When Daffodils Attack: The 1981’s Day of the Triffids come to Blu-Ray – Episode One

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Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Episode Four
Episode Five
Episode Six
The Blu Ray Package

Episode One

First Shown: Thursday, 10th September 1981 at 8.30 PM
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‘And if they could walk…’

When it come to world building there are two kinds of science fiction; worlds that begin like ours and then change, and worlds that are already alien to the viewer. The former is far easier to introduce to an audience; have a character or three introduce themselves as they go about various mundane tasks and then drop a spaceship on New York. The latter – the worlds that already different from our own and that are already somewhat alien to the viewer – are a little trickier to introduce. There are, of course, a number of ways to get around this difficulty and episode one of Day of the Triffids firmly embraces the easiest of these – it goes for the loosely contextualised data-dump.

Primarily set within the hospital room of our temporarily blinded protagonist, Bill Masen (played by John Duttine) rapidly moves the audience through both the general and his own personal history with the Triffids as he records his thoughts on the Triffids to tape for a friend’s future book. Masen, via a quick-fire set of vignettes shown to the viewer, shows us how the Triffid arrived from the behind the Iron Curtain and how, after a brief period of struggle with their aggressive, deadly nature, they became part of the energy apparatus of this alternative 1981. Riddled with the undercurrent of cold war tensions, illicit trading, untrustworthy Russians, and ambitious businessmen willing to embrace things they don’t truly understand, this sequence – above all others in this adaptation – is the thing that places this adaptation of Day of the Triffids in early 1980s Britain.

A second set of vignettes follows Masen’s own life, from an early facial sting from a juvenile Triffid that didn’t quite kill him to his later work as a botanist within the Triffids-industrial complex. It is this work – it’s self a slow story of destructive revenge against a species that almost ended his own young life – that ends with a second sting across the eye and that sends Masen, with his eyes swaddled in bandages, to the hospital bed he now occupies.

Interspersed with these two narratives the now hospitalised Masen is tended to by Dr. Soames (Jonathan Newth) and an assisting nurse (Cleo Sylvestre), both of whom are increasingly distracted by the bright flashes a novel meteor shower occurring in the skies above. Increasingly frustrated by his inability to see the spectacle, Masen attempts to sleep only to find that, when he awakens in the morning, the hospital is eerily quiet and the staff he expects to be there to aid him are all missing. After spending some time alone and, after weighing up the pros and cons of removing his eye bandages without the help and guidance of the medical staff, Masen unswaddles his face and leaves his room. Wandering in the now seemingly deserted hospital, Masen eventually finds the now-blind Dr. Soames on the cusp of panic as the doctor struggles to climb a hospital stairwell.

Having laid the groundwork for The Day of the Triffid’s new world, episode one ends with the Triffids, having overwhelmed the fencing and the remaining botanists of the Triffid farm, beginning their slow advance into the British countryside…

On To Episode Two.

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