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December 11, 1976: The Day After Tomorrow

“Space Station Delta, the jump-off point for humanity’s first momentous journey to the stars. The light ship Altares, the first of its kind to harness the limitless power of the photon, particles of light which can boost the ship to 186,000 miles per second – the speed of light. This could create the effects predicted by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, effects that could shrink the very fabric of space, distort time, and perhaps alter the structure of the universe as we understand it – effects which no man has yet experienced. And you will share it!” [fanderson.org.uk]

The_Day_After_Tomorrow-1976The Day After Tomorrow (also known as Into Infinity in the United Kingdom) is a 1975 British science-fiction television drama produced by Gerry Anderson between the first and second series of Space: 1999. Written by Johnny Byrne and directed by Charles Crichton, it stars Brian Blessed, Joanna Dunham and Nick Tate and is narrated by Ed Bishop. The Day After Tomorrow first aired in December 1975 in the United States on NBC, as an episode of an occasional series of after school specials for children, Special Treat. In the UK, it was broadcast on BBC1 as a TV special in December 1976 and December 1977; 37 years later, in November 2014, a revised version was broadcast on BBC Four. The plot concerns the interstellar mission of Altares, a science vessel of the future that can travel at the speed of light. From its initial destination of Alpha Centauri, the ship pushes deeper into space; there, her crew of three adults and two children encounter such phenomena as a meteor shower, a red giant and, finally, a black hole, which pulls the ship into another universe.

Originally commissioned to create a child-friendly introduction to Albert Einstein’sTV-UK-05-04-1976 special relativity theory in the form of an exciting action-adventure, Anderson and Byrne conceived The Day After Tomorrow as a television pilot for a potential series and gave it an alternative episode title of “Into Infinity”. Ultimately, Anderson’s limited budget prevented additional episodes from being made.

Critical reception to The Day After Tomorrow remains mixed. The model effects and music have been praised; however, commentators have been both favourable and unfavourable in their comparisons of the special’s “psychedelic” images to the visual style employed by film director Stanley Kubrick. Although Byrne’s scriptwriting has been described as “lyrical”, and it has been suggested that The Day After Tomorrow contains homages to the 1960s TV series Lost in Space, the plot has been criticised for a lack of suspense, which critics have generally attributed to the fact that the special is primarily a science education programme. Further criticism has been directed at the acting, with Martin Lev’s performance attracting a particularly negative response. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Fanderson YouTube Channel.