The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells
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|The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells|
|Country of origin||United States, United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Running time||265 min|
|Original network||Hallmark Channel|
|Original release||August 5 – 7, 2001|
The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells is a four-hour television miniseries conceived by Nick Willing and released in 2001 by the Hallmark Channel. It is based on a number of short stories by H. G. Wells, and in some territories was titled The Scientist.
Structure and Plot
Each episode adapts — and sometimes quite radically changes — two of Wells's short stories. The first episode adapts "The New Accelerator" and "The Queer Story of Brownlow's Newspaper." The second episode adapts "The Crystal Egg" and "The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes," and the third, "The Truth About Pyecraft" and "The Stolen Bacillus". Each episode is written as if it were a "real" incident that Wells had investigated with his girlfriend, Jane Robbins, and as if it had served as an inspiration for a short story.
Each short story adaptation is presented as a flashback to 1893 within a frame story set in 1946, near to the end of Wells's life, when he is interviewed by members of a secret military research institute interested in his past exploits.
The filming was done as a full period costume drama, and also took full advantage of notable London locations. These included the London Underground, where scenes from Brownlow's Newspaper were shot at the disused Aldwych tube station.
Actual historical events and places
The miniseries' opening premise is that in 1893 Wells was scientifically untrained, and single. In reality he was neither of those things in 1893. He had studied Zoology and Geology at the Normal School of Science in London, gaining a second-class zoology degree in 1887, but failing the final geology examination. He then taught science in schools in Wrexham and London whilst studying to re-take both subjects, eventually gaining first-class honours in Zoology and second-class in Geology in 1890. He then secured a teaching post at the University Correspondence College, and in 1891 he married his cousin, Isabel Mary Wells. Wells began writing to supplement his teaching income, and in 1893 met Amy Catherine Robbins one of his students. Disliking the name "Amy", he called her "Jane". In 1894 Wells left his wife to live with Jane, and they married later that year, after his divorce from Isabel.
At the opening of the miniseries Amy Robbins is instead called Jane Robbins and is shown to be a teacher of Biology, with Wells initially one of her two potential suitors — the other being a member of the college staff. Wells is portrayed as a single man, a jobbing journalist and aspiring fiction writer with just five stories to his name.
The Imperial College of Science — where Jane Robbins is depicted as teaching — did not exist in 1893. In 1890 the Normal School of Science — where Wells had studied — became the Royal College of Science, which in 1907 was amalgamated with other institutions to form the Imperial College of Science and Technology.
- Tom Ward - H. G. Wells
- Katy Carmichael - Jane Robbins
- Eve Best - Ellen McGillvray
- Nicholas Rowe - Professor Cedric Gibberne
- Matthew Cottle - Whittaker
- Barry Stanton - Dean Frederick Masterman
The New Accelerator:
- Ray Coulthard - Mark Radcliffe
The Crystal Egg:
The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes:
The Truth About Pyecraft:
- Michael Fitzgerald - Albert Pyecraft
- Pip Torrens - Mark Pattison
- Catherine Bailey - Violet
- John Bennett - Mr. Jagger
- Orlando Seale - Albert Einstein
- Donald Douglas - Chairman at Praecentors
The Stolen Bacillus:
- Nicholas Boulton - Thomas Keating
- William Mannering - Harold
- Hugh Dickson - Opposition MP
- Vincent Franklin - War Minister (Henry Campbell-Bannerman)
- Richard Clifford - Foreign Secretary (The Earl of Rosebery)
A Region 2 DVD of the series in non-episodic form was released in the Netherlands in 2004 with the original English language soundtrack, and optional Dutch and French subtitles. A Region 1 DVD in episodic form was released in 2005. It was released in the UK in 2006.