Cold Lazarus

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Unknown May 26, 1996 on Channel 4
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Episode Summary

In the Cryogenic Laboratory of the Masdon Science Center (London unit), a team led by cryobiologist Emma Porlock is on the verge of reviving the memories from a deep-frozen human head: Daniel Feeld's head, preserved in liquid nitrogen since his death in 1994. The team's moral dilemma has to do with whether they have merely tapped into stored memories, or actually reawakened Feeld's person - his volition. They conclude, wrongly, that they have only recovered memories.
Halfway around the world in Los Angeles, aged corporate chief Martina Matilda Masdon is discussing a profit-increasing strategy for the recreational-drugs division of her empire with virtual-reality media tycoon David Siltz, who himself has just realized the entertainment potential of real memories recovered from a brain dating back to near-antiquity.
In this mid-24th century world, nothing is safe, everything is polluted (literally and figuratively), and the universal commodification begun 400 years earlier has reached its ultimate result. As a consequence, daily experience is entirely artificial, controlled by moguls like Siltz, using continuous-audience-monitoring devices to shape the entertainment as it is being delivered. The problem is, everyone is all too aware of this artificiality, and there is a widespread yearning for a long-lost time of genuine experiences. In fact, the single greatest threat to corporate order (governments having disappeared some two centuries ago) is a growing guerrilla terrorist organization using the unlikely graffiti slogan "RON": Reality Or Nothing.moreless

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John Altman

John Altman

Restaurant Policeman

Guest Star

Terence Maynard

Terence Maynard

First MSC Guard

Guest Star

Tara Woodward

Tara Woodward


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Cold Lazarus was shown in Israel, "Reality or Nothing" was subtitled in Hebrew as "Rak M'tzeeut," which means "Only Reality," and instead of RONs, the terrorists were ROMs.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (3)

    • Reality or Nothing: The slogan used by the terrorists was first seen by Daniel Feeld as graffiti in a phone booth in Karaoke. Someone had written "Reality Sucks," and a second person had crossed out "Sucks" and written beneath it "Or Nothing." The appearance of "Reality or Nothing" in Daniel Feeld's life and in the future may imply that Cold Lazarus is not what actually "happens" to Daniel Feeld but rather is his last script, especially since in the final episode of Karaoke, he mentions that he's working on a script about cryogenics and virtual reality.

    • The image at the close of this episode, showing Daniel Feeld's head suspended in the tank of liquid nitrogen, originated in Dennis Potter's rejected first-draft nightmare opening of Blackeyes (1989).

    • More crew:
      Third Assistant Director ... Sallie-Ann Hard
      Floor Runner ... Fran Delmar-Morgan
      Location Manager ... Marilla Elliott
      Production Accountant ... Wendy Ellerker
      Producers' Assistants ... Alexandra Harris and Jessica Robinson
      Supervising Art Director ... Andrew Munro
      Art Department Junior ... Damon Earnshaw
      Art Department Runner ... Tim Sanderson
      Production Buyer ... David Fyson
      Assistant Costume Designer ... Lizzie Dann
      Wardrobe Supervisor ... Mandy Harper
      Make-Up & Hair Designer & Artist Special Effects ... Frances Hannon
      Clapper Loader ... Sophia Wellington
      Best Boy ... Barrie More
      Construction Manager ... Alan Chesters
      Construction Supervisor ... James P. Foran
      Assembly Editor ... Wendy Edgar-Jones
      Assistant Editor ... Mark Lane
      Sound Recordist ... Clive Derbyshire
      Dubbing Mixers ... Robin O'Donoghue and Dominic Lester
      Vehicles & Autocubes Built by ... Any Effects
      Digital Effects Designed by ... The Computer Film Company
      (From Karaoke - Production Designer: Gary Williamson; Make-Up & Hair Designer: Dorka Nieradzik; Costume Designer: Janty Yates; Director of Photography: Ashley Rowe)
      Music Performed by ... The London Symphony Orchestra


    • Daniel Feeld's last words, "No biography!" allude to the 19th-century English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray's repeated instructions to his daughters "No biography!" The allusion works at another level as well. As with Dennis Potter (and Daniel Feeld), Thackeray's fiction (especially Pendennis and The Newcombs) frequently contains strong autobiographical elements -- which may be why none of them wanted an actual biography written.