Tony Grisoni’s Electric Dreams episode Crazy Diamond is set in the not-too-distant future, in a society where genetic engineering has created new kinds of synthetic beings: flesh-and-blood people and human/pig ‘chimeras’ implanted with Quantum Consciousness (QC).
This Philip K Dick adaptation is set on the coast, which is now eroding so fast that human dwellings routinely tumble into the sea. Here we meet Ed Morris (Steve Buscemi), a corporate man and a QC-creator who dreams of one day sailing into the horizon.
Where was Electric Dreams episode Crazy Diamond filmed?
The whole episode is set on the coast – but various different coastal locations were used to create this sci-fi world.
Director Marc Munden explains: “We trawled the coast right through to the East Anglian coast, Norfolk, right round past Southhampton… But it’s an amalgam of all sorts of coasts.
“Obviously there’s Beachy Head in there as well, and there’s Kimmeridge, and the creek is somewhere in Essex as well. So it’s an amalgam of different things.
“The idea was to try and unite it in this weird, rather perfect world where these beautiful, transient housing estates are built, which are falling off the cliff by the year.”
Kimmeridge is a beautiful bay on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, an area rich in fossils and a World Heritage Site. And Beachy Head is a chalk headland in East Sussex – in fact it’s the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain.
So why is Crazy Diamond set on the coast? It all comes back to the sci-fi author’s original short story, Sales Pitch, which had been completely reimagined by screenwriter Tony Grisoni.
In the original, Ed Morris doesn’t dream of sailing off to sea in his yacht. Instead, he is a commuter who shuttles between Ganymede and Earth in his spaceship, imagining a better life in the unchartered territory of Proxima. Both are equally impossible dreams – and that’s the thinking behind the setting for Crazy Diamond.
“There’s very, very little of Philip K Dick’s story left in this piece, but the one thing about it is, the idea that everyone in this world which is bombarded by commerce, and in which you’re provided for in a very complete way, wants to escape,” Munden says.
“That’s the one thing that remains from the main story. And that’s about looking overseas, it’s about looking into the ocean. In the original story it’s about looking out into space, but this is now Ed sailing out on his boat.”
Electric Dreams continues on Sunday 15th October on Channel 4 at 9pm