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'In Nature's scheme of things, there are certain plants which are carnivorous.
'The Venus flytrap is one of the best-known of these plants.
'A fly, drawn to the plant by a sweet syrup, brushes against trigger bristles.
'How these plants digest their prey has yet to be explained.
'This is a newcomer, Triffidus Celestus, brought to earth on the meteorite
'during The Day Of The Triffids!'
'All reports confirm that the world is witnessing an unprecedented shower of meteorites.
'There is no record of a display such as this in recorded history.
'Astronomers are noting this phenomenon
'and are calculating the effect on our solar system.
'The consensus of opinion is that the meteorites burn up before they reach the earth.'
RADIO: 'Same reports from South Africa. The shower of meteorites continues.'
'This is a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that simply must be seen.'
Once-in-a-lifetime spectacle(!) Free tickets. Take any seat in the house. Here I am.
Here's Dr Soames, Mr Masen.
-Can't I see what's going on? The bandages come off tomorrow anyway.
After an eye operation it's best to wait the full ten days. Tomorrow morning, nurse.
Yes, Doctor. Have a good night, Mr Masen.
-"See" you in the morning, I hope!
-I hope so.
Open your mouth, please.
This should give you a good night's rest.
Lie back. I'm going to put your bed down.
Miss Jamieson, are you really as pretty as they say you are?
Tomorrow morning you can answer that question for yourself.
You really think I'll be able to see?
-By tomorrow night you'll be on board your ship and ready for duty.
'The spectacular display of meteorites is still turning the sky into a blazing firework show.'
HE TURNS RADIO OFF
I can't leave this specimen. Why don't YOU go and have a look?
Some tobacco company probably found a new way to light up the sky to sell more cigarettes(!)
-Where did you hide it THIS time?
-In the cupboard.
It's always in the same cupboard.
I was hoping we could get back to dissecting that stingray.
Here we go again! "The subject is Tom Goodwin,
"brilliant marine biologist."
-I am bored with stingrays. I don't care about them.
-What DO you care about?
You really want me to tell you?
You know, sooner or later you're going to have to face the fact.
Day and night, drunk or sober, in a lecture room or a lab
or a deserted lighthouse near Cornwall.
To hell with it! Meteors and all! Who cares?
-care what happens to us.
Karen, you're a... you're a nice girl.
Heaven knows how you talked yourself into marrying me.
All right. What do you want us to do?
I don't know what YOU want to do, but I want away from this island.
-All this pretence about experiments.
-It was your idea. Six months away from the university...
Let's clear out of here! Let me go where I can buy Scotch, and not wait for a boat to bring me ONE bottle!
-What about the equipment?
What about the fish?
Throw them back in the sea!
Fine. We'll leave the island tomorrow. The boat's due in the morning.
RADIO: 'We are awaiting word from the Australian observatory.'
'..this beautiful display of meteorites exploding.
'The BBC will be on the air all night to keep you posted on this marvellous display...'
'..we'll bring you the latest reports.'
WATER DRIPS CONSTANTLY
CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS ON RADIO
BIG BEN CHIMES
Can anybody hear me?!
-I'm sorry. I couldn't wait to get those bandages off.
-You can see?
But I can't believe what I see. What's happened?
Would you please take me to my office?
Now try the other eye.
You're certain the beam's on the pupil?
-All right. That's enough.
-Is the blind drawn in here?
Would you pull it up?
-What is it?
-The optic nerves are gone. The glare of the meteorites.
You're probably one of the few people in London who can still see.
I don't envy you. I wouldn't care to see the things you'll see.
In the outer office, in my desk you'll find a kit. Would you get it for me?
It's not there.
Ah, here it is.
CRASH OF GLASS
RADIO IS DEAD
-No sign of the boat?
-No. It should have been here hours ago.
Nothing on the radio either.
I've been trying all morning.
You're losing valuable drinking time.
RADIO: 'The entire population of England has been afflicted with blindness
'through watching the meteorite shower last night. This is the Royal Dockyard at Devonport.
'A number of naval personnel have escaped blindness. All those who are still able to see
'should make their way to the dockyard.
'Urgent warning! England appears to be infested with a new plant that can inflict a fatal sting.
'If you are blind, stay indoors, if you can see, keep a constant look-out.
'We will return to the air with further bulletins.' Stay tuned to this wavelength.'
Blindness! Killer plants! I'm not drunk, am I?
Wish you were.
How do we get off this island?
Where would we go?
'We are still trying to reach the police. Please remain calm.
'Do not move about.
'You could injure yourself or start a fire. Do not smoke.
'Do not light matches. Stay clear of all electrical equipment.
