Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Favorite Heroes: Bernard Quatermass

From Wikipedia:
Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional character, originally created by the writer Nigel Kneale for BBC Television. Quatermass appeared in three influential BBC science fiction serials of the 1950s, and returned in a final serial for Thames Television in 1979. A remake of the first serial appeared on BBC Four in 2005.

The character also appeared in films, on the radio and in print over a fifty-year period. Kneale picked the character's unusual surname from a London telephone directory, while the first name was in honour of the astronomer Bernard Lovell. Quatermass is an intelligent and highly moral British scientist, who continually finds himself confronting sinister alien forces that threaten to destroy humanity. In the initial three serials he is a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.

The character of Quatermass has been described by BBC News Online as Britain's first television hero, and by The Independent newspaper as "A brilliantly conceived and finely crafted creation... [He] remained a modern 'Mr Standfast', the one fixed point in an increasingly dreadful and ever-shifting universe." In 2005, an article in The Daily Telegraph suggested that "You can see a line running through him and many other British heroes. He shares elements with both Sherlock Holmes and Ellen MacArthur."
Many actors have portrayed the driven yet haunted scientist:

Reginald Tate, the first actor to portray Professor Bernard Quatermass, from The Quatermass Experiment (1953) (TV)

John Robinson in Quatermass II (1955) (TV)

André Morell, Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59) (TV)

Brian Donlevy, Quatermass Experiment (1955) & Quatermass II (also called Enemy from Space (see the clip up top) (films)

John Mills, Quatermass (1970) (TV)

- and many others.

Of them all, though, our personal favorite (and a top contender among Quatermass fans) is Andrew Keir in the Hammer version of Quatermass and the Pit (1967):

Professor Bernard Quatermass: The will to survive is an odd phenomenon. Roney, if we found out our own world was doomed, say by climatic changes, what would we do about it?

Dr. Mathew Roney: Nothing, just go on squabbling as usual.

Professor Bernard Quatermass: Yes, but what if we weren't men?

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