New stock of Drama in the Lab - the R.3 Story now available!

About SMP



Saturday Morning Press Books aims to focus on dramas forgotten, and some not so forgotten television series and serials from the long distant past. 

September will see released 'Taste and Decency The Swizzlewick Story' (1964), the BBC's attempt to make a twice weekly serial that was above and beyond ITV's monster soaps, but was far too radical for its time slot. It became one of the first targets of Mary Whitehouse's campaign to 'clean up' TV, and is incorrectly remembered as a 'savage' attack on her, mainly because she said so. Did the programme really try to take revenge on her family? The extraordinary story of Swizzlewick and its misjudged creator David Turner will be told later this year.

'Drama in the Lab The R.3 Story' (will explain and tell the story of a series which tends to be remembered simply for its similarity with 'Doomwatch' (and a second volume of missing episodes is being prepared)  which examined what happens if science is misdirected. 'R.3' was the opposite. 'R.3' is the Ministry of Research Centre No. 3, where medical scientists work or oversee a number of differing projects, each hoping theirs will improve the lot of mankind. It was a series designed to show science and the scientist in a positive light, examining their stresses both professionally and their impact at home, but it did not take off, and a second series examined the workings of a trouble-shooting consultancy featurning none other than Oliver Reed! 

Coming in 2024, 'A for Andromeda' (1961) was a stunning seven part serial, combining the cutting edge science of its day - radio astronomy, genetic engineering, computers, orbital satellites, and fascinated a constantly growing audience. The book details the storyline and examines the ideas behind each episode. It is brimming with technology, political greed, military desperation, and a story as old as the Bible - a message from the heavens. But in who's interest was it sent? The book will also focus on the less successful 'The Andromeda Breakthrough', making the two stories one long serial. 

Future titles will examine the BBC's popular soap 'Compact' (1962-5), the show audiences loved, and everyone else loathed.

Ever wanted to know what happened in the two 1962 science fiction serials The Monsters and The Big Pull? You will next year.  

Coming in 2025, 'Dixon of Dock Green' (1955-76) the story behind the legend who walked his beat (or tried to) during three decades. Remembered disparigingly as an unrealistic police procedural, it began as a light entertainment show, but evolved into a much more sterner police series before it was laid to rest in 1976. Dixon wasn't so much the copper the police wanted us to think was representative, but how much we really wanted them to be in an ideal world. 

Michael Seely is a member of the Society of Authors.