Monday 9 October 2023

The Book of Beasts - Out Now!

Beasts is one of the calling cards of 1970s British folk horror, and this is an unarguable fact. Unless, of course, you haven't watched it. And, in that case, you need to rectify this immediately. Each episode of Nigel Kneale's much lauded anthology series, which aired in 1976, is a chilling blend of intricate plotting, rich characters, social commentary and, of course, an atmosphere which causes the hairs on the back of your neck to spring to attention. It's a series which has been much discussed and pored over since it first aired, but there has never been a definitive tome on the series. Until now.

Yes, thanks to Andrew Screen - a long time friend of Curious British Telly - The Book of Beasts has arrived to tell you the entire story of every inch of the the series. And then tell you a little bit more for good measure. Andrew has been working on the book for as long as I can remember, and the sheer size of the book - 430 densely packed pages - immediately tells you why. This is more than just a review of the series, this is a deep dive into the depths of the mechanics behind Beasts. With full access to Nigel Kneale's archive, Andrew has retraced almost every step that Kneale took whilst writing the series and getting it produced. And, best of all, Andrew has tracked down those involved with the programme to gather together an exhaustive list of insights on the production.

The book was only released last week, and I've barely made a dent in it, but the opening section which looks at Murrain - the unofficial pilot for Beasts - is a fascinating read and one which contains jaw-dropping levels of detail. It's going to keep me busy for a long, long time and it also acts as an excellent excuse, as if you would ever need one, to rewatch Beasts. So, if you've ever watched and enjoyed Beasts, this is the book for you and can be found over at the Headpress website in a variety of formats.

P.s. I'm not on commission, and I purchased the book out of my own pocket!

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