The Kraken Wakes | 1965 CBC & 1998 BBC

I tried both productions over the course of a few days. Didn’t much care for either.

The story is an end of the world via alien invasion as experienced by the news agencies that cover the events.
The sort of story I’d usually love. I bet I’d love the John Wyndham novel they’re based on. But, somehow it didn’t translate very well to audio, neither in 90 minute form (BBC) or 5-part miniseries (CBC).

I do have a huge complaint with the 1965 CBC version – the reporters are used to describe the visuals.
Awkward descriptive dialogue. The Original Sin of audio theater.

But neither of them held my attention. Maybe it was my fault.
So often, it felt like a long, slow description of the monster to be revealed at the end. Yeah, some things happened along the way but I wouldn’t say it ever raised the dramatic tension very far. I was hoping to be gripped.

The commentary on how the media and governmental powers that be might very well control flow of information as the world ended was not lost on me but it just wasn’t enough.

I give them both a D and am not keeping either one.

The Kraken Wakes | 1965 | CBC | Eric Cameron

At first, the fireballs seemed to be nothing more than a dazzling display of lights in the sky, plunging into the deepest oceans and disappearing without trace. But when ships started sinking inexplicably and the sea-lanes became impassable it seemed that the world was facing a threat of unprecedented proportions. Recorded at CBC Radio Vancouver.

The Kraken Wakes | 1998 | BBC | John Constable

Radio reporters Mike and Phyllis Watson are on a honeymoon cruise when they see strange red lights falling out of the sky and into the sea. In John Wyndham’s 1953 classic of alien invasion, Mike and Phyl report the progress of the ‘kraken-like’ sea monsters as they emerge from the depths and challenge mankind for supremacy of the Earth. The climax, when sea levels rise and devastating flooding hits the UK, is eerily topical.

John Wyndham (1903-1969) also wrote The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos and many short stories.

Starring Jonathan Cake and Sarah Todd. Dramatised by John Constable and directed by Susan Roberts.

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