Nigel Kneale

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    I come in praise of Nigel Kneale, who has just died aged 84.

    Guy was a genius, pure and simple. One of the very best SF/horror writers ever. He was doing intelligent SF on British telly in the 50s with Quatermass and the 1984 adaptation when there was no market for it, and even less visual effects.

    I remember an interview in which he recalled the BBC’s attitude to him back then; everything was too much trouble for them, and he was more or less told to do the visual effects climax of the Quatermass Experiment by himself. For the ending, involving the colossal monster threatening London, he had to don gloves covered in rotting vegetables and dangle them through holes in a photo of Westminster Abbey. That’s dedication for you!

    I wasn’t sure whether to stick this in the main Who forum. Look at some of the Who stories influenced by Quatermass:

    Seeds of Doom

    Spearhead From Space

    Aliens of London

    Ark In Space

    The Daemons.

    The good Prof even gets a mention in Remembrance of the Daleks.

    What a pity Nigel didn’t want to write for Dr Who. He would’ve written a classic if he’d put his mind to it, but the series just wasn’t his bag, it seems. But his influence on Who remains palpable; the earthbound Pertwee era might have been very different without the precedent set by Quatermass…



    A true pioneer – he will be sorely missed

    Regards and peace Mr Kneale

    John M



    I’ve pulled together quotes from various Mark Gatiss-written tributes in a new news item solely concerning the loss of Nigel Kneale[/url:29dj2kt3]

    Hopefully the South Bank Show will think again…



    There was a decent documentary on him a few years back, I think for BBC’s Timeshift series, which appears on the DVD of the old B&W Quatermas BBC stories as an extra. It showed him and Mrs Kneale in their kitchen and in their dotage, displaying the original gloves used for the monster effect in Quatermass Experiment!

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