Bernard Quatermass

Professor Bernard Quatermass was a British scientist.

Bernard may have worked alongside Dr Rachel Jensen and Allison Williams in the British Rocket Group in 1963. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) In May 1997, paranoid and full of bleak pessimism, he possibly was interviewed by Eve Waugh on television with Patrick Moore regarding the Mars 97 mission. (PROSE: The Dying Days)

UNIT scientific advisor Professor Malcolm Taylor named a unit of measurement after Bernard Quatermass. (TV: Planet of the Dead)

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Quatermass and the British Rocket Group had originally appeared as the protagonist of a series of four horror-science fiction television serials written by Nigel Kneale. The first three aired during the 1950s on the BBC; these were later adapted into film versions by Hammer Film Productions. The last serial, simply entitled Quatermass, aired on ITV in 1979. These would have great influence on Doctor Who serials such as The Web of Fear and Image of the Fendahl. The Lazarus Experiment, in its second half, all but remakes the climax of the end of the first Quatermass story.

For his part, the creator of Bernard Quatermass, Nigel Kneale, was on record as having hated Doctor Who. He refused to write for the programme when invited.

Quatermass also inspired Nightshade, a television serial in the Doctor Who universe.

On 2 April 2005, the BBC aired a live remake of The Quatermass Experiment, as the original does not survive in its entirety. Appearing in the serial were David Tennant and Indira Varma prior to their appearances as the Tenth Doctor and Suzie Costello, respectively. Mark Gatiss, longtime performer and writer of Doctor Who spin-off productions, scriptwriter for the new series and later a guest star in The Lazarus Experiment and other episodes, also appeared in the production.

In the Doctor Who universe[edit | edit source]

Whether Bernard Quatermass is a real person in the Doctor Who universe is very much a matter of opinion, though the British Rocket Group exists in it. Who Killed Kennedy mentions several "controversial orbital flights" in the 1950s which imply the events of the first Quatermass serial occurred in the Doctor's world as well.

At no point in any piece of Doctor Who fiction was any character referred to as "Professor Bernard Quatermass". In The Dying Days, a character is announced midway through a sentence as "-ermass". Subsequently "Professor" and "Bernard" are used to refer to him. In Remembrance of the Daleks, his last name is never uttered. And in Planet of the Dead, Malcolm Taylor speaks in such a way that he might refer to a fictional person.

In the Doctor Who universe, the Nightshade serials (PROSE: Nightshade) have many similarities to the Quatermass serials. One may assume that because Bernard Quatermass is real, Nightshade effectively replaces Quatermass in the Doctor Who Universe. It's also equally possible to believe that Nightshade is just a copy of the existing show, Quatermass, as there are many real life instances of two television programmes sharing multiple commonalities.

Seven different actors portrayed the character (including André Morell and Andrew Keir), with none considered "definitive". However Lance Parkin has said that he meant to visualised the elderly, nearly crazed John Mills version from the fourth and final Quatermass serial as the one who appeared in the Virgin New Adventures novel The Dying Days.

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