This was a superb sci-fi drama series that achieved cult status when it was first aired in '79, and proved to be so popular that it was re-shown six years later. John Mills played the kindly astrophysics Professor - it also starred Simon MacCorkindale, Margaret Tyzack and Barbara Kellerman.
Set in the near future, economic and social collapse have reduced the civilised world to a state of anarchy. Armed gangs fight vicious battles in London's decaying, derelict streets, and starvation & disease are everywhere. Meanwhile, the Superpowers squander their remaining funds on pointless prestige space projects. Throughout the overgrown countryside, bands of aggressive New Age travellers calling themselves the 'Planet People' follow their crazy belief that they are soon to be teleported off to a new and better world elsewhere in the Universe.
Bernard Quatermass is an old man now, living in retirement by a Scottish loch. On a visit to London to appear in a TV interview, he teams up with fellow space scientist Joe Kapp, who takes pity on the old rocket pioneer and more or less adopts him as one of his family. Kapp has his own radio telescope base just outside London, where he lives with his family and research team. While they are there, he and Quatermass watch in horror as thousands of Planet People converge on the nearby Neolithic stone circle of Ringstone Round and are annihilated in a brilliant beam of blazing light, along with the desperate squad of 'Pay Cops' trying to keep them in order. More such incidents soon follow around the world, and Quatermass realises with appalldom that the human race is being harvested by an inconceivable alien entity. It must be stopped- but HOW??
Superbly acted, the 'urban collapse' vision was more than believable in the dark Punk days of the '70s / early '80s, and echoes of 'Noah's Castle' abound. The late great old Wembley Stadium has a prominent role in this chilling fantasy, which is now available on DVD and also as a novel by Nigel Kneale.