal. This resulted in confusion... and one online reviewer says it was all of the following: ludicrous, ambitious, confused, infuriating, cack-handed, staggering, limited, inventive, cheap, hilarious, camp, sexy, lurid fun! Gareth Thomas, Derek Farr and Judy Geeson also starred.
The Stone Tape
A terror from the typewriter of Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, starring Michael Briant and Jane Asher as members of a scientific team who seek a new medium on which to record sound, and thus render magnetic tape obsolete. How could they know until too late, of course, that the very stones used to build their workplace have retained a terrifying supernatural recording from centuries ago? The soundtrack of bleeps combined with distorted slavering is enough to kick-start a coronary.
1975 - 1977, BBC
Terry Nation's drama is far more scary than Doomwatch, as the threat of global human extinction - via a deadly virus - is a chilling reality. Episode one is called The Fourth Horseman. The titles and music - by Anthony Isaacs - are among the most chilling and evocative I have seen.
Tales of the Unexpected
1979 - 1988, ITV/Anglia
Anthology series from Anglia TV, comprising stories of horror, suspense and black comedy, almost always with a twist-in-the-tail. Many were adapted from short stories by Roald Dahl, who introduced each story from a fireside for the first two series. The series was famous for the calibre of its guests stars and this one, The Vorpal Blade (28/05/1983) features Peter Cushing. Ron Grainer composed the fantastic theme music, having previously scored Maigret, Steptoe and Son and Dr Who.
A 26-part series about time travel, focussing on children Simon (Spencer Banks) and Liz (Cheryl Burfield), in which we view threads from different characters' lives at different points in time. All very confusing, so we need an introductory explanation from ITN science correspondent Peter Fairley at the top of the first episode. "Time of the Ice Box" part 6 (14/12/70) is the only surviving colour episode. Mystery surrounds the fate of the other colour masters - ITC records indicate they were destroyed in 1982 as unplayable, but people still hope that copies will surface.
The Tomorrow People
Finally, the The Tomorrow People, made by Thames to chill the spines of children across the UK. The title theme composer Dudley Simpson, of Dr Who and Blake's Seven fame, made a massive contribution to that thrill factor. The series followed the adventures of John, Stephen, Carol and Kenny, who are gifted with superpowers and are forerunners of a new breed of humanity. This serial, The Medusa Strain, dates from June 1973.
The Tomorrow People
1992 - 1995, ITV/Carnival Films
The revival series ran from 1992-95, with five new stories starring Kristian Schmid, of Neighbours fame, and guest stars of the calibre of Jean Marsh and Denise Coffey. This five-part story, The Culex Experiment, aired from 04/01/1994 - 01/02/1994.
The Year Of The Sex Olympics
This play was first seen on BBC2 within the Theatre 625 strand. Leonard Rossiter, Tony Vogel and Brian Cox star as elite TV executives in the far future, who are bored with the endless schedule of pornography they use to keep the lower classes docile. Seeking out a new entertainment format, they come up with a pilot in which a young couple are stranded on a remote island unaware that there's a murderer on the loose. Nigel Kneale's play is often cited as having anticipated the craze for reality television. tx: BBC2 29/07/1968.
Z for Zachariah
1984, BBC - Radio Times Trailer
Anthony Andrews and Pippa Hinchley starred in this film, shown on 28/02/1984 as part of BBC1's Play for Today strand. It was adapted by Anthony Garner from the 1973 novel of the same name, written by Robert O'Brien. Transferring the story from small-town USA to rural Wales, the film concerns a teenage girl who survives a nuclear disaster, because her family lives in a valley sheltered from fallout. Andrews played another survivor, the scientist John Loomis, and featured on the front of that week's Radio Times magazine. This trailer was aired a few days before the broadcast.