Doctor Who isn’t the only major two-part sci-fi drama on the BBC this Christmas. The Beeb is also broadcasting a new two-part adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1951 novel The Day Of The Triffids on 28 and 29 December. Starring Dougray Scott, Joely Richardson, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard and Jason Priestley, it’s the story of killer plants taking advantage of a world turned blind.
The Day Of The Triffids is a Power production for BBC One. The executive producer is Justin Bodle (Power). Stephen Smallwood is the producer (Murphy's Law) and the director is Nick Copus (The Summit).
And the Beeb has now released five mini interviews with the stars of the show. Below is Dougray Scott, then for the others click on the following links:
Dougray Scott plays Dr Bill Masen, a brave, troubled scientist who must save the world from the menance of the Triffids. Bill is tested to the limit – and beyond – as the whole of humankind is poised on the brink of destruction.
The drama also concerns Bill's quest for self-discovery; as Bill struggles with the Tirffids, he must also defeat his personal demons. He is gradually reconciled to his father (played by Brian Cox) from whom he was estranged for many years following the premature death of his mother.
For Dougray, one of the leading British actors of his generation, the offer to play Bill proved irresistible.
"The Day of the Triffids is quite simply a classic," says the actor, who has starred in such memorable movies as Enigma, Mission: Impossible II, and Ripley's Game.
"I remember reading the novel when I was young and being absolutely gripped by it. I also recall watching the series as a child and being scared witless by it! It's a gem."
The 44-year-old actor, who like Brian hails from the East Coast of Scotland, outlines the character of Bill.
"For many years, he's been a recluse. He's been defined by the death of his mother and his estrangement from his father. His father went off and did his own thing and left Bill feeling marginalised and frustrated. So Bill's need to understand the Triffids is as much his need to understand himself. He is desperate to find out what happened to him as a child. He wants explanations."
Bill's search to discover more brings him close to his father for the first time in years. Dougray, who has captured a whole new following since playing Ian, Susan's (Teri Hatcher) love interest in the hit American series, Desperate Housewives, explains. "After the death of his mother, Bill was in essence abandoned by his father. He was confused and hurt by that – 'why did you treat me like that?'
"His father says that he did it for Bill's benefit. Through his obsession with the Triffids, his father saw an opportunity to make money and give his son financial security, but unfortunately that drive took over his life. When they meet again, they grow closer through a shared desire to understand how to conquer the Triffids. Their mutual passion could rekindle the bond they should have had in the past. It might be a chance for them to resurrect a father-son relationship."
At the same time, Bill finds himself drawn to Jo (Joely Richardson), another resolute character determined to overcome the Triffids.
"Their relationship blossoms in the face of adversity," muses Dougray.
"Bill is not used to dealing with relationships with people – for most of his life, he's only had relationships with plants. So he finds himself in a strange position with Jo. He has a basic need for a relationship and is ready to explore that, but at the same time he's very tentative about it. It's a love story about two shy individuals trying to reach out and connect in this crazy situation."
Dougray goes on to reflect on the deeper meaning of this enduring classic.
"It's not just about the Triffids," the actor says.
"It's about human resilience. It's about how we respond when we're most severely tested. These characters are thrust into a post-apocalyptic world, and the challenge for them is how they rebuild their lives as they're beset by fear and loneliness."
He concludes: "You could say The Day Of The Triffids is a metaphor for the dire effects of exploiting the planet. If we abuse the Earth, there will always be a price to pay. We have to try to repair the damage and respect the harmony of this planet or the consequences will be catastrophic. We have been warned!"