Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Incredible Robert Baldick - Never Come Night

The Incredible Robert Baldick
Originally screened in 1972 as part of the BBCs Drama Playhouse series 'The Incredible Robert Baldick' marked the return to the BBC of Dalek creator Terry Nation after some 7 years working for the rival ITV network. Drama Playhouse was a series of one off pilots created to test the water for a possible series, it didn't happen here which is a real shame.

Robert Hardy plays the eponymous hero, an occult detective who travels around in a lavish, bulletproof locomotive called 'The Tsar'.  He, along with his assistants Thomas and Caleb (Julian Holloway and a magnificently bewhiskered John Rhys-Davies) is called in by the local bigwigs (James Cossins & Reginald Marsh) to investigate the latest in a series of brutal deaths at a desolate abbey.

John Rhys-Davies in The Incredible Robert Baldick
John Rhys-Davies and his
magnificent mutton chops
There are definite shades of Nigel Kneale in the story, of ancient horror inhabiting the stones of a place and the gothic glory of Hammer Studios is definitely brought to mind.  Hardy and the rest of the cast are all in fine form and the script is a solid and thoroughly enjoyable slice of gothic sci-fi of the sort that Doctor Who would explore to great effect a few years later under Philip Hinchcliffe's guidance, indeed Hardy's character is called Doctor by his assistants throughout.  As I said, a real shame this never made it to series but it's a great little taste of what might have been.



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