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The Andromeda Breakthrough
BBC 1962
Cold Front
TX : 28th June 1962

Synopsis : When A For Andromeda was televised last autumn, an audience which grew at the rate of a million a week followed the strange story of physicist John Fleming and the huge, malevolent computer which he built according to instructions from outer space. Science-fiction addicts will remember that after the computer nearly caused the death of the girl-creature Andromeda whom it had virtually created in the laboratory, Fleming and Andromeda smashed it and were chased by security men to an island off the Scottish coast, where Andromeda fell into an underground pool and disappeared. Tonight, the end of A For Andromeda becomes the beginning of The Andromeda Breakthrough, the new BBC television serial in which Doctor Fleming and biochemist Madeleine Dawnay follow the trail of Andromeda to the Middle East, and discover the real force and meaning of the messages from space picked up by the computer. Again written by Professor Fred Hoyle and John Elliot (who is also the producer) the serial reintroduces a number of familiar characters - with Fleming and Madeleine Dawnay played by Peter Halliday and Mary Morris. New faces include Claude Farrell, a French actress who makjes her first BBC television appearance as the mysterious Mademoiselle Gamboule. Film commitments make it impossible for Julie Christie to play Andromeda again, so the part is taken by Susan Hampshire.


Notes :
Peter Halliday now seems to specialise in roles as a vicar. His recent dog collared parts include Dr Who (Remembrance of the Daleks), Canon Tufnell in the film The Remains Of The Day (1993), a returning character in the time travel comedy Goodnight Sweetheart, a vicar in Births, Marriages and Deaths and most recently as Father Hart in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: A Great Deliverance. His other notable genre TV credits include Dr Who (The Invasion, The Silurians (voice only), The Ambassadors Of Death (voice only) and Carnival Of The Monsters), The Avengers (Noon Doomsday), UFO (A Question of Priorities), The Sweeney (I Want The Man), Out Of The Unknown and The Tripods.


Gale Warning
TX : 5th July 1962

Synopsis : Fleming (Peter Halliday) and Andromeda (Susan Hampshire), in hiding in the Western Isles, are being hunted both by the British Government, who hold them responsible for the destruction of the super-computer built by Fleming from a design received from outer space, and by the Intel trading consortium, who are developing another computer in the newly-independent Middle Eastern country of Azaran.

Notes : Susan Hampshire was born in 1938 and made her film debut in 1947 with a role in The Woman In The Hall. She has won an Emmy award for best actress on three occassions for her roles in The Forsythe Saga, The First Churchills and Vanity Fair. Most recently seen portraying Molly MacDonald in the BBC 1 drama series The Monarch of the Glen. Hampshire is also a spokesperson for dyslexia causes. She received an OBE in 1995 in recognition of this work.


Azaran Forecast
TX : 12th July 1962

Synopsis : Troubles mount up and unexpected danger looms large as tonight's episode opens. The Intel trading organization have set up a supercomputer in the newly-independent Middle-Eastern state of Azaran, and have kidnapped biochemist Madeleine Dawnay (Mary Morris) and physicist Doctor John Fleming (Peter Halliday), together with the girl Andromeda (Susan Hampshire), to work for them. Already there are signs that something inexplicable is happening to the world's weather. And strange things seem to be happening to Andromeda as well.

Notes : Director John Knight also contributed towards episodes of The Avengers and Out Of This World. Actor Barry Linehan (1925-1996) also appeared in Crane, The Avengers (The Golden Fleece), Z Cars and The Tomorrow People (Worlds Away).


Storm Centres
TX : 19th July 1962

Synopsis : In the Middle Eastern republic of Azaran, a military coup has been launched by Colonel Salim (Barry Linehan), the strong man who has the backing of the Intel Consortium. The Intel representative, Mademoiselle Gamboule (Claude Farell), has been impelled to the computer by Andromeda (Susan Hampshire) who, although dying, is determined to work out the purpose of the message from space.

Notes : German born character actor Walter Gotell (1924-1997) is principally recognised for his role as General Gogol in the James Bond films. Gotell appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me upto The Living Daylights and had previously appeared as a different character in the Bond film From Russia With Love. Amongst his extensive TV credits are The Invisible Man (Shadow Bomb), Danger Man (The Leak and Under The Lake), The Sentimental Agent (Box of Tricks), The Saint (The Hi-Jackers), Redcap (A Regiment of the Line), The Champions (Operation Deep-Freeze), The Professionals (The Female Factor), The A Team, Knight Rider and The X Files (Paper Clip).


