The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)

The granddaddy of all anthology shows: Rod Serling’s allegorical tales are still as powerful today as they were when they first aired over fifty years ago. It was sci-fi / fantasy in appearance, but was really dealing with contemporary concerns such as intolerance, McCarthyism, cold war paranoia and so on. And sometimes it just goes all-out to spook you.

The Year of the Sex Olympics (BBC, 1968)

This was a weird and wonderful satirical one-off TV play written by Nigel Kneale, the genius behind Quatermass (I could also have chosen Quatermass and the Pit, incidentally, as a brilliant piece of sci-fi-horror). The Year of the Sex Olympics is set in a dystopian future in which the population is kept in a state of docile laziness by perpetual exposure to willfully mindless entertainment. Our Fifteen Million Merits episode was heavily influenced by this.
 

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

    Hitchhiker's Guide (radio plays)

  • Don’t panic! The Hitchhiker’s saga continues with a full-cast dramatisation of Life, the Universe and Everything, the third book in Douglas Adams’s famous ‘trilogy in five parts’

    ‘The pitch here at Lord’s is blackened, lightly smoking down towards square leg – and two men have just materialised on a Chesterfield sofa...’

    And so the scene is set for the Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the phenomenon which began life as a BBC radio series and went on to spawn a bestselling series of novels. With this full-cast radio dramatisation, the Guide returns to its original medium with its original cast.

    Stranded on prehistoric Earth, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect find escape in the form of a time-travelling sofa. But as eleven homicidal, bat-wielding robots proceed to blow up Lord’s Cricket Ground, it seems that Arthur is far from Home and Dry. In fact, he is not even Home and Vigorously Towelling Himself Off. Soon he is on an explosive quest to save the Universe, equipped with only a rabbit bone, a worn dressing gown, and a spaceship which looks remarkably like an Italian bistro.

    Simon Jones returns as Arthur, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford, Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android. William Franklyn is the Book, the late Douglas Adams himself appears in the role of Agrajag, and guest stars include Richard Griffiths, Chris Langham, Joanna Lumley and Leslie Phillips.

    This extended CD edition features 20 minutes of material not heard on BBC Radio 4.

    Duration: 3 hrs 10 mins approx.

  • Buy the book


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams

I saw the BBC TV adaptation in the early 80s, then gobbled up all the books one-by-one. This was the perfect mix of Pythonesque humour and intergalactic road movie, fizzing with ideas and never taking itself remotely seriously.

On Writing

By Stephen King

One of the best books about writing I can think of. King wrote it while recuperating from an accident that almost killed him; it’s part-memoir, part-how-to guide: really practical, bullshit-free advice from a proper master. A big long pep talk that leaves you itching to hit the keyboard.

On Film-Making

By Alexander Mackendrick

A great companion piece to On Writing. Mackendrick directed Ealing comedies including The Man in the White Suit and The Ladykillers before crossing the Atlantic to make The Sweet Smell of Success. This book is a truly brilliant overview of the entire process of making films, from conception, to screenplay, to where to place the cameras – the whole shebang. Not enough people have heard of this book. But now you have, so you can run along and bloody well buy it.
 

  • Inside Black Mirror


  • Black Mirror is hands down the most relevant program of our time, if for no other reason than how often it can make you wonder if we’re all living in an episode of it.’ New York Times

    What becomes of humanity when it’s fed into the jaws of a hungry new digital machine? Discover the world of Black Mirror in this immersive, illustrated, oral history.

    This first official book logs the entire Black Mirror journey, from its origins in creator Charlie Brooker’s mind to its current status as one of the biggest cult TV shows to emerge from the UK. Alongside a collection of astonishing behind-the-scenes imagery and ephemera, Brooker and producer Annabel Jones will detail the creative genesis, inspiration and thought process behind each film for the first time, while key actors, directors and other creative talents relive their own involvement.

    ‘Brooker continues to solidify himself as one of the most creative writers in the medium. Even when the unfair creep of expectations rears up, Black Mirror and Brooker deliver.’ – The Hollywood Reporter

    Black Mirror: the future is already here, and it's terrifying’ - Telegraph

  • Buy the book

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