Out of the Unkown
The Chopper

Join us for a very special table reading of one of Nigel Kneale’s most coveted lost dramas, The Chopper, made as part of the BBC’s sci-fi anthology drama series Out of the Unknown. A mechanic who converts motorbikes into custom choppers finds that his latest assignment is haunted by the bike’s last owner.

The cast will be as follows:

Jimmy: Matthew Waterhouse

Chaser: Tom Hillenbrand

Sandie: Madelyn Smedley

Molloy: Richard Holliss

Lorna: Brenda Joyce

Stage Directions: Miles Eady

Out of the Unknown
In 1962 the ITV company ABC aired a science fiction anthology series, Out of This World. It was a high-profile production and was well received. Two years later, the creative force behind the series, Sydney Newman, became head of the BBC’s fledgling drama department, which was facing a 40% increase in output due to the creation of a new channel, BBC2. Pressed for ideas, Newman returned to the concept of an anthology series of science fiction and fantasy plays.

The result was Out of the Unknown (BBC, 1965-71, 49 episodes), a mixture of original screenplays and adaptations of stories by distinguished authors including Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard, Ray Bradbury, Robert Sheckley and Frederick Pohl. Nigel Kneale, famous for writing the 1950s Quatermass adventures, also contributed a script, The Chopper, for the show’s fourth and final season.
Anthony Clark, BFI Screenonline,


The Abominable Snowman
Mon 28 Mar 20:50; Sat 23 Apr 14:50
Wuthering Heights
Sat 2 Apr 15:10
Missing Believed Wiped: Out of the Unknown: The Chopper
Sun 3 Apr 18:00
Nineteen Eighty-Four + Panel Discussion: Nineteen Eighty-Four and the legacy of Nigel Kneale
Mon 4 Apr 18:30
Seniors Free Matinee: Quatermass and the Pit + discussion
Mon 11 Apr 14:00
The Year of the Sex Olympics
Tue 12 Apr 18:10
First Men in the Moon
Fri 15 Apr 14:30; Wed 27 Apr 20:50
The Woman in Black
Sun 24 Apr 14:40

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email