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Classic 60s science fiction series Out of the Unknown on DVD in October

14 October 2014

BBC Television’s Out of the Unknown, the classic anthology science fiction series – broadcast between 1965 and 1971 – was daring, ambitious and inventive, drawing from writers of the calibre of John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, JG Ballard, JB Priestley, Ray Bradbury, EM Forster and Troy Kennedy Martin.

On 27th October 2014, as part of Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, the BFI will release a comprehensive 7-disc DVD box set that brings together all 20 surviving episodes from the four original series, all digitally remastered from the best available materials.

Created by Irene Shubik (The Wednesday Play, Rumpole of the Bailey), Out of the Unknown employed the cream of British talent to bring a variety of often chilling, sometimes darkly comic, and always thought-provoking science fiction tales to the small screen. Dramatists such as JB Priestley and Leon Griffiths, directors such as Philip Saville and Rudolph Cartier, visionary designers such as Ridley Scott, and actors of the calibre of Yvonne Mitchell, George Cole, Milo O’Shea and David Hemmings were brought together to produce one of the most prestigious science fiction series ever made.

When plans to release this classic TV series for the very first time were originally announced, the BFI was inundated with letters and e-mails from private collectors and die-hard fans, all of whom generously offered their invaluable help. Collectively, they have ensured that the contents of this long-overdue release are as thorough and exciting as possible. The impressive range of extra features (produced by ‘professional fans’ in collaboration with the BFI) includes 4 episode reconstructions, an incomplete episode, 11 audio commentaries, extensive stills galleries, an interview with director James Cellan Jones, and a newly-created 42-minute documentary featuring interviews with original cast and crew members as well as rarely-seen clips from lost episodes.

To celebrate the DVD release of Out of the Unknown and Out of this World (to follow in December), BFI Southbank will host a special screening of one episode from each, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A featuring author Mark Ward, director John Gorrie and SFX sound engineer Brian Hodgson. Tickets are on sale now at www.bfi.org.uk/whatson.

Out of the Unknown will be released on UK DVD on 27th October 2014 by the BFI as part of their Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season at the RRP of £69.99.

The set will feature all 20 surviving episodes from series 1 to 4, each with digitally remastered picture and sound, and will include the following extra features:

  • Return of the Unknown (2014, 42 minutes): exclusive documentary, featuring interviews with cast and crew, as well as rare clips

  • 11 audio commentaries with cast and crew, including Philip Saville, John Glenister, Wendy Gifford, Peter Sasdy and John Gorrie, moderated by actor-comedian Toby Hadoke

  • An Interview with James Cellan Jones (2014, 16 minutes): the legendary TV director discusses his career and approach to filmmaking

  • Episode reconstructions for Beach Head, The Naked Sun, The Yellow Pill, and The Uninvited

  • Film insert from Deathday episode

  • Seven extensive stills galleries

  • 44-page illustrated booklet with essays by Out of the Unknown expert Mark Ward and full episode credits