I've been hunting for old science fiction books and TV shows from my childhood. This question is about a TV show (or it may have been a film) shown on the BBC in the late 70's or early 80's.

In my memory it is science fiction but it could as easily be a spy thriller (although my passion has always been SF, so I find it unlikely to have been a spy thriller unless it was set in the future).

I recall one scene vividly. A man walks into a large round room, reminiscent of a telescope observatory dome. On a pedestal in the middle of the room is a huge gun, like you would find on the deck of a battle ship. It is very cold in the room and the man's breath is misting.

I recall a title "Cold City" but don't know if that refers to this show or if it is simply incorrect. I also recall the idea that the man was sent to sabotage the gun, but I could be confusing two different stories.

It was live action. It may have been dubbed but I find this unlikely.

Very obscure and hazy memories! Hope some one on this site might remember it?

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    Sounds cold, dark and depressing... EastEnders? Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 13:25
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    Lol! Good guess but no!
    – skyjack
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:49
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    This reminds me of a children's series running in the mid 80s. It was certainly dubbed, and based, according to the voice-over, on either a Jules Verne or H.G.Wells book. Two countries, or rather city states, are run by two brothers. Technology level is late Victorian. One is being run as a police-state and is preparing to destroy the other using the super-cannon firing special freezing gas shells. The action follows an agent who infiltrates the police-state (his bandaged arm concealed a revolver). Ice or Cold in the title, "Secret of Ice City" perhaps. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


Tracked this down on tvcream. "The Secret of Steel City"

CZECH/BULGARIAN DRAMA defects to the west and gets dubbed for its troubles. Well, not “dubbed” as such, rather “lectured”. As the foreign actors went through their paces, we were told what was going on by plummy-voiced narrator. If you listened carefully, you could just make out faint dialogue in the mother tongue of wherever it was. Bundled out, unbelievably, in the hallowed Wednesday 5:10pm slot. Plot concerned two neighbouring cities, Steel City and Fortuna, separated by a river (and ideologies) in a poverty-stricken Eastern Bloc country. Steel City (grey and industrial) develop a “freeze” weapon with which to oppress Fortuna (probably a nicer place to bring up your children). Metaphor for the Cold War/Iron Curtain, anyone? Opening scenes see a fleeing Steel City worker being shot as he swam the river. “The secret of Steel City died with that man” laments our narrator. But all is not lost. Fortuna send over their own spy who discovers the weapon and probably saves the day, ending with closer ties between Steel City and Fortuna. Probably.

This summary on the BBC site mentions the large gun (emphasis mine):

The last of an adventure in three parts based on a JULES VERNE story. Marcel Zodiac is sent as a spy to Steel City. Disguised as a man called Moltke, he gets a job as chief designer to Professor Janus who he finds has constructed a long-range gun that he intends to fire on Fortuna-where Marcels family live.

  • 1
    Thank you! I can't find any clips on line so cannot say if its 100% correct but this is very what I was thinking of.
    – skyjack
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 6:00
  • I'm now pretty sure this was it. Thank you!
    – skyjack
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 8:50

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