Norwegian Wood. Maelstrom has the boring distinction of being a rare UK/Norway co-production. Scandinavian company Gryphen put up a chunk of money, and also seem to have had quite a hand in location scouting, judging by the amount of fjords/icy nordic bays/high northern meadows appearing on screen.
Blake’s Seven do Ibsen. Stuffed with talent straight from the Liberator, Maelstrom gives a strong impression of the Blake’s Seven cast and crew trying to do something serious for a change. In front of the camera you had Paul Darrow (Avon) and Peter Tuddenham, taking a break from voicing computers both for Blakey’s crew and on Doctor Who. Behind it, long term Blake’s Seven producer Vere Lorrimer and director David Maloney swapped firefights for fjords.
An expert in this kind of thing. Maelstrom slowly builds up the tension over a very long six episodes. Not surprisingly, this wasn’t writer Michael J Bird’s first foray into unnerving, slow-burn mystery drama. Previous scripts had included In Possession (1984) for Hammer, in which a couple are haunted by ghosts from a holiday two years earlier, and The Lotus Eaters (1977), about a husband and wife whose bar-owning retirement in Greece is undermined by past secrets. Apparently not a fan of all-out blockbuster action, then.
The Real Maelstrom. Ancient Norwegian myths tell of a monster whirlpool off the island of Lofoten, which they call The Maelstrom. Seafarers’ reports going back thousands of years - right back to Viking times, suggest that the Maelstrom may not all be myth. Scientists, however, have yet to be convinced.
The Lady Bows Out. For actress Ann Todd, the part of Astrid Linderman in Maelstrom was the last role in a long and distinguished career. Starting out in the thirties, this beautiful icy blonde appeared in films like The Return of Bulldog Drummond and Things to Come. The public loved her, especially after her brilliant performance as a disturbed pianist in The Seventh Veil (1945). She was also notable for her husbands - number one was director David Lean, number two Victor Malcolm, grandson of Lillie Langtry, and the third and last Nigel Tangye, film aeronautics advisor.