This was something I watched on UK TV in the late 1960s, (maybe a series like The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone).

A large team of Earth space explorers are visiting some planet, lots of ground mist and the aliens live in like polythene and tinfoil wigwams!

Some of the natives, who are humanoid but with big heads IIRC are ill and act all drooling and uncoordinated, the Earth doctor examines and identifies a germ in the aliens blood.

He rapidly develops a cure and his team spray it throughout the alien town.

Soon all the aliens are drooling and uncoordinated which is when realisation dawns....that is the natural state of the host bodies; it was the germs that were the intelligent part of a symbiosis.

Edit:- After looking at comments and suggestions it's possible that I watched this and later read the Star Surgeon story and got the plots confused....germs that eat metal and germs that convey intelligence.

Thanks all

  • 2
    I don't know the film/movie but it could well be based on Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse, which has this idea as one of the major sections (ch 9-11) in the story.
    – bob1
    May 12, 2022 at 1:09
  • 1
    There are some similarities with the 1969 Out of Unknown episode Beach Head Does the following picture ring a bell?i.stack.imgur.com/JWwIE.png
    – jim
    May 12, 2022 at 15:40
  • Yeah, they look like the aliens....thinking back it was b&w TV I watched it on
    – Danny Mc G
    May 12, 2022 at 15:56
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    "the aliens live in like polythene and tinfoil wigwams" because it was a low-budget BBC production from the 60s. Have you ever seen Doctor Who episodes from that time?
    – FreeMan
    May 12, 2022 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


There are some similarities with the 1969 Out of Unknown episode Beach Head. Most obviously the story is about a team of explorers from earth visiting a planet (called Planet 0245/B). The aliens are certainly humanoid with big heads and live in wigwam like shelters, see the attached image. As well, extensive use was made of sheets of polythene for the background.

However, I don't remember the aliens drooling and the germs were planet bound rather than in the blood of them.

When the explorers meet the aliens it is recognised that they are intelligent. The aliens calmly state that "You will never leave. You should not have come. you can never leave", where communication is achieved via the explorers interpreting hieroglyphic like symbols. This was interpreted by some of the crew as a threat.

It turns out the germs ate on metal. Gradually everything metal breaks down and the explorers realise that the aliens weren't threatening them but warning them.

Most of the episodes appear lost and I got most of the above from the book "Out of the Unknown" by Mark Ward. enter image description here


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