The Catacombs Episode Guide

The Seance Spectre

The Lambda Factor Year 2 - Episode 20 Dorzak

Writer Donald James
Director Peter Medak
Guest stars Ken Hutchison,
Carolyn Seymour
Original Title The Mutiny
Belgium (Flemish) Muiterij Mutiny
Spain La sesión fantasma The ghost session
France/Canada Le spectre The Spectre
Germany Die Meuterei The Mutiny
Italy Tora
Japan Move, Moon! TORA, the Planet of Nostalgia
Portugal Visões Perigosas Dangerous Visions
Portugal O Espectro da Visão The Spectre Of The Vision

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.

Background

The Seance Spectre

Sets

Int. Command Centre
Int. Medical Centre
Int. Alpha Corridor
Int. Travel Tube
Int. Recreation Centre
Int. Computer Room
Int. Elevator
Int. Eagle Pilot Section
Int. Eagle Passenger Section
Ext. Moon Surface (Area B7)

The Recreation Center set has windows to the surface, unusual in a Year Two set. It was seen in the previous episode, The Lambda Factor

The Seance Spectre

SFX

  • 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
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The Seance Spectre Original titles

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).

Music

Science

  • "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 anemia, primarily of young women, characterized by a greenish-yellow discoloration 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 dixoide, photorespiration will occur). 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.
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Continuity

Chronology:

2012 days after leaving Earth orbit (Thu 17 Mar 2005)

Alpha Personnel:

The Seance Spectre

1 fatality (Greg Sanderson).

Alpha Technology:

  • 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).
images/space/tss/sptssz031.jpg (45142 bytes)
Area B7: more details

Eagles:

The Seance Spectre

Eagle 1 (Koenig- 2nd, crashed and damaged); 2 (Koenig- 3rd); 3 (Tony); 4 (Koenig- 1st); 6 (Alan)

Maya transformations:

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Catherine Schell and two child actors (only the right child appeared in the episode)

Plant, child Maya, lizard-head alien.

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Planets:

Tora (proto-planet)

Aliens:

None

Footage:

Errors

The Seance Spectre
  • 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
The Seance Spectre
Sanderson's spacesuit visor knocks open during the fight.

Observations

The Seance Spectre
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Merchandise:

Links

External Links


Contents copyright Martin Willey