The CatacombsThe Continuity Guide
Medical Monitors
by Martin Willey

Medical Monitors

Medical monitors in 1999 rarely require direct contact with the patient, and are able to produce valuable diagnostic information merely through close proximity. The most versatile is the life support pack placed over the patient's chest, although by 2000 Dr Russell favoured her small bioscan units for rapid analysis of diagnostic data.

Breakaway Dorzak Dorzak

This scanner unit is also used in technical sensors, but in the medical setting it provides high quality cranial scans, as witnessed in both Breakaway and Dorzak

Wrist monitors

Wrist monitor in The Full Circle

All personnel wear a monitor like a wrist-watch, monitoring their vital signs and alerting Medical staff if required. The monitors are featured in Guardian Of Piri, Force Of Life & The Full Circle, but worn in every episode. The captions are:

Note also a good view in Collision Course (on Alan). In Missing Link, Koenig is seen wearing a conventional analogue watch. In Force Of Life, the monitors raise alarms if the wearer dies ("Technician Mark Dominix Life Functions Terminated"). This was also scripted but not seen in End Of Eternity & The Troubled Spirit. In Dragon's Domain medical computer raises the alarm when Cellini's "pulse and metabolic rate peaked in the danger zone".

Eagle pilots are routinely monitored, their vital signs shown as two traces on a video screen. The screen may be shown in Main Mission (Matter Of Life And Death, Voyager's Return, The Metamorph) or from Medical (Ring Around The Moon, Missing Link).

In the September 1973 writer's guide, the wrist monitors are described as a "concave lens" within the uniform sleeve.

Force Of Life The Full Circle Collision Course Guardian Of Piri

In Year 2 they are not worn, except in Journey To Where. The new Journey To Where design has a coloured screen and buttons captioned "H", "T" & "R", for heart, temperature and respiration (plus the text "heat" above the "R"). All the close-ups show the same prop, on the probe and the actor's wrists.

Journey To Where Journey To Where Journey To Where

The prop was a Sicura Instalite Volta III watch, from 1974. The chrome case was 39 x 44mm. It did not have a conventional dial; the time was a narrow window on rotating numbers on the left of the face (the right side was text: Sicure, 17 jewels, Instalite Electric). The clock movement was mechanical (hence the winding dial), but it had two batteries for the light. It was the first watch to have a light for night viewing (pressing the top button on the right side illuminated a bulb above the screen; this is what the prop maker adapted to make the health monitor). Sicura bought the failing brand Breitling in 1979 and from then on used that brand name.

Life Support packs

Black Sun close up

Placed over the chest, with no apparent connection to the patient, these units monitored and maintained life support. First seen in Breakaway, they are featured in Missing Link, Alpha Child, Collision Course, Space Brain, Dragon's Domain, The Mark Of Archanon & Dorzak.

Breakaway Breakaway Black Sun Missing Link Dragon's Domain Dorzak



In Breakaway and Matter Of Life And Death, oscilloscopes are used to monitor brain waves. The unit monitoring Steiner's brain waves is a British-made "Advance Instruments" OS250 oscilloscope (on the front the brand is hidden by the "Steiner" name label, but the "A" logo is visible on the left side handle). The model number is almost visible on the top right of the front panel. There is no inputs connected on the picture, so the scope is just running by itself with a slow trigger selected. Also there is some sort of an adaptor connected to the channel 1 input connector. Thanks to Ville Laustela. More

Breakaway Matter Of Life And Death Guardian Of Piri

Bioscan Unit

Small match-box sized units held in the hand and scanned over the patient. Of at least two designs, they feature two perspex slides which can be extended alternately from the top. Used in The Mark Of Archanon, New Adam, New Eve, The Beta Cloud, Space Warp, The Bringers Of Wonder part 2, The Lambda Factor, The Seance Spectre, Dorzak, The Immunity Syndrome.

New Adam, New Eve The Beta Cloud The Bringers Of Wonder part 2 Space Warp Dorzak The Lambda Factor The Immunity Syndrome

Alphan Monitors

These units were fitted on trolleys and could be moved as required. Three designs were used in Year 1 (from Earthbound onwards). Two were oscilloscopes with round screens (one had the caption "Alphan Monitor XB162", and was used as a normal square television screen in End Of Eternity).

Alpha Child Missing Link Guardian Of Piri Guardian Of Piri Space Brain End Of Eternity

The third, with a blue label reading "Alphan Medical", had an array of light and four voltmeter dials, and also appeared as the "Power Control" in The A B Chrysalis.

Alpha Child Guardian Of Piri Voyager's Return Space Brain The Bringers Of Wonder part 1

As the "Power Control ZB Unit Mk 12 RB6S":

The A B Chrysalis The A B Chrysalis

In Year 2 the square screen configuration was always used (the round oscilloscope screen disappears). They were also used for non-medical functions. Mostly we see "Alphan Monitor XB162". It appears showing heart, temperature and respiration scales for Koenig, Russell and Carter in Journey To Where. In The Beta Cloud, it can be used for normal video calls (it is also in Life Support). It is also used for real time video, monitoring of Koenig's sickbed in The Bringers of Wonder. During this episode it is revamped, adding the label "Medical Center Relay", and losing the "Alphan Monitor XB162" label. It shows X-ray graphs and medical sensor data in Dorzak, and finally displays text from Tony Verdeschi's computer file in The Immunity Syndrome.

Journey To Where The Beta Cloud The Beta Cloud The Bringers Of Wonder part 1 Dorzak Dorzak The Immunity Syndrome

"Monitor 8" is a trolley with a grid screen, possibly revamped from an earlier model. The label on top right is "A12". It is seen in The Bringers of Wonder (showing Koenig's brain activity), and in two different versions in Dorzak, first in it's original medical version, then revamped as "Tech Monitor XZ3" (the "8" after "Monitor" has been hidden).

The Bringers Of Wonder part 1 Dorzak Dorzak
The Lambda Factor

The Lambda Factor also features an unusual configuration consisting of one or two small screens fitted on trolleys.

In The Mark Of Archanon & All That Glisters, Helena's Alpha Log Recorder was modified to record life signs.

Brain/Heart/Respiration Monitor

Space Warp

A panel with three rows of lights which fluctuate according to the relevant life signs. Featured in The Mark Of Archanon as a mobile unit on a trolley (two were used, with slightly different designs). This also appeared as a computer panel in Medical (eg The Exiles, or in the Eagle in All That Glisters).

Dorzak The Beta Cloud

Copyright Martin Willey. Thanks to Marcus Lindroos