e a m harris

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Archive for the tag “60th anniversary”

Happy birthday Quatermass

Today is the 60th anniversary of the BBC sci-fi series, Quatermass, which ran intermittently from 1953 to 1979.

It was not only about an experiment, but was one – a British written for TV sci-fi aimed at adults rather than children.973445

It was very popular and had lasting influence – there was a remake as recently at 2005.

As a sci-fi fan I regret that I’ve never seen it. I think the original would seem a little quaint by now, but the later serials and remakes are more modern and hopefully, around this anniversary, they will be available in some form.

It’s fitting that this anniversary falls in the same year as the 50th anniversary of Dr Who. Without the success of Quatermass would we have the Doctor?

Cover art from Goodreads.


More anniversaries

Browsing through various websites I’ve come across a couple of literary anniversaries that might interest or amuse.

The first is Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap which has been celebrating its 60th anniversary for some months with a touring production. Its true anniversary is in November for which there is a special ‘star-studded’ performance.

I was interested to see in the Guardian archives that it had at least one bad review. Yet it’s still going strong, while the reviewer is probably long since retired.

Why is it so popular? Of course, it has become an institution; a must-see for visitors to London. But in order to get to that position it had to run for a good many years.

Despite so-so reviews, it attracted audiences from the beginning. It gives them something that some reviewers apparently miss. It has suspense, a good many laughs, distinct, if not very realistic, characters, and a strong structure moving swiftly to an unexpected climax. I think all these things give the audience a lift if not a catharsis.

The other anniversary I came across is the 80th of National Book Tokens.

The invention of this easy but happily received present should get a large pat on the back. How many aunts, uncles and grandparents, stuck for a gift, have joyfully sent off book tokens for birthdays and other gifty celebrations?

Other tokens have followed, but I think book tokens were probably first.

I remember the first time I received one when I was very young. After my mother explained what it was, I was thrilled at the idea of being able to choose my own book without having to save pocket money to do it. I can’t remember what I chose, but I do recall it took me weeks to do it: going into bookshops, browsing, hovering between this story and that, then going out again to think it over.

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