His Cavor, who builds a copper rocket and coats it with a substance called Cavorite to blast him to outer space, is absent-minded and hums and buzzes to himself, distracted by the multitude of ideas in his head.
On set, the only things that we couldn't see in the flesh were the swarms of Selenites, the dome-headed, two-legged creatures that Cavor and his partner in space travel, Mr Bedford, encounter on the Moon.
Bedford realises the vast potential for Cavorite, and together he and Cavor
create a capsule to fly them to the moon.
has a gravity-defying invention named Cavorite, and the two men construct a copper and cast-iron sphere to fly to the Moon.
While his new friend Bedford (Rory Kinnear) suggests a million different practical applications for Cavorite that would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams, Cavor is a scientist who decides to paint it on a home-made spaceship in order to make a voyage of discovery to the moon.
As Professor Cavor pulls the cord of his spaceship's blue velvet curtains and peers out of the art nouveau porthole to see the surface of the Earth below for the very first time, the sense of wonder doesn't need any expensive special effects to get the point across.
Book-ended by the real moon landings in 1969, which HG Wells didn't live to see, the humour has been updated, too, for instance when Cavor suggests the cabin lights be dimmed for take-off.
As a young man, Bedford chances to meet professor Cavor, an unworldly scientist with an amazing invention called Cavorite.
Knowing a miracle when he sees one, and with a keen eye on profit, Bedford encourages Cavor to think big.
THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON (Tuesday, BBC4, 9pm) is a new adaptation of HG Wells' lesser known scientific romance from 1901, starring Mark Gatiss as Prof Cavor
and Rory Kinnear as Julius Bedford.