Tag Archive: h g wells


The First Men in the Moon – review

wow! how good was that? Mark Gatiss has long been one of my favourite comic actors, ever since he burst into the mainstream consciousness with the League of Gentlemen. his dedication to the sci-fi genre is well documented, with him being the author of several Doctor Who books in the 90s, but his CV has been well enhanced in recent years with writing credits on the Sherlock Holmes remake, The Quatermass Experiment, the new series of Doctor Who and his History of Horror trilogy, currently showing on BBC4. Gatiss has proven his credentials as a connoisseur of the peculiar, and this didn’t disappoint.

as you might or might not know, i’m a big fan of sci-fi, and i’ve recently started to check out a few of the old sci-fi classics. while i’ve worked my way through The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, The First Men in the Moon is not one i’ve got round to reading yet. that wasn’t going to stop me tuning in for this show though, and from the start we were introduced to the eccentric british gent that we’ve seen Gatiss performing before in previous shows. Gatiss plays that slightly twee and offkey character so well, and his part as Doctor Cavor has a charming air of buffoonery, not least as he frequently proclaims that he and his fellow adventurer Mr Bedford (played by Rory Kinnear) will be absolutely fine… probably.

the low budget for this gives the adaptation that distinctive lo-fi BBC feel, but that doesn’t detract from the piece, as it’s for precisely these kind of productions that BBC4 gets its good reputation. as well as Gatiss’s usual excellent performance, his script contains no mean amount of humour, delivered excellently as he proclaims the moon to be some kind of desolate outpost, like Wales.

i’ve always been fascinated by the novels of HG Wells and his early brand of science fiction. it always delivers that curious mixture of modern science fiction ideas before their time coupled with edwardian Britain. it’s clear where much of the modern steampunk genre takes its influence from, and yet many of these ideas are contained within damning allegories of imperialist rule and human society at the turn of the 20th century. this adaptation plays on that splendidly as intrepid scientist and explorer, Cavor, battles against his businessman companion, Bedford, who appears determined to seek some kind of advantage from his visit to the Moon, whether it be in the form of requisitioning treasures or returning with guns to conquer the civilisation they discover. it finished on a sad note, with no little amount of pathos in Gatiss’s familiar acting style.

as i’ve already mentioned, i’ve yet to read the original novel myself, but i’d love to hear from anyone familiar with it who watched the adaptation, with your views on how successful you thought it was. i’m going to chalk it up as another success for Gatiss and his ever increasing pedigree in all things weird. good job BBC4 and more like this please! by the way, don’t miss The Quatermass Experiment (original film version) on BBC4 tomorrow at 10.45pm!

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The First Men in the Moon

just a quick heads up that a new BBC production of The First Men in the Moon is going to be televised tomorrow! the TV adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel has been written by self confessed sci-fi geek Mark Gatiss and should be worth a look, if it follows the Gatiss trend of turning out great television, with his recent series, A History of Horror and the remake of 1950s classic, The Quatermass Experiment. Gatiss takes a leading role in this remake, along with fellow League of Gentlemen stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton who will be playing the Moon and Sun respectively! (should be interesting seeing how that works out…) fingers crossed, this is going to be a faithful adaptation of the original novel, and another show to add to Gatiss’s growing reputation as a sci-fi/fantasy afficionado.

it should be appearing on BBC4 tomorrow night (that’s Tuesday 19th October) at 9pm, though as with most of my televisual viewing, i suspect i’ll be catching it on iPlayer at a later date. possible blog to come when i’ve watched it. let me know if anyone who reads this manages to see it!