Everyone knows Jules Verne as the eminent nineteenth century French author who invented science fiction and wrote such classics as "Around the World in 80 Days", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Journey to the Centre of the Earth".

But until now the assumption has always been that these were simply works of fiction dreamt up in Verne's book-lined study.

"The Strange Voyages of Jules Verne", however, will reveal that as a young man Jules Verne's life was much more adventurous than anyone has previously realised.

In each of these television movies Jules himself will be the protagonist - together with the American gambler Phileas Fogg (whom he later fictionalised as the globe-trotting Englishman of "Around the World in 80 Days") and Fogg's accident-prone, language-mangling manservant, Passepartout.

Each movie will be the "true story" of one of Verne's sixty five novels - what REALLY happened in "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", or "The Mysterious Island" or "From the Earth to the Moon."

Jules Verne himself - impetuous, enthusiastic, warm-hearted - will be the connecting link: a kind of nineteenth century Indiana Jones who (together with Fogg and Passepartout) finds himself involved in all the great adventures of his era - from the American Civil War to the search for the source of the Nile.

Each story will feature one of the wonderful machines Verne invented: Captain Nemo's "Nautilus", Robur's bat-like flying ship or Ardan's giant interplanetary gun - and reveal either how they changed the course of history or how only Verne's ingenuity and heroism prevented them from doing so.

Verne's voyages will bring him into contact with some of the great personalities of the nineteenth century, real and fictional - like Mark Twain, Wyatt Earp, Thomas Edison, Alexander Dumas, Napoleon III, Otto von Bismarck, H.G.Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle as he himself was discovering Sherlock Holmes.

"The Strange Voyages of Jules Verne" will be a colourful, unpredictable trip through the century during which our own era was born: and a fresh look at some of the most imaginative science fiction stories ever written.





We meet Jules Verne as a struggling author living in an attic in Bohemian Paris. When one of his fellow artists is murdered while translating an ancient text Verne is driven to discover why - and finds himself the target of a mysterious secret society known as the Ring of Fire.

As the assassins hunt Verne along the fog-shrouded banks of the Seine only the intervention of a top-hatted American gambler named Phileas Fogg saves him - with the assistance of his manservant Passepartout. When the same assasins murder the dealer from whom Fogg was about to buy a painting by the 17th century artist Nicholas Poussin - Verne and the American join forces to find out what's going on.

In doing so they come up against the beautiful but deadly Duchess de Rochefouald and her equally enchanting young niece Aurora - with whom Verne falls hopelessly in love.

The trail leads them south - in a balloon invented by Verne's friend Michael Nadar - to the sun-baked village of Rennes Le Chateau, and a mystery dating back to Solomon's Temple and the Fall of Rome.

Which in turn is linked to a terrifying flying ship - and the outcome of the American Civil War.

The finale takes place as Verne, Fogg and Passepartout do battle with the Duchess and the Ring of Fire conspirators high above the Atlantic - and Jules discovers not only the answer to the mystery, but his own destiny as a writer.



This is the adventure during which Jules, Fogg and Passepartout meet the real-life prototype of the character Verne made famous as Captain Nemo - and journey with him and his captivating daughter Laura on the original of the submarine we know today as "The Nautilus".

Nemo is a Polish nobleman who has invented the machine to wreak revenge on the Russian oppressors of his homeland -but when Laura is kidnapped by the agents of Otto von Bismarck, Nemo finds himself being forced to build a fleet of the new war machines to create an even worse tyranny by furthering the Prussian's dreams of dominating Europe.

In a gripping climax in a collapsing submarine on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean Verne, Fogg, Passepartout and Laura have to work out how to prevent the emergence of a form of warfare for which mankind is not yet ready.



Jules Verne and Phileas Fogg, caught in a storm during the world's first trans-Atlantic balloon crossing, land in the middle of beseiged city during the American Civil War.

Jules attempts to break the siege with the assistance of a young telegraph operator named Thomas Edison. Together they build "The Land Ironclad" - a primitive steam-driven tank -and against all the odds succeed in smashing through the enemy lines and saving the city.

But now Jules, Fogg and Passepartout are pursued by a Southern General implacably determined to obtain the tank for the Confederate cause and turn the course of the war.

As Verne flees westward in the Ironclad, deeper into the wilderness, he realises he has created a monster too dangerous to remain in existence.

And when they reach the Mississippi with their enemy close behind it seems the only course is to destroy both themselves and their terrible invention by plunging suicidally into the waters of the great river ...



