Created by scriptwriter Jack Gerson, 'The Omega Factor' was a 10 episode series produced by BBC Scotland that told of journalist Tom Crane (James Hazeldine also star of Chocky and The Last Train) and his involvement in Department 7, a shadowy government agency (is there any other kind?) concerned with psychic phenomena. Also employed by the agency are, Jameson's, Dr. Anne Reynolds and Dr Roy Martindale (John Carlisle) the driven and unscrupulous department head.
Cyril Luckham who will be familiar to some readers as 'The White Guardian' in the Tom Baker era Doctor Who storyline 'The Key To Time'. The rather aggressive, slightly unlikeable and, where Ann is concerned, inappropriately attentive Crane is encouraged to join the organisation both to hunt for Drexel and to explore his own nascent psychic abilities. Once involved he slowly comes to realise that there is a larger conspiracy at work, the Omega of the title, and that his own organisation may not be completely innocent.
obituary in Scottish newspaper 'Herald Scotland', delighted Gerson.
The series boasted some fairly high production values and some nicely creepy and unpleasant moments. It was definitely made with an adult audience in mind and this is reflected in the behaviour of the characters but also in things like the fabulous diegetic music choices. It is also very much of it's time in terms of things like Crane's (and Martindale's for that matter) behaviour towards Anne.
I've seen this series at various times compared to both 'Sapphire and Steel' and also 'The X-Files' but it rarely achieves the sublime craziness of the former and my knowledge of the latter is really too limited to accurately compare but on the surface it seems a fair comparison.
The series has recently been revived by audio maestros 'Big Finish' who have produced an audiobook of Gerson's novelisaton of the series and who have issued several series of new episodes starring Louise Jameson (whose Dr Anne Reynolds is now in charge of Department 7) and John Dorney (as Crane's son, Adam) which will hopefully raise the profile of the original.
You can also buy the series here - The Omega Factor - The Complete BBC Series [DVD]
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