Mark Gatiss takes time out from exploring the history of Horror cinema to co-star in his own adaptation of H.G Wells’s classic novel as the eccentric Professor Cavor opposite Rory Kinnear as co-lunar explorer Bedford.
Both leads put in decent performances though Gatiss’s Cavor offers few surprises with a portrayal of the the mildly bonkers Sci-Fi professor which meets your every expectation of how he’d play the part.
I confess to not having read it for a while but the plot seems pretty faithful to the source novel, though Gatiss updates the start of the tale slightly to have a 90 year old Bedford recounting on the eve of the 1969 Moon landing how he’d been there 60 years before.
The special effects are largely fine and the moonscape sequences deserve singling out for praise but there are a few ropey moments which can probably be blamed on the smaller BBC Four budget. Adaptations of classic British novels such as this really deserve a decent budget and to celebrated front and centre on BBC One.
The scheduling of the show – apparently filmed last year – seems a little random and the updated opening suggests it would have benefitted from airing as part of last year’s 40th anniversary of the 1969 landing.
BBC Four, Tuesday 19th October at 9pm