Made in 1967, this is one of the earliest UK TV programmes to seriously examine Scientology.
It was made by Granada TV, a long defunct regional commercial television company – and proved so popular that they followed it up, only a year later, with, “The Shrinking World of L Ron Hubbard“, a classic programme which included an extended interview with Hubbard, on the flagship of the Sea Org.
These were the days when there were only three UK television stations (two run by the BBC, financed by a TV licence fee, and one commercial station, financed by an effective monopoly on TV advertising). There was money to spend on investigative journalism, and programmes like this were very thoroughly researched.
It benefits from the fact that was a more relaxed period in Scientology’s history – practising Scientologists were interviewed, and freely expressed their opinions. This would not be possible today, and Scientologists who expressed themselves in this way would be likely to be severely disciplined.
Otherwise, it is interesting how little has changed. Despite the fact that Scientology is seen here transplanted into British culture 47 years ago, the claims and practices of Scientology – and the concerns of critics (such as ‘disconnection’) are practically identical.