THE UNINVITED

Review By Paul Mount, 3.5 out of 5 Back in the mid-1990s THE X FILES was the hottest ticket on the box. Ratings were huge in America and even in the UK the normally SF-resistant TV audience couldn’t resist the conspiracy-based supernatural antics of Mulder and Scully. Wouldn’t it be good, thought drooling British Tv executives, if we could come up with our own version of THE X FILES? Hmmm?ood idea! THE UNINVITED, a four-part drama broadcast at the tail end of 1997 on ITV, was one of the first fruits of this thinking. THE UNINVITED ran for one four-part series. THE X FILES ran for nine years and nearly two hundred episodes. Back to the drawing board, British TV man!

That’s not to say that THE UNINVITED isn’t any good. Just six years down the line and British TV has gone right down the drain and drama of any sort, let alone sci-fi stuff, is rarer than a very rare thing. THE UNINVITED is a tense, rather chilling little conspiracy drama with its roots stretching right back to the 1950s and the overcoat adventures of Bernard Quatermass and the British Rocket group (ask your grandparents). Photo journalist Steve Blake (the underrated Hodge) sees a car crash off the road at dead of night. He’s a bit surprised to find the driver alive and well the next day. Further bizarre resurrections lead Blake to the drowned village of Sweethope and the massive computer software corporation Zentex. He eventually uncovers the unbelievable truth; yes, the aliens are out there and they’re infiltrating British society in a subtle invasion.

There’s nothing new here, of course. This is very traditional, solid ITV drama fare. But the INVASION OF THE BODYSNATCHERS story is always worth a look and this one is creepy and threatening and the blank-eyed humanoid aliens who are susceptible to LEAGUE OF GENTLEMAN-style nosebleeds when one of their number is under attack are eerie and disturbing. The ending’s a bit of a cop-out, there’s not really enough story for 200 minutes but it’s a nice try and we really could do with a bit more of this kind of thing on British TV. Leslie Grantham (who co-created the series, apparently) has never been better and Hodge is an excellent, lively male lead. Cheapie DVD company Prism have slipped this one out for around a fiver (less if you surf) and if you haven’t seen it it’s worth a look. Now then, Prism, there’s a couple of other ITV dramas from the 90s I wouldn’t mind seeing again. Any chance of Steve Gallagher’s OKTOBER or the interesting apocalypse drama THE LAST TRAIN? (Memo to BBC: Please don’t ?ever ?release INVASION:EARTH on DVD. I couldn’t face watching that again, not even in the line of scifind duty)

THE DISC: Considering that Prism have jammed 200 minutes of telly onto one disc (four episodes combined into two hundred minute compilations) picture quality is bright and acceptable, if a bit grainy sometimes. Extras? Come on, this costs a fiver?hat do you think??

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