'We are doing all we can.'
-Are there any trains running?
-I don't know. I can't see.
Can you help me, sir? Help me!
Excuse me... Help me to a taxi.
-Please call my wife. I'll pay. Take my purse.
There are no taxis and the phones don't work.
My little boy! Where is he? >
What does he look like?
You can see? Of course. Why shouldn't I?
Then help me. Who can see? This girl here.
Can you really see, girlie? Yes.
Come on! No! Let me go!
Let me go!
Drop that child.
-Were you on that train alone?
-I was in the luggage van.
-I ran away from boarding school.
-Where are your parents?
-I haven't any. The bank takes care of me.
Well, the banks are closed.
-Why is he barking?
-I don't know. Come on, we'll find out.
It's nothing. Come on.
Come on. Let's go to my ship.
Let's see if we can find some rocks. Come on.
Get in the car.
VOICE ON SHIP'S RADIO
-MAN IS SPEAKING FRENCH
-I wish I could understand French.
-What's he saying?
"All services stopped. Will continue sending as long as we can."
That's a big help(!)
HE CHANGES RADIO CHANNEL 'Approximately 400 miles east of New York.
'All officers and passengers stricken blind.
'If you read me, come in, please. Mayday! Mayday!'
If you read me, come in, please. SS Midland calling. Mayday.
Is the captain here? Yes. What is it?
The passengers are panicking.
Can't you contact the doctor? No, sir.
This is the captain speaking.
'There is no-one on board who can help you. We are radioing for a rescue vessel.
'The only immediate danger is that you may injure yourselves by moving around. Stay where you are.'
If there is ANYONE who can see, PLEASE come up on the bridge.
HE CHANGES CHANNEL
MAN SPEAKS JAPANESE ON RADIO
HE RUNS THROUGH CHANNELS
It's Paris! He says they're calling a disaster meeting at Palais du Chaillot.
There must be others who can see. If we could just make contact.
'Flight 356 from Cape Town calling. Stand by for emergency landing.'
Please talk us down. Tower, can you read me? Tower, can you read me? Mayday!
Tower, please come in. Please talk us down.
There's still no reply, sir. Keep trying. >
Fuel's just about gone, sir.
How much longer? > Any moment now, sir.
I've got the passengers quiet again.
But they want to know what's happening. Tell them...everything's fine.
Tell them to fasten their belts, we're coming in to land.
Ladies and gentlemen,
'please fasten your safety belts as we are about to land. Everything is all right.'
Fasten your safety belts, please. No smoking, please.
Belt all right? Is the pilot blind too?
BLIND?! > Don't be silly...
ALL BEGIN TO PANIC
We're going to crash!
'Mayday! Tower, please come in.'
PLANE ENGINES WHIR
-Where are we going?
-That meeting in Paris.
-There's one of those plants growing out there.
-It's on the ledge.
How about this?
-I'm coming with you.
-Keep behind me.
Don't want to get killed by a plant.
-Thought you didn't care any more.
-I don't. But I can think of better ways to die.
It was here.
I KNOW it was here!
Come on. Let's get back inside.
It's all right. It's all right.
RADIO: 'Ici Paris!
'Because of worldwide disruption it is impossible for delegates to gather.
'Paris has become dangerous. This will be our last broadcast.
'There is no-one here who can see.'
There's nothing, Bill.
We're lost, aren't we, Bill?
-Let me see that map again.
Thank goodness, Mr Coker.
-But you are NOT Mr Coker.
-You can see!
-Do you live near here?
-Show us the way.
Miss Durrant, thank heavens.
-Mr Coker, this is Mr Masen and Susan.
Oh, you found some more.
-Miss Coker, this is Mr Masen and Susan.
-How do you do?
-They can see.
-How many blind people do you have here?
-About forty. You must be hungry.
My sister and I were touring France. We collided with Miss Durrant's car.
Both our cars were ruined. No-one was badly hurt, but we were all under sedation that night.
-The chateau became a hospital.
-A tragic irony.
The sick stayed well and the healthy became blind. Your daughter is sleepy.
< Come along, my dear.
-How old is your daughter, Mr Masen?
-Susan is not my daughter.
We found each other in London. We're stuck with each other now.
There's nothing to be afraid of. We're all friends here.
Bettina, I want you to meet Susan. She's English. She's just arrived.
Hello, Susan. Hello.
I brought her to you, Bettina, because you speak English. I'll come and tuck you in.
But you can see! How can you tell?
I can tell a great many things.
It's the way people react. See if I can tell anything more about you.
How old am I? Thirteen. Twelve.
But a very grown-up twelve. Yes.