In a sequel to "The Land Ironclad" Jules and his friends escape from the Mississippi mud, are swept downriver on a raft with a runaway slave and rescued from a lynching party by a Mississippi gambling boat piloted by a would be author named Mark Twain.

But when the ship is captured by the Confederate navy only one thing can save them: the hitherto unrecorded intervention of a submarine in the Mississippi campaign.

A submarine belonging to Verne's old friend, Captain Nemo



Verne's adventures in the West continue as he and Fogg leave the Civil War and head for the frontier in search of lost Aztec treasure - only to find themselves hunted down by a renegade cavalry unit determined to get the loot for themselves.

A situation which prompts Verne and Fogg to build the world's first robot gunfighter: and sets the stage for the strangest shoot-out the Old West ever saw.



Jules Verne, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout are travelling by train across the Ural mountains in Russia when they're ambushed by Cossacks, draged out of their carriage, bundled them onto horses and forced to gallop off into the snowy wastes.

They're taken to the country estates of Count Vladimir Kulkov, a reactionary aristocratic inventor who, determined to stop Tsar Alexander's reforms, has developed a giant gun with which he intends to bombard Moscow.

Where did such a bizarre idea arise? As he surveys the Count's plans, Jules understands all too clearly. He himself concieved of the giant gun and gave all the specifications for it in his novel "From the Earth to the Moon" - never dreaming that anyone would have the resources to actually implement his plan.

But the Count (well provided with serfs to use as slave labour and vast estates in which to create the monstrous artillery piece) has done just that. And having hit certain problems just as news came through of Verne's journey across Russia, decided to insist that he helps him.

His lever: the fate of his serfs. If Verne doesn't assist in the perfection of the giant gun the count will drive them off the land and send them out into Russia as homeless wanderers.

But if Verne DOES help him, reform in Russia will grind to a halt and the entire nation will remain mired in the middle ages.

With the assistance of the Count's beautiful cousin Natasha, Verne and Fogg succeed in protecting the Count's serfs AND saving Moscow by a scheme of unrivalled ingenuity.

A scheme which allows Jules to put his theories of space-travel to the test: with the reactionary aristocrat as the first, unwitting astronaut ...



Verne, now well established as an author, meets the struggling young H.G. Wells and inspires him to create the Time Machine which until then has just been a dream in Wells' mind. The machine takes Verne, Wells and Phileas Fogg back to Jules' own days as a struggling Parisian playwrite when one of the few people who believed in him was Alexander Dumas.

Together Dumas, Wells and Verne's team time-jump back into the 17th century, where Dumas finds the inspiration for his classic novel "The Three Musketeers" - and they're threatened with destruction by none other than Cardinal Richelieu himself.



Verne and his friends, Wells, Dumas and the Three Musketeers attempt to return to the nineteenth century - and overshoot. When the machine finally stops they find themselves in a French chateau shortly before the D Day landings.

A French chateau occupied by the Germans ...

In extricating themselves from this predicament Verne and his friends unwittingly play a crucial role in ensuring the the Allied Invasion of Europe succeeds.



Phileas Fogg has persuaded Jules Verne to accompany him in an attempt to win a wager that he'll become the first man to reach the South Pole.

But halfway through the journey they're caught in a massive Antarctic storm, and as the blizzard rages around them it looks as if there's no chance they'll escape alive.

Until Passepartout falls down a crevasse and in rescuing him they discover a series of bizarre tunnels under the ice. Tunnels which have clearly been cut by some object capable of generating immense heat. Tunnels which lead them to the Pole itself.

Beneath which, in an environment reminiscent of the interior of Nemo's "Nautilus", they find Jean Jacques Robur - one of France's most brilliant scientists.

Robur has discovered - without fully understanding it - the fissile property of uranium, and used it to BURN his way to the centre of the Southern continent.

Now he intends to employ this same technology to melt the entire ice-cap and create a great new domain for France.

In vain do Verne and Fogg try to persuade him of the catastrophic consequences of such an experiment - of the possibility not just of massive flooding around the world as sea-levels rise- but that the earth might begin to wobble so violently on its axis that it begins to disintegrate.

But Robur is determined to go ahead with his scheme - and only a desperate battle beneath the ice can save the planet.



Verne and Fogg are examining newly discovered cave paintings by pre-historic man in caves in southern France when they come across a clue which leads them to believe our ancestors explored much deeper beneath the surface of the planet than anyone had previously realised.

Mounting an expedition, they set off into a labyrinth of tunnels leading, it seems, directly to the centre of the earth.

And discover, in the course of their journey, what REALLY happened to Neanderthal man ...

top of page

Home, Introduction, EpisodesCatacombs, Chats, News, Links