The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham

John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids, dram. Giles Cooper.

BBC Radio 4. 1968.

The content here is identical to the 1957 "Day of the Triffids" review page, but the cast lists are different. This was a new production using the same script.

Human civilisation is almost wiped out in a single night as a fantastic nocturnal spectacle of lights in the sky leaves almost everybody in the world blind. The survivors must not only group and organise but are faced with a new terror - a genetically engineered and highly aggressive predatory plant...

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes after being stung by a triffid (a carnivorous plants which were originally bred to produce a natural oil that would take over the fish oil market), misses what appears to be the most spectacular meteorite shower the world has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind....

Adapted by Giles Cooper in six parts from John Wyndham's classic 1951 novel, "The Day of the Triffids"

Theme music by David Cain of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Produced by John Powell

1) 'The End Begins' (Thursday 20th June 1968)

Elspeth brings in a tape recorder that she finally has hooked up to the generator and tells Bill and Josella that they're going to talk to it. They will say everything - for the 'history' - because they were in on it before it happened. It has to be done on tape, as Bill well knows, because the girl who will be transcribing it is blind. Bill first came across triffids when he was only nine-years-old....

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], Freda Dowie [Elspeth Cary], Barbara Shelley [Josella Playton], Ralph Truman [The Managing Director of the Arctic and European Fish-Oil Company], Garard Green [Umberto Palanguez], Michael Deacon [Bill as a 15-Year-Old Boy], Peter Pratt [Mr. Masen, Bill's Father], Peter Baldwin [Walter Lucknor, in Charge of Research at the Arctic and European Fish-Oil Company], Jan Edwards [Nurse at St. Merryn's Hospital, London], John Pullen [Radio Commentator], Rolf Lefebvre [The House Surgeon at St. Merryn's Hospital, London (blind)], Christopher Bidmead [Young Man (blind)], and Haydn Jones [Publican at 'The Alamein Arms', London (blind)].

30 minutes

2) 'A Light in the Night' (Thursday 27th June 1968)

Bill Mason had worked in a triffid oil production plant and became temporarily blinded when attacked by a triffid. At hospital, his eyes are to remain bandaged until the next morning so that they can heal. During the night, what appears to be a terrific meteor shower takes place and is visible to just about everyone on the planet. By the next morning, those who witnessed the meteor shower have become permanently blind. Bill removes his bandages and decides to venture out of hospital - to survive.

As he wanders the city streets, Bill comes across and rescues Josella from the clutches of a blind man who was using her as a seeing guide. The two decide to join forces for survival but first, they must find a place to stay as evening approaches on the first day after the disaster.

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], John Wyse [Old Blind Man], Anthony Jackson [Man (blind), Josella's Captor], and Barbara Shelley [Josella Playton].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

30 minutes

3) 'Conference and Confusion' (Thursday 4th July 1968)

During their first night together in London, Josella sees a searchlight coming from the University tower. Who could it be? Is it a beacon for those who can still see to gather to? When morning arrives, the two decide to investigate....

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], Barbara Shelley [Josella Playton], Peter Sallis [Jack Coker], Anthony Viccars [Colonel Jaques], Michael McClain [Michael Beadley, Committee Chairman], Freda Dowie [Elspeth Cary, the Official Recorder], Nigel Graham [Ivan Simpson], Marjorie Westbury [Miss Berr, a Nurse], Victor Lucas [Dr. E. H. Vorless, Professor of Sociology at the University], Hilda Kriseman [Miss Durrant], James McManus [Alf (blind) / First Man], Michael Deacon [Mac (blind) / 2nd Man], and Jan Edwards [Lucy (blind)].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

30 minutes

4) 'Dead End' (Thursday 11th July 1968)

After Bill and Josella agree to be part of Beadley's group (and, also, to marry), they are separated when captured by Coker's group. Bill is to be the eyes for a group of 52 blind people to forage for food and find accommodations while Josella has been sent to work with another group. Though Bill is handcuffed to Alf, one of the group's blind men, he must find a way to escape and find Josella as plague is running rampant through the city.

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], James McManus [Alf (blind)], Michael Deacon [Mac (blind)], Jan Edwards [Lucy (blind)], Ann Murray [Old Woman (blind)], Peter Sallis [Jack Coker], Hilda Kriseman [Miss Florence Durrant, the Group Co-ordinator at Tynsham Manor near Devizes, Wiltshire], John Pullen [Stephen Brennell, Group Head in Beaminster, Dorset], Rosalind Shanks [Vera Paul, Stephen's Girlfriend], and Wilfrid Carter [Sid Farrar, part of Stephen's Group].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

30 minutes

5) 'World Narrowing' (Thursday 18th July 1968)

While passing through a village just north of Southampton, Bill runs into Susan, an orphaned 9-year-old. Not wanting to leave her behind to fend for herself, Bill takes her with him in search of Josella. He remembers Josella mentioning a good place for them to go to escape the disease and other dangers in the city. It was for them to go to her friends' place in the South Downs, Sussex, where they have a lovely old farmhouse on the north side looking across to Pulborough. It's fairly high up on the hill and has a wind-pump for water and they make their own electricity. Hopefully, she's found her way there....

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], Jill Cary [Susan, an Orphaned 9-Year-Old], Barbara Shelley [Josella Playton], Freda Dowie [Mary Brent (blind)], David Brierley [Dennis Brent, Mary's Husband (blind)], and Margaret Robertson [Joyce Taylor, Mary's Sister (blind)].

30 minutes

6) 'Strategic Withdrawal' (Thursday 25th July 1968)

Now at the farm for four years, Bill has managed to build a perimeter fence around the farm to keep out the ever-increasing presence of triffids. He's been able to make the farm self-sufficient, but only just. But though they've been killing triffids by the hundreds, more and more arrive. Wondering what the future will hold for them, they are visited by Torrence, an official from a militant group in Brighton, along with two armed men. Torrence tells them of plans he has for their group and the farm, whether they like it or not....

With Gary Watson [Bill Masen], Barbara Shelley [Josella Playton], Jill Cary [14-Year-Old Susan], Freda Dowie [Elspeth Cary], David Brierley [Dennis Brent, Mary's Husband (blind)], Margaret Robertson [Joyce Taylor, Mary's Sister (blind)], Nigel Graham [Ivan Simpson, from Beadley's Group on the Isle of Wight], Haydn Jones [Mr. Torrence, Commander - South-East Region], Alexander John [Torrence's Subordinate 1], Leonard Fenton [Torrence's Subordinate2], and Hilda Kriseman [David, Bill and Josella's Young Son].

30 minutes


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