And brown eyes? That's right.
And you've got a good sense of humour, too.
I can tell by the laugh lines.
I tell you something else, too. We're going to be good friends.
Until things get back to normal, you are welcome to stay and help.
I've seen London, Paris and a lot in between.
-Things will never be normal.
-So I've told Miss Durrant.
-I have faith.
-Faith is fine.
-But we need a lot more than that to survive.
-Why shouldn't we survive?
There's going to be starvation, fire... Anyone caught in the middle of it doesn't stand a chance.
-I think we ought to go on to Spain.
-How do you know it's better there?
-How could we get everyone there?
You are just running away.
I've told you what things are like. If you sit here with your eyes closed and let this run over you,
YOU'RE the one who's running away.
Perhaps you will change your mind. I hope you will stay and help us. Goodnight.
A warm, generous-hearted woman, but, I'm afraid, very stubborn.
Lights! They've got the electricity going.
France is back to normal! Maybe I can reach someone on the phone.
Are the lights on? Isn't it wonderful?
-I'm afraid you won't get an answer.
-I put fuel in the auxiliary motor for the generator, so we have light.
But there's nothing I can do about the phone.
The cortex of the root system.
It's good to see you working again.
-It's not for the greater glory of science, I just want us to survive.
I'm not even a botanist.
-Is it a plant or an animal?
-It doesn't seem to have any central nervous system.
-How does it move?
All plants move. But they don't pull themselves out of the ground and chase you!
If we find out how this thing functions, we might figure out an easier way of killing it.
You must get some sleep.
-There's no time.
-Just an hour.
Then I'll wake you, I promise.
You really must get some sleep.
I'll wake you in a hour.
CRASH OF WOOD
It got out! It came to life and it got out!
-Just like worms. Cut them in half and you can't kill them. Get the hammer and nails!
It's like being nailed in your own coffin.
-What are you doing out here?
-I wanted to talk to you.
-You shouldn't be wandering around.
-I had to talk.
Is it true you're going to leave us?
To go to Spain?
-What about the rest of us?
-I've got to find some REAL help. I can't do it by staying here.
-But you're coming back?
-Yes. If I can.
I hope you DO come back.
Come on. I'd better get you back inside.
It's a Triffid!
The original Triffid, the kind I saw in a greenhouse was known to have come to earth in a meteorite.
This re-appearance must have been caused by the meteorite explosion.
-But why should they attack people?
-Most plants thrive on animal waste. This kind eat the animal itself.
This must be how they propagate.
-There are millions of them.
-A light wind and they're everywhere.
-Susan, where's Miss Durrant?
-< I've something to tell you.
-Give me a moment. Please sit down.
-Miss Durrant, we're going to have to leave.
-Did you bring more supplies?
-YOU tell her.
-In the next 24 hours the vicinity will be swarming with Triffids.
I cannot leave all these people. They're my friends!
PLANE ROARS OVERHEAD Listen.
The plane! It flew over here before. That's what I wanted to tell you.
Come on, Coker.
He's saying something about Toulon, the naval base being a rescue centre.
-The French base on the Mediterranean near Marseilles.
Are you all right?
-What's the matter?
-It's my ankle. I can't go on.
-I'll carry you.
MUSIC FROM HOUSE
-What's the matter?
-What is it?
-Some men. Convicts, I think. They've taken all the girls in there.
-How many are there?
-And they can see?
-Where's Miss Durrant?
-In there. They said they'd kill anyone who... SCREAMING
Stay here and lock all the doors. Don't open them for anyone but me.
Come on. Susan's out in the car.
You are not one of us.
Susan, open up.
I can't open it!
Susan, get over to the other side.
The thing I said to you back at the chateau, I had no right...
If it makes you feel any better, I probably would have said the same thing.
Feel guilty, mmh?
-You know why?
Because you survived.
-Bettina, Coker and all the rest dead, and you're alive and you wonder why.
I know the feeling. In the war, a ship gets shot from underneath you, all your friends are gone,
you ask yourself, "Why me?
"Why not someone better?"
Where will we go in Spain?
There's a big American naval base in Southern Spain, at Cadiz.
-They're equipped for disaster. They're disciplined.
-So were the French at Toulon.
Five per cent nitric acid solution, negative.
Not that I expected a miracle.
But nothing seems to affect this tissue.
They live, they grow, they take nourishment..
they have sensory response...
they absorb and expend energy...
There must be something that will interrupt their life cycle.
Fundamentally, it's a simple problem. Like finding a weedkiller.
RADIO CRACKLES There's no help out there.
Been nothing on the air for days.
Can't help thinking about that last radio call from Devonport.