Hurricane
TX : 26th July 1962

Synopsis : The garish days of science fiction, when the genre was dominated by bug-eyed monsters engaged in galactic horse-operas, have been left far behind. Nowadays good `SF' demands genuine science and credible characters. The Andromeda Breakthrough, sequel to A For Andromeda, has both, and its principal male character, Fleming, the young scientist with a chip on his shoulder, is a completely authentic figure of our time. Peter Halliday, who plays Fleming, finds the character both demanding and satisfying - demanding because Halliday himself has no personal experience of the stresses imposed on the backroom boys. He comes from Montgomeryshire in mid-Wales and was brought up among farming people. Admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - rather to his own surprise - he went on to four years with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford and toured with them in Australia and New Zealand. "It was when I tried television that I started being cast as a "Young Angry," she says. "I was an angry young schoolmaster in The Common Room and an equally choleric young poet in The Woodcarver. But Fleming's far more than just a type. More facets to his character have appeared as the two series progressed - for example he's now much mellower than when he started. I have come to believe in him completely".


Notes : Actor Geoffrey Lewis later featured as Bishop Fisher in the BBC period drama The Six Wives of Henry VIII. David Saire would later star in the science fiction series Object Z Returns.


The Roman Peace
TX : 2nd August 1962

Synopsis :
The threat from space has now taken shape as an attempt to put an end to life in the world by stripping away the air people breathe. Slowly the earth's atmosphere is getting thinner. The scientists working on the Intel computer in Azaran have been struck by violent storms sweeping the world. Can they do anything to prevent imminent disaster? Andromeda is too weak to help; Kaufman holds such political power as remains; Fleming and Dawnay are only tenuously in touch with Britain through the Canadian, Professor Neilson. What will be the outcome of this exciting story which began with A For Andromeda many months ago? You can find out in tonight's final episode.


Notes : This last episode had a running time of 50 minutes compared to 45 minutes for all other episodes.



A sequel to the previous year's A For Andromeda which was again written by Fred Hoyle and John Elliott. With much more input from Elliott (he was also producer and co-director) the show took on much more of a political drama slant, an element which Elliott would explore further when working on The Troubleshooters.



Andromeda has survived her apparent suicidal fall and flees with Fleming, however her health is failing due to a genetic flaw. The world's weather is changing as a result of an enzyme which was released into the the sea. The enzyme absorbs nitrogen which in turn has lowered the air pressure. The world is being ravaged by hurricanes, tidal waves and is the oxygen levels are dropping...

In interviews before his death Hoyle stated that he felt the production was a near disater and expressed disatisfaction with the BBC's refusal to pay a £300 option payment to Julie Christie to retain her services for the sequel. Instead Christie was released and Susan Hampshire took the role of Andromeda.


Hoyle also felt that the political intrigue plot involving INTEL had been simply "filler" that he and Elliott wrote to pad the episodes out. The series was broadcast on Thursday evenings at 8pm, and whilst still moderately succesful, the programme failed to attain the high ratings and critical praise heaped upon the first production.
All episodes exist complete in the BBC archives and a video release had been mooted in the past, but nothing has ever materialised.

Text © Andrew Screen 2003

Characters
Portrayed By
THE SCIENTISTS
 
John Fleming
Peter Halliday
Andromeda
Susan Hampshire
Professor Madeline Dawnay
Mary Morris
Professor Neilson
Walter Gotell
Dr Geers
Geoffrey Lewis
AZARAN
 
Col Salim
Barry Linehan
Dr Abu Zeki
David Saire
Abu Zeki's assistant
Assad Obeid
The President
Arnold Yarrow
Nurse
Heather Emmanuel
Lemka
Jean Robinson
Lemka's Mother
Miki Iveria
INTEL
 
Kaufman
John Hollis
Mlle Gamboule
Claude Farrell
WHITEHALL
 
J M Osbourne
Noel Johnson
Burdett (The Defence Minister)
David King
The Prime Minister
Maurice Hedley
Osbourne's PA
Philip Latham

The series was written by John Elliott and Fred Hoyle
and Elliott was also the series producer. Series directors where John Elliott and John Knight

 
 
Please note synopsis are taken from the original Radio Times listings for the day of transmission.