Review The Omega Factor

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
This is a ten part BBC series, with Louise Jameson and James Hazeldine as Anne Reynolds and Tom Crane working for Dept 7 researching psychic powers and paranormal phenomenon.
Mary Whitehouse, bless her, called this series "Thoroughly Evil".

 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Going through my Omega Factor DVDs again. Still find it thoroughly confusing and deeply layered and disturbing.
Big Finish released an audio series continuing the series with Louise Jameson reprising her role as Dr Anne Reynolds , she confirms in this interview that Mary Whitehouse's campaigning against the show caused its demise.

 

Carol

Member: Rank 5
Hot damn! my friend - why have I never even heard of this? Anything Whitehouse objected to must be gold. I would never have thought that her "Crusade of Light" could have actually singed an interesting series like this seems to be. Bum!
 

Cloister56

Member: Rank 3
I love the Omega Factor. The first episode is brilliant, creepy and suspenseful.
Edward Drexel was awesome as a villain, with creepy (but still also pretty) Morgan.
The first series of the Big Finish revival was ok, it had some nice moments but the second series was awesome. One of the best series they have ever done. Now I have to wait nearly 2 years for part 3.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Still going through this series again. Just watched episode 6 " Child's Play"
Tremendous. Roy Martindale really is a bastard . His cold hearted justification for experimenting on the boy Colin to see what psychic powers he has is chilling.
Louise Jameson's Anne Reynolds is clearly torn between wanting to help the boy and wanting to see the results of Martindale's tests.
In the end of course Colin used his powers to run down a chauffeur, so Tom Crane was right about negative consequences for Colin undergoing Martindale's experiments
Great Series
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Episode Guide

1.The Undiscovered Country
Tom Crane , a journalist who delves into the occult and psychic phenomena, is in Edinburgh to meet old friend Dr Anne Reynolds, and more importantly to interview a shadowy figure called Drexel , a man who has undisputed psychic power and has been involved in sinister politics.
The interview riles Drexel who threatens Tom .
Driving in a country lane a figure suddenly appears, Tom swerves and crashes, his wife Julia dies. Tom is convinced Drexel caused the crash making him hallucinate the figure in the road.
Dr Roy Martindale, head of government department 7, an psychic phenomena investigating unit, offers to help him track Drexel down in exchange for him working for dept 7. Tom himself has some psychic ability which Martindale would like to investigate.
2. Visitations
A dept 7 unit sets up in an old creeky house hoping to record sounds at the extreme edge of the spectrum and pick up ghostly sounds that manifest into something tangible that takes over the research team.
Tom and Anne investigate and uncover a link with Drexel and something that happened in the house long ago.
3. Night Games
Tom brother Michael turns up in Edinburgh half crazed and in a private hospital run by dept7. Tom is incensed to learn that Martindale persuaded his brother to take part in an experiment conducted by the military, using sonics as a controlling weapon. The officer in charge of the device was hypnotized by Drexel to vastly increase the power killing two soldiers and damaging Michael.
4. After-Image
Dr Martindale, a supposed good guy is callously at it again. He has persuaded Anne to undergo sensory deprivation treatment to further the department's knowledge. Tom has to rescue her when something goes wrong,and Drexel is in dept7 conducting the tests!! Did Roy know of this?
First whispers of a shadowy political group called Omega, gathering potential recruits with psychic powers, possibly for some sort of power grab.
5. Powers of Darkness
Three students larking about with a Ouija board make contact with something astral.
Jenny, one of them, is taken over by a 16th century witch, one that was burnt at the stake.
Tom Anne and Roy try to track her down as she runs amok through Edinburgh.
6. Child's Play
Visiting a friend Anne discovers that the friend's son has been expelled yet again from school. The boy confides to Tom that he has experienced strange and frightening abilities in telekinesis. Martindale offers to take the lad to a secure unit for him to recover, but all he wants to do is experiment and bring out the boy's latent powers. Anne seems to back Roy in this escapade and Tom begins to wonder just what he is doing working for this organization.
7. St Anthony's Fire
Two people that Anne knows die in mysterious circumstances, a husband and wife, she goes berserk while thinking she's on fire and kills her husband. They have been infected by Ergot, a fungus that attacks cereal plants.
The Omega group.are creating super strength ergot as part of their twisted plans. Tom and Anne are captured and are to be eliminated. Can Roy Martindale save them?
8. Out of Body, Out of Mind
Roy is not going to report what happened to Tom and Anne, the work of Dept7 too valuable to go under a microscope from the authorities.
Meanwhile Tom 's brother Michael is experiencing out of body travels in his sleep and seems to have uncovered a plot to assassinate an African leader . The leaders son Hamish, black with Scottish accent, is in Edinburgh and his girlfriend is an Omega operative brainwashing Hamish to carry out the assassination.
Michael we learn was a willing subject for Roy and brings him in for further tests to possibly even increase his out of body travels. Tom is incensed and almost comes to blows with Roy.
9. Double Vision
Dr Vashrevsky a friend of Martindale is in Edinburgh ostensibly to investigate grave vandalism, whereby coffins are opened and the bodies left on the ground, maybe as part of a ritual of voodoo or other practise.
But Vashrevsky has sinister connections in his past with Russian security forces, and when this staggering exchange takes place , we wonder WTF is going on.
Martindale " I don't want Tom harmed. Scared off only"
Vashrevsky" Tom Crane needs to be neutralized. You know Roy some in the organization are doubting your loyalty"
Roy in Omega !! No !
Meanwhile Tom is convinced he is seeing wife Julia, six months after her death. A ghost , a hallucination ? Anne discovers strong sleeping tablets in Tom 's bedside table, she steals them and has them analyzed. They could cause side effects such as hallucinations. Tom denies taking them , but he must be doing it without knowing it, but who is behind it all?
10. Illusions
Final episode, details I will not reveal, but some surprising conclusions and opportunity for a second series, that sadly never happened. Thank you Mary Whitehouse, who fiercely attacked the show.
Big Finish have carried it on and the series itself available on youtube.
Cast
Tom Crane....James Hazeldene
Roy Martindale...John Carlisle
Anne Reynolds....Louise Jameson
Drexel.....Cyril Luckham.
 