The way the place blew up... It was like listening to the end of the world.
Well, it's NOT the end of the world! Not yet. There has to be an answer.
If we're going to find the answer, we'd better find it soon.
-What are they doing?
-They're staring in at us like guards outside a condemned cell.
Let's go through the check-list again.
You're a good horse. And you must be tired! I'm going to find you some grass.
-Bill, may I go and look at the fair?
-All right. But don't wander off.
If we can find something, we'll eat right away.
-I'm sorry. Did I burn you?
Bill, you think we have a chance?
Once you taste this coffee of mine, you'll know nothing worse can happen.
Your coffee is very good.
-In fact, you're a handy man in the kitchen.
-Been doing for myself a long time.
-You have never been married?
-Never been in one spot long enough.
-And now you have a family.
-It might have its points.
-MUSIC PLAYS OUTSIDE
-Look what I found!
We could use it. We'll take it.
-Our horse! We can't leave him!
-We'll leave him in a field. He'll be fine.
-I won't go!
-Be reasonable. We can't take him.
-Don't let him, Christina! It isn't fair! It's mean!
It is not Bill's fault. He's only doing what's right for all of us.
-He'd never hurt you if he can help it. You know that.
-Are we on the right road for Cadiz?
-I think so.
-What's the matter?
-I don't know. But we'll find out.
Hello! Is anybody here?
Please, please come in.
Oh, God! Teresa!
Teresa! Ven pronto! Ha llegado gente. Pueden ver. Nos ayudaran.
-Luis de la Vega.
-I'm Bill Masen. This is Susan and Miss Durrant.
< Three guests. This is my wife, Teresa. Welcome.
We are not the only two people left here.
I believed that someone would arrive.
We are expecting a baby and we need help.
< Perhaps the two ladies could...
-You can't see? You both seem so natural.
-My wife has been blind for many years. She is teaching me.
-But you WILL help?
-Please be seated, all of you. > I'll go and get some food.
-We'll help. Come, Susan.
-We were trying to get to Cadiz.
-You don't know?
-Know about what?
-They had to evacuate the naval base.
-By submarine. I heard it on my radio.
Submarines that were submerged during the night of the meteorites, their crews were all right.
I tried to contact them with my transmitter, but I cannot transmit or receive.
-Let's take a look at it.
-Oh. Are you familiar?
Yes. As a first mate, I have to have a working knowledge of it.
'From the Gibraltar Rescue Centre. Final survivor pick-up on Saturday at Alicante.
'Repeat warning: Vast bands of Triffids are roaming the area.
'Do not travel at night. Barricade all doors. Repeat: Do not travel at night.
'Barricade all doors.
-'Final survivor pick-up will be on Saturday at Alicante.'
We'll leave first thing tomorrow.
I think that'll work. When I tell you, turn that switch.
Well, it works.
You can turn it off now!
Is the baby born?
-Yes. It's a boy.
-How is he?
-And the mother?
-She's weak, but I suppose that's to be expected.
Susan, turn on the switch.
The fence is weakening.
Susan, get back to the house.
We just don't have enough power.
Keep the engine running!
-Why do they keep coming back?
-Don't know. There must be a reason.
GURGLING BECOMES LOUDER
-Maybe they can hear us!
Hey, maybe that's it.
Maybe it's sound that attracts them. That generator. Come on, Susan.
SWITCHES OFF, HUMMING CEASES
You were right. It's SOUND that attracts them.
If sound leads them TO us, it can lead them away, too.
-Like the Pied Piper!
Yeah. Like the Pied Piper. Come on!
When they've gone, open up the gates and take off. Until then, no noise at all.
-What about you?
-I'll see you in Alicante.
MUSIC BOOMS OUT
Time to get aboard, Miss. We're sailing.
We have to go now.
TANNOY: 'The submarine will depart in five minutes.'
'This is the Gibraltar Rescue Centre for the Mediterranean area.
'Our pick-up at Alicante has been made on schedule.
'This is the final rescue operation for the present. Stay tuned for further bulletins.'
-How far is Gibraltar?
-Too far to swim(!) Let's get back to work.
Get away from that window!
Stop staring at them!
I'm sorry, Karen. I'm sorry.
They're dissolving! The sea water's dissolving them!
Turn the pressure up!
Two-thirds of the earth is covered with it.
You hunt and search, and all the while the answer's right in front of you.
'A simple method had been found to destroy the Triffids.
'Sea water, from which life on earth had sprung, became the means of PRESERVING life on earth.
'Mankind survived and once again had reason to give thanks.'
Subtitles by Janice Hamilton BBC Scotland, 1994