It's set in the future but it looks like the past. The world is at peace, people live in quaint country villages - but there is a price for the ideal: one's own mind.
I discovered "The Tripods" when the BBC first began running trailers for it in 1984. I was just 14-years-old, and spellbound by the metal giants and their Capping of the populace.
The transition from primary school to secondary school had not been an easy one for me. I was shocked by the sudden change in the speech and behaviour of my peers, the way they altered depending on whose company they were in. They seemed interested only in being accepted and popular, and I tended to rail against this.
A curious child, I was inclined to question the status quo, to ask that most perplexing of questions: Why? Met with ridicule from my peers and bemusement from some of my teachers, I was always on the outside looking in - and to this day I am drawn to the road less travelled.
At 14, it seemed that no one really understood where I was coming from. And then "The Tripods" came.
Here was a programme which suggested that the populace at large preferred to simply accept things as they are. Questioning the system in which they lived was not an option, and anyone who showed signs of independent thinking was be rooted out. And yet, in that world, young men and women were gathering together, journeying to the mountains where freedom reigned and a plan was being hatched to overthrow the alien rulers.
When Ozymandias found young Will Parker and enlightened him, I felt enlightened too. "Once that Cap goes on," he teased, "out go other things... A sense of wonder, curiosity, and rebellion." I too was determined not to be Capped. I knew it was a battle for the mind.
It fascinated me when Will, his cousin Henry, and their friend Beanpole rested at the French chateau. The threat to their individuality didn't come from the Tripods, the Cap or the Black Guards, but rather the luxury in which they now found themselves - and for Will, falling in love with a Capped girl. Of course, the first allegiance of the Capped is to the Tripods, and when Eloise offers herself up to serve in their City of Gold, Will is forced to sober up.
The idea of posing as Capped athletes and infiltrating the Tripods' City of Gold was a potent one. Here, Henry finds himself replaced by the prickly Fritz, and it is only he and Will who succeed in discovering the truth - that the Tripods are vehicles for the alien Masters, a race bent on colonising the earth and converting the atmosphere to suit their own needs. I was eager to see how the Freemen would defeat them -
And then it was over. The final third of the trilogy was never filmed. It goes without saying that I was absolutely gutted when I realised the series was not going to be completed.
I watched my video recordings, and always paused it on the opening caption "Based on the Tripods trilogy by John Christopher". I so desperately wanted to meet the author, and imagined myself paying him a visit and talking Tripods.
But it wasn't all for nothing. Through the series, I discovered the books upon which the show was based and grew to love the story even more.
Everything came full circle a good 20 years later, when, having discovered I have borderline Asperger syndrome, published my autobiography "The Feeling's Unmutual". Amazingly, John Christopher (real name Sam Youd) agreed to endorse it! And the endorsement led to my being invited to his home to drink tea and talk Tripods. A real dream come true.
But it didn't stop there. Earlier this year, along with a handful of other fans, I was privileged to meet actors Jim Baker (Henry) and Robin Hayter (Fritz). It was a tremendous experience. Robin has since honoured me by reading my children's novel "Anne Droyd and Century Lodge". All these years on, one of my boyhood heroes is a fan of mine. Incredible!
It's bit of an understatement to say "The Tripods" has been an important part of my life. I am thrilled that the BBC has at long last recognised it to be the television classic that it truly is.
I very much identified with the character of the Doctor. I used to long for the freedom that he seemed to have. At junior school I wished I was like Tom Baker: confident, care free, championing the underdog. In my teens, I was a bit like Colin Baker: slightly aloof (got rid of that now, thankfully!), awkward, poor social skills, driven by a strong moral conscience, terrible dress sense. Along with John Christopher, Colin Baker endorsed my book "The Feeling's Unmutual". Twenty years after his departure, the hero of my adolescence says he identifies with me. I'm bowled over.
A man turns his back on the world system and then is imprisoned in a bizarre parody of it. An apparent paradise full of overtly cheerful folk ("Be seeing you!"), where personal names are exchanged in favour of numbers. "I am not a number," insists the prisoner, "I am a person."
As I entered my twenties, The Prisoner was my role model.
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Having Lived in New Zealand I remember the Tripods well if not a little late to be broadcast in NZ. The theme music was the first to hit me and I was lucky to optain a CD of the series. I do remember reading the books 1-2-3 and thus was a little disapointed how it was adapted to TV. Series one was ok but the other two went far away from the books. Its hard to recall how much as series two and three never got to a DVD release and I not sure they if they are on VHS?