"Out of the Unknown" The Last Lonely Man (TV Episode 1969) Poster

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4/10
Out of all the episodes to survive, why this one?
poolandrews30 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Out of the Unknown: The Last Lonely Man starts in a bar late one night as a man named James Hale (George Cole) is enjoying a night out getting drunk, in the corner of the bar a woman named Mart (Lilias Walker) & a man named Patrick Wilson (Peter Haliday) have an argument. Death is almost obsolete, when you die your mind & memory are instantly transfered into someone else's & you will live on in some way, the other person has to agree though & they become known as contacts. Mary has told Patrick that she will not be his contact anymore thus leaving Patrick with no-one, if he dies he dies for good. Patrick spots James & takes advantage of his drunken state by convincing him to be his new contact, James agrees & they both go through with the procedure but Patrick turns out to be a liar & generally not very nice so James also decides to end the contact contract but before he can Patrick kills himself & is instantly transfered into James mind with unfortunate results...

Episode three from season three of the British produced television sci-fi drama series Out of the Unknown this was directed by Douglas Camfield & as my summary says why, out of all the episodes from season three, is The Last Lonely Man the only complete one that still exists in the BBC archive? Just reading the other episodes plot details makes you angry that the BBC decided to keep this one & junk other great sounding stories like Immortality Inc (1969), Liar! (1969), Random Quest (1969), Target Generation (1969) & The Yellow Pill (1969) all of which sound much better than the dull & frankly abstract The Last Lonely Man. The basic concept that a person mind, thoughts & memory can be transfered into someone else's is just too complicated for it's own good & the script doesn't make things much clearer or easier to understand or relate too, at only fifty odd minutes long there's not enough time to develop & flesh the story out which is so far removed from reality & frankly unbelievable that it's impossible to take The Last Lonely Man seriously. The episode starts off promisingly with a speeding car racing through the countryside & crashing leaving two dead bloody bodies who don't have any contacts & thus sets up the basic premise but then things go downhill, the character's are poor, the concept hasn't been thought through at all with several gaping questions left unanswered & a none event of a climax that feels like the last ten minutes is missing. I am not that sure what point The Last Lonely Man is trying to make, there seems to be a bit of a stab at rushed Government policy & it's potential for abuse but as I said the whole contact contract & mind transfer are just so far fetched & often badly thought out that any serious point made is lost.

Originally broadcast during January 1969 while the first two seasons of Out of the Unknown were filmed in black and white seasons three & four switched to colour, I guess the only reason the colour Out of the Unknown titles exist is because of this. As expected The Last Lonely Man was a product of it's time & it's fashions, decor & props date it somewhat. There is one baffling scene I didn't get at all, while watching a film in a cinema showing men being gunned down & killed the entire audience was laughing & I have no idea what the point of that was, I just don't understand the significance of it or the point it was making. Unfortunately The Last Lonely Man is the only complete Out of the Unknown episode from season three, about half an hour of episode eight The Little Black Bag (1969) exists but otherwise nothing. The acting is alright, George Cole went on the star as the likable rogue Arthur Daley in the much loved series Minder (1979 - 1994).

The Last Lonely Man starts off nicely but then becomes a bit of a muddled mess that is so far removed from reality or common sense that it's difficult to take seriously. I can't say I liked it that much & despair at why this was kept yet other better sounding episodes were junked for good & no longer exist.
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