Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Incredible Robert Baldick? Really?

This is a failed pilot that aired on the BBC in 1972. It stars Robert Hardy as Sir Robert Baldick - a name taken from a real person, who happened to die in 1972. So, it's a name culled from an obituary by writer Terry Nation.

So far as I know this is the only attempt at supernatural fiction by Nation, who is of course best known for creating the Daleks and thus boosting Doctor Who from obscure kids' show to global telly phenomenon. Given this, I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that Sir Robert likes to be addressed as 'Doctor' while he's solving weird mysteries with the aid of his loyal companions. It's also notable that he travels around in an unusual conveyance (in this case a private train, not a space-time machine).

A few things to look out for: the girl who's been 'killed' in the opening bit is clearly breathing; there are enough stick-on whiskers here to make a convincing Bigfoot video; and I think there's a neat bit of writing from old Terry, when the bluff squire realises he's been talking to mere servants as if they were actual people! Ah, those wacky Victorians.

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