"I'm not a drug you give to patients to keep them going!"
Bill Masen
Part Four
Series The Day of the Triffids
Season 1, Episode 4
Day of the Triffids Episode 1.4
Air date September 13th, 1981
Writers John Wyndham
Douglas Livingstone
Director Ken Hannam
Producers David Maloney
Starring John Duttine; Emma Relph; Maurice Colbourne
Episode guide
Part Three
Part Five

"Part Four" is the fourth episode of the 1981 mini-series The Day of the Triffids. It first aired simultaneously on BBC1 and ABC Television on September 13th, 1981. The series was re-aired beginning on March 7th, 1984. The episode has been made available on the The Day of Triffids DVD collection released in 2005 in the UK and in the US through BBC Home Video in 2007.

Synopsis Edit

Smoke and screams of fire fill up the upper quarters of the University of London. Amidst the chaos, Bill Masen, runs down a flight of steps, but trips and knocks himself unconscious. When he comes to, he finds himself bound in manacles inside a jail cell. His jailer is a bald, blind man named Alf. He offers Bill tea and a cigarette and tells him that it was the radical, Jack Coker, who orchestrated his capture. His group faked a fire and used trip wires on the staircase landings in order to abduct as many sighted people as they could.

Jack Coker enters the room and introduces himself. He tells Bill that his plan involves forcing sighted people to aid the blind whether they want to or not. He says that he will be assigned to a specific party. He will be handcuffed to one or two men and made to forage food and supplies from a selected area. Although his keepers will be doing most of the work, Bill will serve as their eyes in coordinating their efforts.

After Jack leave, Alf comes back in and secretly tells Bill that he had seen Jo Payton. She's part of a group moving out to Victoria and Westminter. He made sure to tell her that Bill was okay.

Jack loads Bill and the others into a lorry. They go to the Belsize Private Hotel bed and breakfast. Reluctantly, Bill is forced to inform the present tenants that they are taking occupancy at the hotel. The blind man and wife currently living there are greatly upset by this, scared that they will be forcibly evicted. Bill assures them that in exchange for sharing their living quarters, his party will make sure that receive suitable food rations.

Over the course of the next four days, Bill coordinates his party to several markets to gather food and supplies. The task is difficult as Bill's movements are restrained. The laborers have a difficult way of it as well and they are frequently tripping or knocking into each other. In the down time, Bill begins scripting a letter to Jo. He has no idea if he'll ever see her again or even where she is, but writing helps him to cope with his imprisonment.

On the fourth day, the original occupants of the hotel complain that their son has fallen ill. Bill examines him, but cannot explain his sickness. He tells them that he will try to fin some medical supplies.

Bill's party and he go out again to get supplies. As they cross a bridge, they gather the attention of a group of punks just across the river. The leader of the group produces a handgun and begins taking shots at the party. One of the men, Alf, goes down and the others scatter. When they examine Alf, they discover that the shot was fatal. Bill tries to get the man is handcuffed to to release him, but he refuses. Frustrated, he claps him across the back of the head, knocking him out. While Bill struggles to unlock the cuffs, the shooter comes across the bridge and finishes off one of the injured men. Bill and the others manage to make it back to the hotel.

Although he is no longer confined, Bill doesn't abandon his party. He continues to help them out, taking them on supply runs throughout the countryside. While foraging through a deserted cottage, Bill goes down into the cellar. Moments later, he hears a noise coming from above. A man's body comes flying down the steps of the cellar. He runs up the stairs and sees another man being pitched through the window. As he lands, Bill sees the all-too familiar Triffid wounds across the man's face. He leads the survivors out through a back exit to the outside. He loads them all into a large Mercedes and pulls away. From the street, two Triffids turns their attention on the vehicle. One of them spits its venom across the windshield, but Bill drives safely away.

By the time he returns to the hotel, he learns that three more people have succumbed to the strange illness that seems to be making its way through the city. Bill tries to help, but the situation grows dire. A teenage girl comes into Bill's bedroom, fearful that he might decide to leave them. Bill is exasperated by this point and tries to make her understand that he is powerless to do anything. She corrects him, reminding Bill that he gives them hope. The girl offers herself to him sexually, but this only makes Bill mad. He forces her to leave his room and to tell the others that he will stay.

The following morning, Bill awakens and finds that the hotel appears to be deserted. He finds the teenage girl who approached him the evening prior and it becomes evident that she too is now suffering from the same illness that killed the others. She is scared and knows that she will not live to see another day. She asks Bill to give her something that will help her to end it painlessly. Sadly, he agrees and gives her some pills so that she can fall asleep.

Taking a car, he leaves the hotel and resumes his search for Jo. He finds a blind woman on the street and helps her out. The woman claims to have been with a woman matching Jo's (relative) description. She points Bill in the direction of a large hotel. When he gets there, he finds the lobby littered with bodies of those stricken by the illness. One man survives, but he is on his last legs. Bill asks him about Jo, but the man tells him that if this woman were part of his group, then she is either dead or gone.

Bill returns to the University of London only to find it empty. Walking about the assembly room, he hears the sound of footsteps descending the staircase. He calls out for Jo.

Cast Edit

Actor Role
John Duttine Bill Masen
Maurice Colbourne Jack Coker
John Hollis Alf
John Benfield Ted
Eva Griffiths Teenage girl
Gary Olsen Red-haired man
Jon Rumney Hotel manager
Jean Perkins Manageress
Sally Lahee Woman in street
Gordon Case Dying man

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The illness that infects the people in this episode is never adequately explained.
  • Gary Olsen, who plays the red-haired man in this episode, returns in episode six playing the role of Commander Torrence.

See also Edit

External Links Edit

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