'The Machine Stops' won the first prize at the Fifth Festival Internazionale del Film di Fantascienza (International Science Fiction Film Festival) in Trieste, on 17 July 1967. This was the first time the BBC had entered for the Festival.

From “The Times” the following day:

Trieste as a port for science-fiction films

… Science-fiction film – or sci-fi, as it is lovingly known – as yet bears no definition. At one end it is the monsters and irrational fears that still lurk in the shadows of our minds, and at the other serious essays into the spiritual, moral and psychological effects of space on man.

The festival would like to get away from the bloodcurdlers altogether, but at present there is not enough of the other kind …

So during the past week we have seen what you could call a series of competent “B” pictures (nothing derogatory here) but with a few outstanding moments. One of these, most hearteningly, was The Machine Stops, which won the first prize for Britain … This piece of Wellsian stature runs for 50 minutes and was produced by Irene Shubik and directed by Philip Saville for B.B.C. television; when first shown it got largely overlooked.

Based on a tale written by E.M.Forster 40 years ago, and even more chilling in its possibilities today, it presupposes that a giant machine has taken over all human life. They live within its pale caverns, emotions and physical strength atrophying, while everything – including a sympathetic word or medical attention – is supplied by the touch of a button. Then the machine becomes so complex there is no one left who can understand it, and it begins to stop.

Yvonne Mitchell gives a beautifully judged performance as the mother of a throwback, a boy who wants to return to the world outside “and entrust myself to the mercy of God.” As the son Michael Gothard is able and promising in his first television part. A haunting film – and a deeply disturbing one.

Molly Plowright
"The Machine Stops" was repeated, shown this time on BBC1, where it would have been seen by a much wider audience.

From the Radio Times: 13 April 1967 (BBC1 Repeat)

Yvonne Mitchell stars in the first of this series of science-fiction stories repeated from BBC-2

THE MACHINE STOPS – 11pm BBC1
SCIENCE fiction is in. Sales of paper-back and hard-back books are booming. More and more science-fiction stories are reaching the cinema screen as a growing number of writers, on both sides of the Atlantic, find that an imaginative leap into the future is an ideal device for putting across their comments, witty or serious, on life today.
In the last two years, BBC 2 has helped to satisfy this new appetite with Out of the Unknown, a series of original plays and dramatisations of popular stories.
Read more... )
Watch The Machine Stops on Youtube.

It must have had yet another showing, because it was described in The Times, on 18 July 1967:

"As the son, Michael Gothard is able and promising in his first television part."
This is Michael's Spotlight page - his entry in the reference book sent out to anyone wanting actors to cast.

He is listed as being with the William Morris Agency.
His height is said to be 6 feet, 2 inches.

The photo was taken in 1966 by John Timbers, and is from "The Machine Stops."

John Timbers also took photos for the BBC’s Armchair Theatre productions: Michael was later to appear in one of them, "The Story-Teller."

Spotlight 1967-68
Conversation (2) Conversation (9)

Kuno (Michael Gothard) calls his mother Vashti (Yvonne Mitchell), and asks her to visit him; she is not very keen
on the idea. Vashti disapproves of her son’s rebellious attitude towards the way their lives are regulated by the
Machine; anyway, in this future dystopia, hardly anyone travels.

Exercise (9) Exercise (7)

Like everyone else, Kuno is usually confined to his cell, so his muscles are weak from lack of use. He tries to
strengthen them by moving things in his cell.
Read more... )
“About a year and a half passed between my first important film part in Herostratus and my next big break – Out of the Unknown – a television series.”
(From Petticoat interview 6 October 1973)

Michael Gothard as 'Kuno'

The photo is thought to have been taken in 1966 by John Timbers.
Read more... )
Award

This adaptation of 'The Machine Stops' won the first prize at the Fifth Festival Internazionale del Film di Fantascienza (International Science Fiction Film Festival) in Trieste, on 17 July 1967.

Watch The Machine Stops on Youtube.

IMDB entry

Thanks to Natchris for finding the Radio Times references.
From: TV Times: 8 February 1973

[Herostratus] brought Gothard approval from the critics, but no actual work. For 18 months - "a period too depressing to think about" - he did odd jobs and went intermittently on the dole. It was this taste of unemployment that determined his practical attitude to his profession.

"I was involved in helping to get the very first lunchtime theatre off the ground. It was a great experience but there was absolutely no money in it."


From: Petticoat interview 6 October 1973

“About a year and a half passed between my first important film part in Herostratus and my next big break – Out of the Unknown – a television series.” (He appeared in the first episode of season 2: The Machine Stops.")


In 1966 Michael appeared in the "The Spotlight" casting publication for the first time.
He does not seem to have had an agent, as interested parties were referred to the publication itself for contact information.

1966 Attwood crop

This was the photo used: taken in 1965 by Graham Attwood.

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