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Adam Royston
Aliases: Doctor Royston; Doctor Adam Royston
Continuity: X the Unknown
Notability: Main character
Type: Scientist
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Location: Lochmouth, Scotland
Status: Alive
Born: 1903 (approx) [1]
First: X the Unknown (1956)
Actor: Dean Jagger

Adam Royston was the main character from the 1956 sci-fi film X the Unknown by Hammer Film Productions. He was played by the late actor Dean Jagger.


Adam Royston was the lead scientist working under Doctor John Elliott at the Atomic Energy Establishment in Lochmouth, Scotland. Elliott assigned Royston to analyze a strange incident which took place during a military training session in the middle of a patch of barren land. Lt. Bannerman explained how two of their soldiers discovered an intense pocket of radioactive material that caused a massive fissure in the Earth. The energy from the fissure was so intense that it caused severe burns across the soldiers' bodies.

After conducting some tests, Royston determined that whatever radiation may have caused the injuries was now gone. He left the site bemused and unable to determine what could have caused the fissure.

The following evening, Royston learned about a young boy named Willie Harding who had been admitted to the hospital with third degree radiation burns, similar to those on the men that Royston examined the evening prior. After visiting with Harding's parents, Adam learned that Willie was last seen with his friend Ian Osborn. Royston found the boy at a nearby church and asked him where Willie and he had been playing. Ian told him about an old tower in the marshes. Royston went to the tower and found a vagrant named "Old Tom" sleeping in one of the upper chambers. He discovered that Tom had stolen a container filled with trinium from his private work shop.

Royston soon met with a security chief named Inspector McGill who was assigned to investigate the Willie Harding incident as well as the material stolen from Royston's laboratory. They learned that Willie Harding never came close enough to the tower to have been exposed to any harmful radiation. They went to the hospital to see Willie, but the boy unfortunately died. Willie's father blamed Doctor Royston and all scientists like him for the death of his son.

Royston was soon called in to investigate another matter. A hospital employee named Harry Grimsdyke had been mutated and killed by something in the radiology lab. Adam theorized that whatever killed the doctor came in through a ventilation grate. He began to realize that whatever this mysterious threat was, it definitely originated from the fissure. Consulting with his peers, he provided a wild theory, suggesting that whatever killed Willie Harding and Doctor Grimsdyke may have been a living mass of energy born from the Earth's core which slowly rose to the surface over the course of many centuries. He believed this mass required massive amounts of radioactive energy to sustain itself and was attracted to areas with strong radioactive signatures.

Royston decided that his team should inspect the fissure again, but this time by actually entering it. It was his assistant, Peter Elliot, who found trace evidence of radioactive mud that may have come from the creature responsible for killing the doctor and the boy. Military commander Major Cartwright decided to use explosives to kill whatever might be underground and cement the entire fissure shut. Royston knows that this tactic would prove ineffective however.

Royston hoped that by setting up a cobalt weapon set between a scanner, he might be able to devise a means of destroying the entity with minimal collateral damage. He began putting his theory to the test using the cobalt piles in the facility.

That night, the entity broke through the concrete seal of the fissure and began expanding. It went into the nearby town and claimed four more victims, completely melting them into slag.

Royston convinced his superior, John Elliott, that his initial theory was sound and that he required the stores of cobalt as a means of destroying the creature. He discovered that the monster was just outside the research center and was heading towards the reactor building. Royston believed that had to lure it back to the fissure if they were to have any chance of stopping it. He finally made visual contact with the entity, which proved to be a roiling mass of radioactive mud.

Royston set up his Cobalt containers, but was not comfortable with the element's instability. Along with several others, he brought the Cobalt and the equipment back to the fissure, and the monster, detecting the Cobalt's presence, returned to the scene. It was actually Peter Elliott who detonated the Cobalt bomb which ultimately destroyed the creature. Although still unsure of what he had witnessed, he was confident that the threat had now abated.

Notes & Trivia

  • Originally, X the Unknown was to be directed by Joseph Walton (real name Joseph Losey). However, actor Dean Jagger refused to work with Walton, believing him to be a communist sympathizer. Walton was eventually replaced with Leslie Norman. [2][3]


  • Doctor Adam Royston: The energy trapped in that trinium has been sucked right out of it. And furthermore, that window was barred and these doors were locked all night. So whoever it was came in here must be most... unusual.
  • Doctor Adam Royston: It's a particle of mud. But by virtue of its atomic structure it emits radiation. That's all it is. Just mud.

External Links


  1. Date approximated based upon the age of actor Dean Jagger.
  2. IMDB; X the Unknown; Trivia section
  3. X the Unknown at Wikipedia