|Written by||Ben Elton|
|Directed by||Nadia Tass|
|Theme music composer||Colin Towns|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of episodes||3|
|Running time||158 mins|
|Original network||BBC2 (UK)
ABC TV (Australia)
|Original release||11–12 August 1993 (Australia)
8–22 December 1993 (UK)
Stark is a 1993 British-Australian television miniseries, based on the bestselling novel Stark by comedian Ben Elton. The three-episode series, directed by Nadia Tass, was an international coproduction between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It starred Ben Elton and Jacqueline McKenzie.
- Ben Elton – CD (Colin Dobson)
- Jacqueline McKenzie – Rachel O'Donoghue
- Colin Friels – Sly Morgan
- Deborra-Lee Furness – Chrissie
- Derrick O'Connor – Zimmerman
- Bill Wallis – Walter
- Bill Hunter – Ocker Tyron
- John Neville – Lord De Quincey
Although Stark is primarily set in Western Australia, the series was filmed in two other Australian states: Victoria and South Australia. Desert scenes, which make up much of the later episodes, were filmed in and around Coober Pedy.
Stark was first aired by the ABC in Australia over two nights on 11 and 12 August (the first and second episodes were edited together into one movie-length episode; the third episode aired as the second and final episode in Australia). The series did not air in the United Kingdom until it appeared on BBC2 on Wednesday nights from 8–22 December.
Differences between the series and the novel
The main changes from the plot of the novel were the extent of the Stark Consipiracy's plan, and the ending. In the novel, Rachel escapes from Stark just prior to the launch, the Star Arks land at their moonbase and the conspirators are quickly consumed by their own greed, selfishness and hatred, with Sly eventually committing suicide. In the series, Lord de Quincy intends to scuttle a fleet of 'leper ships' carrying toxic waste, to actually hasten the extinction of the human species. Sly boards the rocket with Rachel, who has fallen in love with him, and the pair stage a mutiny, although they are killed when the Star Arks are shot down by the United States Air Force. In an interview included on the DVD edition, Elton states that this change was suggested by producer Michael Wearing, who was concerned that the novel lacked a "jeopardy point".
Several of the main characters' names are also changed in the series: Sly Moorcock was renamed Sly Morgan, and Lord Playing is renamed Lord De Quincey.
- An Interview with Ben Elton, Stark DVD, July 2007.