Description: A scientist and a philosopher investigate a haunted wood in eighteenth century Britain. A haunting in the woods seems to denote some terrible catastrophe - not in the past, but the future. From The Classic British Telefantasy Guide: 'Do ghost and science belong together same play?' asked Kneale in a Radio Times article accompanying the drama first produced by John Elliot and screened as part of the First Night strand. In 1770, Squire Hassell (James Maxwell) dabbles in "natural philosophy" whilst his wife, Lavinia (Ann Bel) flirts with Gideon Codd (John Phillips), the sub-Johnsonian iconoclast of the London coffee-houses. Hassell is fascinated by the spirit of the age and the search by men himself for 'new knlowedge.' but he is a clear prisoner of the times in which he lives as much as he is master of them. Cobb meanwhile, has a great and glittering vision, of how the world will be, when 'machines will do all.' Meanwhile, each Michaelmas Eve a local copse witnesses a visitation of screaming disembodied voices, which two ago sent Sam Towler (Rodney Bewes) mad. It was 'as if al the dead people was risin' out o' Hell an' coverin' the land!' Hassell believes the copse is haunted by the ghosts of some terrible past. But the shocking conclusion shows it to actually be a pre-echo from a future two hundred years hence, when a road has been built over the landscape upon which thousands of people flee from an impending nuclear attack. Coming just months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Road maintained Kneale's uncanny habit of being able to reflect areas of current public concern often before the public, themselves, knew they were concerned about it. In 1770, country squire Sir Timothy Hassell (James Maxwell) dabbles in 'natural philosophy', while his wife Lavinia (Ann Bell) flirts with Gideon Cobb (John Phillips), sub-Johnsonian iconoclast of the London coffee houses. Hassell is fascinated by the search for new knowledge, but he is a prisoner of his age, seeking at random, even in matters supernatural. Cobb has a great and glittering vision, of how the world should be, when, "machines will do all." What has brought them together is the strange phenomenon which occurs in the local wood every year on Michaelmas Eve. Three years ago, a poacher died from the horror of what he saw; the year before Sam Towler (Rodney Bewes) almost went the same way, after hearing, "all screams and screeching... as if all the dead people was risin' out o' Hell an' coverin' the land!" ÊHassell thinks it is a haunting from the past of the retreat of Queen Boadicea and her army with the Romans at the heels, and sets out to prove it. But the shocking and terrifying conclusion show it to be a pre-echo from a future two hundred years hence, when a great road will have been built over the wood, a road down which thousands willÊflee from a nuclear attack. In this sense - and even more so than the atomic dramas of the 1950s - The Road reflected its time, when the world had only just stepped back from the brink of thermonuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis the previous year. To the eternal shame of the BBC, no copy of this excellently-written drama was preserved.