A for Andromeda

From Academic Kids

A for Andromeda is the title of a 1961 British television drama series and novel by astronomer Fred Hoyle and TV producer John Elliot. It tells of a radio signal received from beyond our galaxy which is found to contain specifications for a new form of super computer as well as a program and data for the machine. "The machine" is built and turned on with unforeseen consequences.

Peter Halliday played Dr. John Fleming, the scientist responsible for constructing the supercomputer, and Julie Christie, in her first major role, played both the part of a genetically engineered human named Andromeda as well as a young lab assistant. Also appearing were Mary Morris as biologist Professor Madeleine Dawnay, Patricia Kneale as security officer Judy Adamson, Noel Johnson as civil servant J.M. Osborne, John Hollis as a shadowy corporate operative named Kaufman, and Esmond Knight as radio astronomer Ernst Reinhart.

Most of the series has been lost, and no complete recording of any episode exists, but the concluding act of the final episode has survived, as well as some clips from earlier episodes, and a clean version of the title sequence.

The following year, a sequel series, The Andromeda Breakthrough, was aired. Halliday, Morris, Johnson and Hollis each reprised their roles from the first series, but Christie was replaced by Susan Hampshire.

There is an analogue 1971 Italian television drama series, called A come Andromeda, that was based on the same subject. Among the interpreters there were Paola Pitagora and Luigi Vannucchi.

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