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michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
On second thoughts here is a few titbits about the final episode ILLUSIONS

Roy Martindale confirms he has been in the Omega organization from.the start. He sees his fellow conspirators as protecting and guiding mankind. Tom realises Roy has flipped or been brainwashed.
It's confirmed that Omega was responsible for Tom hallucinating his dead wife, an attempt to drive him out of his mind.
Dr Bruckner, an East European expert in ESP comes to dept7 to work with Martindale but Omega kidnaps him and then utterly destroys his mind hen he refuses to cooperate.
Martindale sees the light and is determined to leave the organization but they ain't going to let him just walk out.
He just vanishes. Scott-Erskine, a senior operative in intelligence reveals that he was responsible for sending Tom to Edinburgh in the first place to use his powers inside Department 7to flush out Roy who has been handing over dept secrets to Omega, and the government is ready to move against Omega. Scott-Erskine dies in a 'ahem' road accident. Anne Reynolds takes over dept7 from the missing Roy. So all set for season2 !!
Which Big Finish took up 35 years later
 
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chainsaw_metal1

Member: Rank 8
Hot damn! my friend - why have I never even heard of this? Anything Whitehouse objected to must be gold. I would never have thought that her "Crusade of Light" could have actually singed an interesting series like this seems to be. Bum!
I'm in the same boat. I have never heard of this either, and knowing that Whitehouse disapproved of it makes me want to see more of it. That woman was, herself, evil incarnate.

Speaking of which, I came across a video clip a while back of her doing a call in on television, and someone called in to claim that she actually loved pornography, because it gave her something to complain about. She just mumbled something about how he was wrong and hung up on him, but you know, secretly, she had to have had a vast collection of it, and "appreciated it" in private. Now there's an image that will cause you to drink bleach to get it out of your head.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
R.I.P. Paddy Russell director of the important opening episode, and a great episode it was too.
Tom Crane interviews Drexel, the powerful psychic, an interview that started the ball rolling.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Inside The Omega Factor- a discussion about the creation and philosophy of the series , with writer Anthony Read well known in Who circles, along with other creators of the show.
 

Cloister56

Member: Rank 3
I was wondering if any of you have given the Big Finish Omega Factor stuff a go.

I just finished the audiobook "Spider's Web" which was excellent. It is read by Louise Jameson and tells the story of an investigation Tom and Anne undertook. It gets really creepy at time.
The first audiobook which retells the events of the start of the TV series is also in the same format. It still a good listen even if you've already watched the series.

There are also 3 complete series of full cast audio productions. They are set in modern times and feature Anne Reynolds played by Louise Jameson and filling in for Tom Crane is his son.
They are generally to a great standard. I think each series has had one really standout episode but it hasn't really grabbed me like the audiobook did. It does have a great plot running through it that I think would have worked brilliantly if the tv show had continued past the first series.
 

michaellevenson

Member: Rank 8
Have just recently bought the three Big Finish series, will be listening in due course.
Louise Jameson is back as Anne Reynolds, now in charge of Department 7,and John Dorney plays the son of Tom Crane, as James Hazeldine sadly is no longer with us.
I'll watch the tv series again first, a must for any fans of BBC seventies Sci Fi. If you've not seen it, in the words of Zaphod Beeblebrox, " boy have you missed out!"




 
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