The Catacombs Space 1999 On Location


Space: 1999 was initially booked in to EMI-MGM Elstree Studios, Borehamwood. In September 1973, MGM withdrew from the studio, and the staff were warned it could be closed. Set building for Space: 1999 was stopped, and the production moved to Pinewood Studios (Elstree was reprieved in November, after losing half the staff, but there were further cuts in February 1975).

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This is the gate from the public main road to Pinewood Studios. It is seen in the UFO episode Timelash.

Space: 1999 was filmed at Pinewood Studios, in Buckinghamshire, UK. Pinewood was established in 1935 in the grounds of the Victorian mansion Heatherden Hall, and is most famous as the studios where most of the James Bond films were shot (the 007 stage was built in 1976 for The Spy Who Loved Me, filmed at the same time as Year 2 of Space: 1999).

The early 1970s were difficult times for the film industry, and many studios were struggling. Space: 1999 was one of the few productions at Pinewood at the time. The other major productions in 1974 werethe sci-fi film Rollerball, and the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. Unusually, during the second series, a Disney film briefly displaced Space: 1999 from one of it's stages. In October 1976, during the filming of Dorzak and Devil's Planet, stage M was given to Disney's One of our Dinosaurs is Missing. Other Pinewood films in 1976 included Kevin Connor's At the Earth's Core (before the director joined as an episode director), The Eagle Has Landed, the TV series The New Avengers and in a newly built "007" stage The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Space: 1999 production was based on L &M stages, two adjacent stages with a shared administration building. Gerry Anderson would later use the same stages for the 1980s series Space Precinct. Several episodes were filmed in the Pinewood Studios backlot, the gardens of Heatherden Hall or neighbouring Black Park.

Another location used in The Rules Of Luton was H.F.Warner Ltd landfill site in Knowl Hill (on the A4 between Reading and Maidenhead).

Pinewood gate house

Pinewood studios gate house in the late 1970s (picture thanks to Simon Rhodes). The main entrance is now further up the road. Google streetview

Heatherden Hall

Heatherden Hall has been used in many films, including at the end of Gerry Anderson's Doppelganger. The conservatory was built for The Great Gatsby (1974) but was demolished sometime after 2005. Google streetview

Map of Pinewood layout

The map shows the layout of Pinewood Studios, with the public road and entrances at the bottom, Heatherden Hall bottom left, Black Park at top, and L and M stages top right. L was used for standing Moonbase sets (including Main Mission and Command Center), while M was used for the lunar surface, alien planets, spaceships interiors and other sets required for specific episodes. Each stage is 30 metres long by 27 metres wide and 30 metres tall.

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M stage - L stage is to the left of the photo. Google streetview showing L stage doors

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L&M stage offices and main entrance; all the production offices for Space 1999 were located here. Dressing rooms on the top floor. These offices face towards Black Park behind the two stages. In 1976 the steps extended further out (the outline is still visible in the tarmac). Google street view

Image thanks to Mark Shaw

Quentin Pierre stands in costume outside the main entrance in early 1976 (image thanks to Mark Shaw).

Landau and Bain in 1976

Landau and Bain with their Rolls Royce, parked opposite the main entrance to the L and M stage offices. The other side of the fence is Black Park. After make-up and costume, Landau and Bain would descend the staircase of the admin block, walk out to their Rolls, and been driven round to the front of the studio where they would make their entrance. Everyone else took the short corridor from the admin block directly into the studio.

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Wider shot of L&M stages. Gerry's office is located on the lower left corner, ground floor.

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Gerry Anderson's office during production of Space 1999

A number of other stages were used at Pinewood. A long thin stage called the North Tunnel (53m by 8m, now renamed the Long Process Stage) was often used (it appears as the Eagle interiors in Guardian Of Piri, Space Brain, Testament Of Arkadia, temple interior in Matter Of Balance, and the waste dome corridor in Bringers Of Wonder part 2).

At one end of the North Tunnel stage is another set called H (27 x 11m) which was occasionally used, often at the same time as the North Tunnel (it was the travel tubes and corridors in Guardian Of Piri, End Of Eternity and Testament Of Arkadia, Eagle interiors in Full Circle and Death's Other Dominion, and Sandra's quarters in Last Enemy). In Year 2, it was the temple interior in A Matter of Balance.

Map showing North Tunnel and H stage

Very occasionally, the unit would use another stage such as B or C, near Heatherden Hall and the Pinewood offices. These are the oldest stages at Pinewood, each 33 x 25m. They were used for the glade in New Adam New Eve, and the planet and interiors in Devil's Planet. Another stage, F (located between the L and M stages and the North Tunnel stage), was used for the alien dome interior in Immunity Syndrome.

Map showing B stage
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Martin Landau and Barbara Bain gave the cast and crew presents around Christmas during filming. In 1974 they gave an address book. In 1976, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain gave each of the cast and crew a clock. This is Zienia Merton's. It is inscribed "From Barbara & Martin, Space 1999".


Contents copyright Martin Willey
Thanks to Mike Prendergast for many pictures
Space: 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment