Bill Masen wakes in his hospital bed, eyes bandaged. Something
is wrong, it's unusually quiet and no one has come to his
room. When he removes his bandages he finds a world that has
changed utterly. Most of the population are completely blind
- only those who didn't watch the meteor shower in the the
previous night sky can still see. And as law and order break
down, a new menace appears - triffids, walking carnivorous
plants that can kill a human with their lethal sting. For
Bill and the other survivors, it's now a battle to stay alive...
broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between June and July 1968, this
radio play version of John Wyndham's classic book has aged
like a fine wine. Spread
of six 30 minute episodes, The Day of the Triffids
tells the story of a triffid expert called, Bill Masen, who
is one of the very few people to still be able to see them.
very species that is preying on mankind is responsible for
saving Masen's life - a young triffid stung him which left
him in hospital with his head covered in bandages on the night
that the meteor shower, that caused world wide blindness to
all those who witnessed it, is putting on a spectacular but
lethal display across the globe. The first episode builds
the back story up well and concludes not long after Masen
wakes up in his hospital bed.
resulting chaos sees various groups rising up from the mess
and vying for supremacy - including the seeing (who wish to
live away from the blind, because they are a hindrance to
their survival) and the blind (who want to imprison the seeing
to use them like guide dogs). Masen was originally in the
first category of survivors but, after being kidnapped, he
is suddenly forced to act as the eyes for a group of blind
radio play is incredibly atmospheric and frighteningly real
in places. The panic attacks, as the first victims realise
that they are blind, are totally believable, as is the frightening
way that law and order breaks down literally overnight. As
Masen points out, a new class system is born from the disaster.
The rich (or the sighted) and the poor (the blind). In fact
the triffids don't really pose that much of a threat, or feature
did have one nit-pick. One of the sighted groups that Masen
joins talks about repopulating the planet. Their leader claims
that they can accommodate a number of blind women as they
will give birth to sighted children, but that they can't afford
to have any blind men. Surely the men could also father sighted
children (the blindness is only caused because their retinas
have been burnt beyond use, and is not a genetic fault). If
they want to repopulate the planet quicker surely finding
room for a few extra men would be helpful.
an added bonus there are a number of deleted scenes at the
end of disc three and some interesting sleeve notes by Andrew
of the best radio plays I've heard in a long time - even more
impressive when you consider it was made in 1968.
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