OBJECT Z (1965) – Directed by Daphne Shadwell and written by Christopher McMaster, this was one of the many six-episode science fiction serials from British television of the 1950s and 1960s. The Quatermass serials are among the best remembered of those programs but there were also items like The Trollenberg Terror, a serial later adapted into the B-Movie The Crawling Eye.
If you’ve seen any of the other British programs like this you’ll know what to expect and whether or not you’ll enjoy this one. Personally I find them fun AND fun-bad all at once so to me they’re more than worth watching.
The storyline in Object Z involves the sighting of a distant space object which, as it draws nearer to the Earth, is determined to be at least six miles long and made of either stone or metal. Soon it becomes clear that it is going to collide with the Earth.
The governments of the world begin to build shelters for the population in a race against time before news of the object leaks to the general population. Doctor Ramsay (Ralph Nossek), one of the astrologists who first caught sight of “Object Z” ultimately coordinates with the British Prime Minister John Chandos (Julian Somers) to share some bad news.
It turns out that if the object is made of stone there is a chance some on Earth may survive the impact but if it is made of metal then no one will survive. To avoid risking all life on Earth being wiped out the scientist convinces the PM that if all the resources of nations on both sides of the Cold War were pooled together then an enormous missile could destroy Object Z before it reaches our planet.
As the international effort is launched, the tale is told through the eyes of assorted scientists, politicians and media members. There is contradictory information about whether or not the entire series survives in the archives at the British Film Institute or if only the first episode has survived. That first episode runs 24 minutes and can be viewed online.
SPOILERS: According to reviews from people who claim to have seen the original serial, it turns out in the end that Object Z is part of a hoax plotted by Doctor Ramsay and other scientists around the world. Their motive is the overused notion that if there was a common threat then all of humanity would join together and wars would no longer break out.
Two things – first, Alan Moore is even less original than he already seemed to be and second, this illusory “peace” would have eventually gone away after the scientists pretended to have Earth’s missile destroy the object. Even sillier is the way they said the collision would occur within six weeks, following which we can assume all the nations of the Earth would have slipped back into their old ways anyhow.
The scientists even planted fake evidence at a nuclear incident to further their plan. Doctor Ramsay (and presumably others in on the hoax) went to prison in the end, but in a double-twist a new object is now sighted and really IS on a collision course with Earth, providing a down-beat finale.
OR, it may have just been sequel bait, because in 1966 a follow-up serial titled Object Z Returns was aired. It, too, was directed by Daphne Shadwell, ran six episodes and starred many of the same cast members from the previous year.
This time around there were THREE objects. They were determined to have been built by intelligent aliens and as they drew closer to the Earth they caused intense cold, starting a new Ice Age on our world. Doctor Ramsay was released from prison to try to deal with this new crisis and in the end a means of communicating with the aliens behind the three objects was discovered.
The intelligent aliens were informed of the damage they were causing and directed their creations away from the Earth and back out into space, ending the threat of a new Ice Age. Again, all that is according to people who claim to have seen the original episodes.
For fans of Are You Being Served, Trevor Bannister plays media vulture Peter Barry in Object Z.
FOR MORE FORGOTTEN TELEVISION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/forgotten-television/