Monday, October 13, 2014

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Big Ben

The clock tower called Big Ben, or known sometimes as Elizabeth’s Tower, was built in 1858 and has become a veritable symbol of London and the United Kingdom.  

As such, the tower and its clock-face have been imperiled many times throughout cult-television history. Poor Big Ben has been battered, destroyed, and even shrouded by alien spacecraft from time-to-time.

A British science fiction series, Doctor Who (1963 -1989; 2005 – present) has “clocked” in the most appearances of Big Ben, naturally.  The clock tower has appeared in several episodes of series including “Aliens in London,” when a Slitheen ship strikes it on descent, in “The Empty Child” and even the recent Peter Capaldi premiere, “Deep Breath” to name just three cameos.

Both iterations of V -- in 1983 and 2009 -- have also featured imagery of giant alien saucers or spaceships hovering nearby or over Big Ben, thereby casting a shadow on humanity itself.

The ruins of Big Ben were also featured in an episode of Thundarr: The Barbarian (1980 – 1982), “Island of the Body Snatchers.”  

And the clock tower made an appearance in the movie Gorgo (1961) an “experiment” endured by Mike and the Bots on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1989 – 1999).

Big Ben also cameos in the opening sequence of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner (1968).

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