The First Men in the Moon

The ubiquitous Mark Gatiss, not satisfied with working on Doctor Who, Sherlock, a documentary on horror movies, and probably sixteen other projects, has now produced something which looks like it’ll be a thing of wonder.

He’s adapted one of H G Wells’s less well-known books, The First Men in the Moon, which I read many years ago. It involves the usual kind of lone scientist (as seen in The Time Machine) who discovers or invents a substance that effectively negates gravity, and uses it to produce a capsule that takes him and a companion to the Moon. The Moon turns out to have a breathable atmosphere and intelligent inhabitants, which is a little different from our current understanding of it, but that doesn’t stop it being a great story.

Not content with writing it, he’s also starring as Professor Cavor, and he’ll be joined by Rory Kinnear.

There was a film made in 1964, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen, though it’s quite possible I’ve just forgotten about it. That adds a framing narrative involving the first moon landing mission finding a British flag, which leads to the story being told. Gatiss apparently will be using something similar to lead in, but otherwise he’s promising to stick quite closely to the book, which should be interesting at the very least.

The first showing is on BBC Four on Tuesday 19 October at 9pm. There’s a second showing at 12:30am, which will also be on the BBC HD Channel. Repeats are likely, and a further showing on BBC 1 or BBC 2 doesn’t seem too unlikely. Set your recording devices now!