John Wyndham is my favourite author and “The Day Of The Triffids” is probably his best known novel. Triffids are shambling, carnivorous plants taking advantage of a recently blinded human population. Scary stuff and brilliantly realised by the ever-so-English John Wyndham who loves a good post-apocalyptic tale where ordinary people face extraordinary situations.
There was a movie in 1962 which was OK but not too faithful to the book and a 1981 BBC TV adaption which despite not-so-good production standards, did quite well at capturing the essence of the novel.
I must say that I was quite surprised to se a throw-away reference last week to a new BBC production with a top notch cast and production values. I watched the two-part mini series last night with a bit of apprehension and must say that it is rather good. Part one is reasonably faithful to the original novel with a plane crash thrown in for good measure and references to global warming to bring it up to date. Part two deviated a bit but still followed the general plot.
Visually, it resembled a big budget Hollywood epic with some stunning imagery. The Triffids themselves are mainly kept in the shadows but were damned scary. Much more effective than their 1962 and 1981 cousins.
A weakness could be some of the characterisations. Although, Bill (Dougray Scott) and Jo (Joely Richardson) were very good, Jason Priestly as Coker was criminally under-used and Eddie Izzard lacked some depth. Vanessa Redgrave as a sinister nun was a treat though.
I was surprised to find a large number of negative reviews online. Many of them compared it to the new generation Doctor Who as if it was a bad thing so that’s their credibility shot to pieces. 😉
I recommend this version, especially to anyone not familiar with the story. It comes out on DVD in the UK in February and I’m sure other countries will follow.