Episode 1 The Message- In 1970 a new telescope, designed by John Fleming (Peter Halliday) and Dennis Bridger (Frank Windsor) picks up an alien signal from The Andromeda Galaxy. Fleming and Bridger work for Professor Reinhart (Esmond Knight) at the Bouldershaw Fell observatory in Yorkshire England. Fleming figures out that the signal is actually a computer program. Judy Adamson (Patricia Kneale) is brought on board to assist.
Episode 2 The Machine- Assisted by Christine Flemstad (Julie Christie) Fleming decodes the message and discovers that it is instructions for the creation of a sophisticated computer as well as data to process on it. The decoding is done at Thorness Rocket Research Establishment. In the meantime, Bridger has sold out to a powerful conglomerate called Intel and begins giving them information. They are also interested in the message from space and the computer.
Episode 3 The Miracle- Biochemist Professor Madeleine Dawnay (Mary Morris) is the next to join the team. When the computer begins to give output she recognizes it as a structure of carbon. The computer is demonstrating how to create living cells. Professor Dawnay begins decoding the instructions to make life as Fleming begins to get suspicious of the reason the message was sent and what the computer is ultimately supposed to do. Bridger’s treachery is discovered. When he runs he ends up tripping and falling over a cliff. He dies on impact.
Episode 4 The Monster- The life form that Dawnay created is a protoplasmic amoeba type creature with one eye and is the size of a sheep. They name it Cyclops. The computer has two projecting terminals. The computer uses them to electrocute Christine.
Episode 5 The Murderer- After Christine’s death the computer issues another set of codes. Professor Dawnay determines that the code is instructions for creating a human embryo. The embryo grows and ends up being Christine’s (Julie Christie) clone except that the clone is a blond and Christine was a brunette. The clone is named Andromeda or Andre for short. Now that the computer has a living human creature it no longer needs the first attempt so it destroys Cyclops.
Episode 6 The Face of the Tiger- Andromeda learns quickly and becomes indispensible by assisting Britain against a foreign threat. The Government believes that Andromeda can be used for industrial purposed as well as for defense so it makes a deal with Intel to market any discoveries generated by the computer. Fleming is convinced that Andromeda and the computer’s ultimate purpose is world domination. When Fleming tries to sabotage the computer’s programming it retaliates.
Episode 7 The Last Mystery- Fleming finally convinces Dawnay and Judy that the computer is a danger to mankind. The computer sends Andromeda to kill Fleming. Fleming overpowers her and destroys the computer. Now free from the computer’s dominance Andromeda destroys all the data received from the Andromeda Galaxy so that another computer cannot be created and flees with Fleming. They are chased by the military. Andromeda falls into a deep cave pool on a nearby island.
“A for Andromeda” is a seven part British science fiction television series that was first broadcast in 1961. It was written by John Elliot and Fred Hoyle. The series takes place in the future, 1970. Originally seven episodes, only one episode and a few snippets of other episodes survive. A reconstruction of the series was done using the bits of film, supplemented by tele-snaps and explanation subtitles.
This was Julie Christie’s first major role. The series has been remade twice, once as an Italian miniseries in 1972, and then as a British film in 2006. A sequel, “The Andromeda Breakthrough”, was made by the BBC in 1962.