S4E09 THE CHOPPER
Kneale on wheels
Something ghastly in the garage? Usually the only emanation is a petrol fume or two. Which for Nigel Kneale, creator of that poor scientist Quatermass, makes it the perfect setting for his ghost story The Chopper (Wednesday 10.10 BBC2) in this week's Out of the Unknown series.
‘It’s an exercise in the kind of ghost story I wouldn’t mind hearing myself,’ he says. ‘I ﬁnd the disembodied hand in a well-lit kitchen much more spine-chilling than bats in the belfry.’
In case you’re wondering, the chopper of the title is what a motorbike is called when it has been rebuilt in Easy Rider style. In the play the ghost of a greaser manifests himself to a woman journalist as a motorbike noise.
Kneale himself has never seen anything approaching a ghost, although he's inclined to believe there's something in it. After all, he comes from the Isle of Man, where superstition is rife (caused by in-breeding he says, like the cats) and his own dear granny with all her friends and neighbours practised white witchcraft.
He’s Manxman enough to view the possibility of a motorway construction across Barnes Common, which his house overlooks, with some interest. ‘That should stir up a few spirits,’ he says.‘The ground has been undisturbed for centuries.’
RADIO TIMES DATED 10 JUNE 1971 - With thanks to John Archbold
Out of the Unknown
by NIGEL KNEALE
The spirit of a dead motor-cyclist seems reluctant to leave his wrecked machine.
TX: 10.10pm 16 June 1971