The Beta Cloud
A mystery illness strikes the moon. An eerie cloud utters a sentence of death. And a frightening space creature runs amok. ITC summary
- Shooting script dated 11th June 1976. Filmed 20th July- 6th August 1976. Additional sequences scripted 1st Sept 1976, final shooting script 16th Sept, filmed 21st Sept-22nd Sept 1976
- A "Double Up Helena" script, filmed while Landau and Bain were on holiday in the South of France.
- In Starlog 40 (November 1980) Freiberger described the script:
What I did was try to get into the situation. How do you defeat the undefeatable? What intrigued me is that the Alphans could not seem to defeat this creature. Finally Maya becomes a bee and enters the creatures ear, discovering it to be a machine
- Bob Lynn met Dave Prowse at the Harrods department store when he asked for advice on exercise equipment. Immediately after the role in this episode he was cast as Darth Vader in Star Wars.
The cloud was made by injecting condensed milk into a water tank and filming from underneath. The milk was swirled to simulate laser hits.
- The Creature's molecular structure eludes Maya. How does she normally find the molecular structure of something?
- How does a formless cloud construct a mechanical robot? What does it want with Alpha's life support core? The cloud knows where the life support is, but the Creature wanders dumbly through the base inspecting random rooms like Command Center and Weapons Center.
- Alpha's temperature meter is very crude (with 5 C intervals) and drops immediately.
- The robot is intelligent enough to fly an Eagle but stupid enough to chase television screens.
- Smashing the windows to escape, the Creature releases chlorine into Alpha's air circulation system.
- Why do the Alphans have Ionethermyecin, a drug "too powerful for humans"? Was it developed to attack aliens? Why use anaesthetic at all- why not a poison? They have already tried to kill the Creature, why do they try to put it to sleep?
1503 days after leaving Earth orbit (Sat 25 Oct 2003)
1 fatality, Tom Graham. Three guards are attacked and left injured or dead for the duration of the episode
Eagle 6 (Graham)
Kreno animal (as in The AB Chrysalis), bee, lizard animal (as in Seed Of Destruction), mouse
- The Kreno animal from A B Chrysalis is seen again. Unlike that episode, it is fine in normal air.
The "Peculiar Cloud". The Creature is a robot, not a life-form.
The Weapons section has a propogatoscope from A Matter Of Balance (actually a Krokus color SL photographic enlarger).
- It is asserted nothing can live in a vacuum. In Space Warp and Bringers Of Wonder Maya changes into space animals that can live in a vacuum.
One shot of Eagle 6 returning to Alpha actually shows an Eagle leaving the base.
When the travel tube doors close on the Creature, its hair is trapped
- The original script ran short and is padded with additional scenes of Fraser setting up the laser barrier and Tony and Maya firing the laser battery at the cloud.
- The script ended with Tony reading a magazine showing Catherine Schell as a model. Maya transforms into Catherine Schell and asks if he likes the look- he says yes. "Well, nobody ever accused you of having good taste." she says, and rips up the picture.
- The "mobile H T generator" that Fraser uses is a solid wooden box, 45cm x 25cm x 43cm (17.5" x 10" x 17"). It was for sale at a prop website in 2009 for £1495.
- From Patrick Zimmerman: In the Butterworth novelization, it is Mark Macinlock that flies (and dies) in Eagle 6. Macinlock was the pilot intended to replace Alan Carter in year 2. In his adaption of The Metamorph, Butterworth erroneously used the name that appeared in the script; Macinlock, instead of Carter. Subsequent episodes used Carter, so this was a convenient way to kill him off. Interestingly, the Mark Macinlock character is used extensively in the first 4 German original Year 2 novels by H. W. Springer.