With so many similarities between the TV show and the movie, it’s worth noting that Peter Goodchild, the producer who brought the idea of “Oppenheimer” to the BBC all those years ago, was never approached or contacted by Universal Studios or Nolan himself during the production of the new film. It’s hard to imagine a more fleshed-out account of Oppenheimer’s life, but then again, the BBC version had seven hours in total to tell the story compared to Nolan’s three. Based on that and Waterston’s acclaimed performance, it may be worth a watch.
Although it did originally air in the U.S. on PBS’ American Playhouse, “Oppenheimer” had fallen into relative obscurity. Fortunately as of last week, the BBC has made the classic series available on its VOD platform, iPlayer. Due to “complicated” rights issues, the entire boxset of the series is, unfortunately, only available to watch if you currently reside in the UK. In any case, it’s heartening to know that the critical and commercial success of Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” has led to a rediscovery of the original BBC series. Apart from Waterston, the series also starred David Suchet, Kate Harper, John Carson, Christopher Munke and Jana Shelden.