I have had the privilege of working on the DVD commentaries for the forthcoming BFI box set of Classic BBC sci-fi anthology series Out Of The Unknown. With about 8 weeks to turn things round and a minuscule budget, producer John Kelly and I managed to accrue a pretty decent roster of talent which I am delighted to be able to reveal now.

All commentaries moderated by me.

No Place Like Earth
With Mark Ward (Out Of The Unknown expert) and Dan Rebellato (playwright, lecturer and John Wyndham expert).

The Dead Past
With John Gorrie (director) and Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds).

Time In Advance
With Peter Sasdy (director), Wendy Gifford (Polly), Philip Voss (Police Officer) and Danvers Walker (Dan).

Sucker Bait
With Clive Endersby (Mark), Roger Croucher (Fawkes).

Some Lapse Of Time
With Roger Jenkins (director), John Glenister (PA), Jane Downs (Diana Harrow) and Delena Kidd (Dr Laura Denville).

The Midas Plague
With Peter Sasdy.

The Machine Stops
With Philip Saville (director), Kenneth Cavander (adaptor), Michael Imison (story editor).

Level 7
With Mordecai Roshwald (author), Michael Imison (story editor).

This Body Is Mine
With John Carson (Allen).

Welcome Home
With Moris Fahri (writer), Bernard Brown (Bowers Two).

The Man In My Head
With Peter Cregeen (director), Tom Chadbon (Brinson), Jeremy Davies (designer).

Some of the commentaries spend some time with one participant then switch over to another as it wasn’t always practical to get people at the same time: indeed Roshwald and Cavander (for example) live in the USA so we did them by Skype. Others we visited at home to minimise disruption to them. So some are a bit of a mix and match, but we wanted as many participants as possible.

We were asked to provide 7 commentaries. We aimed for 13 and managed, ultimately, to get 11 – over half of the available episodes. I’m very proud of what we did on a release originally planned to have no commentaries at all.


  1. Toby,
    Really looking forward to this release. Will be out soon so good luck with that.
    Some great archive material and hopefully we will get more archive ‘Who’ at some point for you to add your talents to.

  2. I have fond but terrified memories of ‘Out of the Unknown’ on ABC television here in Australia when I was a kid, and was delighted to hear of an official BBC release of all that exists (a shame, as with so many TV things, that not all of it does of course). It sounds as though you have done a brilliant job on the commentaries. It can’t be easy chasing up participants five decades on, let alone pinning them down to talk about shows which they may barely recall. But clearly there is still a lot of love out there for OotU, and I hope your contribution helps the DVD do well.

  3. It’s pleasing to know we’ll be hearing from so many creative minds behind this wonderful series – a gift for the ages. I’m privileged to have viewed ‘Out of the Unknown’ during its original broadcast in New Zealand (I can even remember some of the missing episodes!), and watching this upcoming DVD release will bring back so many memories of quality viewing time with my parents (OOTU was very much ‘Must See’ television in our household). I suspect some aspects won’t hold up so well (monochrome casting in a number of episodes, which also plagued ‘Dr Who’ at the time), but recall my mind being blown / expanded on a number of occasions, and hope this particular aspect will remain strong as I reacquaint myself with it.

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