…is the original title of my second Eleventh Hour story for the 2006 ITV series that starred Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen.
I’ve decided to add the script to my small library of downloadable PDFs because… well…
Rather than a coronavirus, the story concerns an outbreak of hemorrhagic smallpox. It was partly inspired by the last recorded smallpox death in the UK – the result of a lab escape at the University of Birmingham Medical School in 1978 – and a separate story of forgotten pathogens discovered in commercial cold storage.
My research was aided by the late Steve Connor, Science Editor of The Independent. The fun stopped there because the show as shot was not the show I wrote. So much so that I did something I’ve never done before or since; I walked off it.
So what you have here is the version you never saw, and not the one of which Robert May, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government, wrote in the Times Educational Supplement, ‘the underlying epidemiological science is melodramatically misrepresented; (eg) “In 24 hours, the virus will be on every continent”… we need watchable dramas in which the science is done well.’
A couple of years later my story was adapted by Adam Targum for the JBTV remake of the show on CBS. It can now be streamed on Amazon. You’re welcome to feel differently, but it’s my preferred version.