In the mid-1980s, there was a TV series that burrowed deep into my brain, leaving no trace of itself except the image of the machines themselves. I couldn’t tell you what The Tripods was about, or who was in it, or even when it was on, but I could probably draw the three-legged alien things.
Here’s the haunting title sequence.
And here’s where I remember that the show was aired on Saturday nights amongst an eclectic line up of other BBC shows.
That is such an odd way to do a Previously On sequence.
I think the reason the images from this show have stuck with me is because the first series was so hyped by the channel. It was meant to be about those giant tripods, but they didn’t feature that much in the episodes. Perhaps it was this item on Blue Peter, from the 17th September 1984, hosted by Sarah Greene, standing in for an absent Janet Ellis.
As you can see, it was being pushed as the next Doctor Who, but its rating soon dropped, and after a similarly disappointing second series, incoming head Michael Grade axed the show.
Press reports touted The Tripods as ‘the future of television science fiction and that it would be to the eighties what the now passé Daleks had been to the sixties’.
It didn’t help that the show was up against The A-Team over on ITV.