Quatermass and the Pit

This article is about the television serial. For the movie, see Quatermass and the Pit (film).

Quatermass and the Pit

The opening titles of Quatermass and the Pit

Created by
Nigel Kneale


André Morell
Cec Linder
Anthony Bushell
John Stratton
Christine Finn

Opening theme
“Mutations” composed by Trevor Duncan

Country of origin
United Kingdom

No. of episodes


Camera setup

Running time
Approx. 35 mins per episode


Original network

Picture format
405-line black-and-white

Original release
22 December 1958 (1958-12-22) – 26 January 1959


Preceded by
Quatermass II

Followed by

Quatermass and the Pit is a British television science-fiction serial transmitted live by BBC Television in December 1958 and January 1959. It was the third and last of the BBC’s Quatermass serials, although the chief character, Professor Bernard Quatermass, reappeared in a 1979 ITV production called Quatermass. Like its predecessors, Quatermass and the Pit was written by Nigel Kneale.
The serial continues the loose chronology of the Quatermass adventures. Workmen excavating a site in Knightsbridge, London, discover a strange skull and what at first appears to be an unexploded bomb. Quatermass and his newly appointed military superior at the British Experimental Rocket Group, Colonel Breen, become involved in the investigation when it becomes apparent that the object is an alien spacecraft. The ship and its contents have a powerful and malign influence over many of those who come in contact with it, including Quatermass. It becomes obvious to him that the aliens, probably from Mars, had been abducting pre-humans and modifying them to give them psychic abilities much like their own before returning them to Earth, a genetic legacy responsible for much of the war and strife in the world.
The serial has been cited as having influenced Stephen King[1] and the film director John Carpenter.[2] It featured in the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes compiled by the British Film Institute in 2000, which described it as “completely gripping”.[3]


1 Background
2 Plot
3 Cast
4 Production

4.1 Filming
4.2 Special effects
4.3 Music

5 Reception
6 Influence
7 Other media
8 Parodies
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links

The Quatermass Experiment (1953) and Quatermass II (1955), both written by Nigel Kneale, had been critical and popula