The Mad Death (1983)

UK, 16 July 1983-30 July 1983
1 series, 3 episodes, average 50m
colour, 4:3
mono, English

A British science fiction/horror television series written by Sean Hignett and directed by Robert Young.


The authorities struggle to contain an outbreak of rabies in Britain.


Part 1 (16 July 1983)
Part 2 (23 July 1983)
Part 3 (30 July 1983)


The show was reasonably well-received by the critics. The Listener‘s Paul Taylor called it a “public service horror film” and noted that “I can think of no true precedent for the particular way in which The Mad Death […] attempts to appropriate wholesale the horror genre to dramatise its subject: rabies […] How odd to see an ‘anti-social’ aesthetic employed to convey a message of social responsibility – help keep rabies out of Britain , or just look what can happen.” 1The Listener vol.110 no.2817 (14 July 1983) pp.32-33 while Patrick Stoddart in Broadcast said it was a “clever and beautifully-shot thriller 2Broadcast no.1221 (15 August 1983) p.25


Broadcast no.1221 (15 August 1983) p.25 – review (Off Air by Patrick Stoddart)
The Listener vol.110 no.2817 (14 July 1983) pp.32-33 – illustrated article (Drama: Genre bites back by Paul Taylor)
Radio Times vol.240 no.3119 20 August 1983 p.56 – article
Television Today 3 December 1981 p.23 – note (Chance to make more drama)
Television Today 11 November 1982 p.24 – article (BBC Scotland looks to contemporary drama by “a Television Today reporter”)
Television Weekly no.26 (15 July 1983) p.11 – illustrated note (It’s a dog’s life for producer McIntosh)

English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.369
Serials on British Television 1950-1994 by Ellen Baskin p.198 – credits, synopsis