by Nick Cooper © 1990
During private research in recent years, I have acquired a wealth of material about many telefantasy series/plays that is not widely accessible to fans today. Time Screen, for example, listed 22 serials, 13 series, and 26 single plays in its guide to the BBC Archives alone, yet the coverage of these programmes in that publication is limited to original articles and the reprinting of photos. The Dr Who items from the Radio Times have been reprinted ad nauseum, but what of the rest?
An early attempt at reprinting was the Adam Adamant Lives! cover/article in #11. It wasn't 100% successful, mainly due to the reprints having been photocopied for the masters. This time we're trying something different - albeit expensive - which should work better even on the photocopied pages. Here, then, is the first in a new series of attempts to reprint this research - the original Radio Times listing/article and subsequent press reviews of the 1965 Wednesday Play, Campaign for One (transmitted 03/03/65) no longer exists in the Archives.
Next issue: The Girl Who Loved Robots
The Guardian 04/03/65
CAMPAIGN FOR ONE on BBC Television
by Mary Crozier
THE drama of a man orbiting in space has at least the quality peculiar to television that it can all be shown on the screen which in itself provides the enclosed small world of the capsule. This kind of play is therefore essentially a television play in contemporary terms and cannot be suspected of any hangover from the stage. The situation is one that basically has, of course, been a highly dramatic form of reality since astronauts have been in orbit on television.
BBC-1's play last night "Campaign for One" developed on this basis an alarming variation, in which the astronaut on a ten-day project became thoroughly unco-operative and wrecked all calculations. Whether the tensions and the strains of the struggle between the man to the capsule and the team trying to control him from earth, could strongly affect the viewer depended very much on individual response.
That there was a moral implication, the resentment at being used as a guinea-pig, made the plot rather more credible, and so too did the healthier human and angry arguments about whether psychiatry ought not to have discovered psychiatric signs that the man was under strain because his wife had left him. A great many points like this showed up the gulf that may yawn between the man trained to be a machine and the men who have trained him.
The Times 04/03/65
TECHNOLOGY AND SUSPENSE
In Campaign for One, the Wednesday Play on B.B.C. 1 last night. Miss Marielaine Douglas and Mr. Anthony Church have written a piece of science fiction with numerous extra-scientific overtones. As is usual in this genre, technology and suspense were more profitable than the human problems involved in them.
When an astronaut in orbit discovers that the radio-controlled equipment which can bring him to earth has been damaged deliberately in order to test his ability to repair it, he refuses to use his own controls in order to return. Talking indefatigably by radio he reveals scientific secrets that are heard throughout the world as knowledge of a breakdown in arrangements leaks out. Should he and his spacecraft be destroyed by a rocket, or can the psychologists talk him into a proper frame of mind?
Apparently the authors are among those who believe that psychology consists of the extremely obvious stated with abnormal intensity and the jargon of astronauts and technologists seemed more intelligible and more pertinent than the psychologist's triumphant but tragically ineffective efforts to cure the hero's obduracy.
The interest of such a play, of course, is not its characterisation, and most of its considerable cast remained flatly anonymous. Mr. Jeremy Kemp, the hero's friend power-less to help him, accurately expressed the obvious responses. Mr. Barry Foster, almost completely hidden in a space suit, managed to be considerably more real than the urgently active people down below him.
The Listener 25/03/65
Television - Drama and light entertainment
BY FREDERICK LAWS
I AM TEMPTED to borrow from art criticism one of its most annoying phrases to describe the condition of television drama. Out of half-a-dozen plays seen in the last three weeks not one has been a complete, satisfying whole; but everyone, may Ruskin and Berenson preserve us, has contained exceedingly 'interesting passages' - a good idea half-worked out, a slice of character acting, a patch of visual invention as in good film-cutting, a scene of genuine dialogue.
The most rewarding and cohesive effort was Campaign for One (BBC-1. March 3) by Marielaine Douglas and Anthony Church, in which we saw Barry Foster as a British astronaut prophetically leave and return to his capsule. The point of the play, however, was that the scientists controlling him had played tricks on the hero to test for possible accidents without knowing that he had gone into orbit angry with an unfaithful wife and in no mood to be a guinea-pig. The sulks and fury of the experimental man who chose not to come down were cleanly developed, and so was the anxiety and anger of his mate on earth, played by Jeremy Kemp. Psychologists and Journalists were made believable - a rare feat - and we could have accepted an anti-climactic return to earth of the victim. His capsule was destroyed by missile after he had been talked into returning, and this was done because he had audibly rebelled on cosmic television and might just be giving information to the other side in the cold war. The explosion and death were probably right in political logic; dramatically I thought they exaggerated.