The Seance Spectre
A new planet is sighted, but is it habitable? By holding a seance, one of Alpha's crew becomes convinced that it is and tries to force Commander Koenig to evacuate all Alphans onto this new, green land. ITC summary
- Shooting script titled The Mutiny dated 16th September 1976. Filmed 18th October- 30th October 1976
- Wrong credits: Ken Hutchison is incorrectly credited as Ken Hutchinson
- The crashed Eagle had a special break-apart leg pod made.
- The episode shows massed Eagles in space, created by repeated exposures of the same model.
- The cloud is an air-brushed painting.
- Damaged Eagle model photos
Tora, glimpsed briefly in the Eagle window, appeared in the original Year 1 title shot (seen on some prints of Matter of Life And Death).
- "Internal energy. Electrical storms... rain, sleet.. an atmosphere." "There is a planet, but it's in the earliest stages of formation. There's no green grass, no rivers, no trees. We've arrived fifty million years too early." Tora appears to be protoplanet, still hidden in the cloud that formed it (normally when the parent sun ignites, its stellar winds sweep these gases away). The planet is also producing a secondary atmosphere from volcanoes, creating carbon dioxide. The stage is equivalent to the Earth's early PreCambrian period, about 5 billion years ago (50 million years ago was the Eocene, in which modern mammals were dominant).
- "If Tora's atmosphere gets into our recycling system, our air will be lethal." The Moonbase recycling system should be closed and well sealed as they are in space (that's what airlocks are for). The danger is more likely to be the physical damage of colliding with the cloud.
- "I have a reading on the damage. Pressure hull pierced. Transmission silenced." Obviously some Eagle systems are transmitting this information to Sandra, so she must mean voice transmissions.
- The psychology is suspect: saturation does not lead to boredom, and pictures of the countryside are hardly a substitute for being outside.
- Greensickness is an old name for what is now called chlorosis. It is an iron-deficiency anaemia, primarily of young women, characterized by a greenish-yellow discolouration of the skin. In archaic medicine, it was thought to be caused by sexual frustration among unmarried girls (in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is told "Out you greensickness carrion! Out, you baggage!").
- When Maya changes into a plant to create oxygen, her plant form is using the chloroplasts in the leaves to transform light energy into oxygen (photosynthesis). Oxygen is actually created by a water-oxidation process, not from carbon dioxide (although in high carbon dioxide, photo-respiration will occur). Some plants only breathe at night, to conserve water, and many don't produce oxygen when carbon dioxide levels are high. Using plant oxygen production to offset human oxygen consumption (and carbon dioxide production) in a closed ecological system is not simple. A more practical strategy would have been open the spacesuit air tanks. Maya could also change into a small animal that doesn't consume much oxygen or produce much carbon dioxide.
"Our oxygen recycling plant is less than five per cent effective". Oxygen is not normally the immediate problem - the build-up of carbon dioxide is. At 2% concentration, carbon dioxide will kill. Oxygen rebreathers (in spacesuits, diving, mountain climbing and firefighting) work primarily by scrubbing the carbon dioxide from the breathed out air.
2012 days after leaving Earth orbit (Thu 17 Mar 2005)
1 fatality (Greg Sanderson).
- Area B7 is explained in the script to be one of the first nuclear waste dumping sites. It is close enough to the Moonbase to drive to in a moonbuggy.
- Launch pads 6, 8 and 9 are mentioned. Only 5 are visible around the base, although we know from The Exiles there are more in outlying locations.
- The rocket gun is seen (here firing a green laser beam, rather than an explosive shell). It is also used in The Beta Cloud.
- For the only time in the series (apart from showing Red Alert), the Command Center desk screens show a colour image, not black and white
- Koenig wears a silver Anti-Radiation suit. This kind of suit is not worn in the nuclear waste disposal areas in either Breakaway or Bringers Of Wonder
- We see an evacuation of Moonbase Alpha. Like Another Time, Another Place, desks are removed as well - but not Koenig's desk or the Moonbase computers (one desk and the computers were also left behind in the evacuation in War Games).
Eagle 1 (Koenig- 2nd, crashed and damaged); 2 (Koenig- 3rd); 3 (Tony); 4 (Koenig- 1st); 6 (Alan)
Catherine Schell and two child actors (only the right child appeared in the episode)
Plant, child Maya, lizard-head alien.
- Maya changes into a plant for the entire three hour trip. This contradicts Rules Of Luton and Space Warp where she can only remain in one form for an hour. Did she change back several times during the flight?
- Lots of reused Eagle footage (several Eagle evacuation shots are from Guardian Of Piri)
Maya says "We'll be swallowed by red dust and toxic gases." (sc 115) Tora is obviously yellow-orange in colour. The script described Tora as red, but the line was not changed at filming.
- Wires are seen on the Eagle model in several planet shots, due to the light sky colour. Thanks to James.C
Sanderson's spacesuit visor knocks open during the fight.
- The title is obscure: the spectre is the habitable planet that the mutineers see in their astroprediction (seance). The title suggests instead a ghost story. The title is also in British English (the American spelling would be "Seance Specter").
- In the script Sanderson is named Sandor. It is never explained what surface exploration teams are looking for or why they have to be isolated for so long.
- The models pictured were scripted to be posing by a stream or an oak, to demonstrate they were nature photos.
- In the script, Maya turns into one such girl (a black model named Venicia Day). Tony is irritated when Alan comes on to her. The scene was shot (see pictures) but cut from the completed episode.