‘What Big Eyes’ was the penultimate episode of the superb Nigel Kneale written series ‘Beasts’, and was originally shown on 13th November, 1976.
A young Michael Kitchen plays an idealistic RSPCA inspector who discovers a mad scientist (Patrick Magee) who conducts inhumane experiments on wolves, believing them to be mankind’s true ancestors. The scientist’s goal is to become a lycanthrope and, although his work will eventually kill him, he is convinced that, on death, he will turn into a werewolf.
A slow burning episode with a subtle but subliminally shocking denouement, ‘What Big Eyes’ is perhaps the lowest key episode of the series, a subtle psychological drama totally dominated by a wild eyed performance from the reliably out there Patrick Magee. Magee was one of the most incredibly intense actors to ever grace stage and screen, his performances are often almost incoherently angry. He died from a massive heart attack at the age of 60: I’m surprised his ticker actually held out that long.