The Catacombs Catacombs Character Guide


Character Name Gerald Simmonds
Played by Roy Dotrice
Sex M
Approx. Age 52
Status Deceased
Section Visitor
Episodes 2 episodes
2 title credits

Breakaway Commissioner Simmonds Title credit
Earthbound Commissioner Simmonds Title credit

In the early script Zero G, the equivalent character is named General Heineman, head of Earth Command. An early draft script has the name Grivas. "Grivas is an older, once important scientist who, now worried about his position, has left science behind and is much more subservient to the political winds that blow." Grivas is responsible for the nuclear waste disposal and has allowed a new "metal" to be deposited which Professor Sabatini (the Bergman role) is worried about, but Grivas thwarts all research. The initial draft of The Void Ahead has the name Symonds, which by Turning Point had become Simmonds.

In the episodes, no first name is given, but in an original filmed scene Koenig watches a newscast where he is named "Gerald". E C Tubb's novelisation also uses "Gerald". Tubb has him die in his adaption (Simmonds lay dead. He lay where he had fallen, his head at an ugly angle, a patch of bright blood beneath his temple. The fall had broken his skull, and the acceleration pressure had done the rest.) This would made it awkward to adapt Earthbound, but Brian Ball skipped the episode in his adaption. Gianni Padoan's Italian novelisation of Earthbound (I naufraghi dello spazio) gives his full name as Gregory Simmonds.

The 2019 revised edition in Year One has him surviving, as in the episode: Koenig staggered a little as he rose to his feet. Bergman, breathing heavily, lay to one side. Simmonds had propped himself up against a wall, and was frowning, dabbing at the blood oozing from a cut on his forehead.

In Tubb's 2003 novelisation Earthbound, Simmonds is revived. He touched his chin, let his fingers rise to probe beneath the hair to trace the hidden scar of the injury which had almost killed him. Had killed him. He would have stayed dead had not Mathias reached him and summoned aid. His spinal cord had remained intact and they splinted his broken neck. His skull had been shattered and his brain exposed but they had repaired the damage and fitted a metal plate.

Image thanks to Shaqui

He was scripted to appear in Dragon's Domain, but Roy Dotrice was not available to film the role in January 1975, so the lines were assigned to Commissioner Dixon, a predecessor.

"Ah, John. Well, you're signed, sealed and approved."
"John. The Meta Probe astronaut virus infection mustn't be allowed to stop us. We must make a manned landing on Meta. Nothing must stop us. Nothing. Good luck."
"Atomic waste disposal is one of the biggest problems of our time."
"We have to hold that story in. We have to. The International Lunar Finance Committee Meeting on the fifteenth. To discuss the Meta signals and, in particular, our probe. Now, if one word, one hint, of failure leaks out, they'll immediately abandon their support for our whole project. So just remember that."
"My office tried to query you about your Emergency Code Alpha One. You didn't seem to be available."
"Well, I must say it does look pretty promising to me. Well done. Now, I have to issue a communique sooner or later. Well, it'll give us more time to consider our next move."

Breakaway Breakaway Breakaway

"Impossible? The impossible takes just a little longer, that's all, Commander."
"Hope is the key to morale. We should maintain it, we should exploit it, ruthlessly, in order to achieve what should be our sole objective. Going home."
"I represent Earth authority here on Moonbase Alpha. And, in that capacity, may I say...welcome."
"None of you thought we had a chance. This is it. All we need is the courage, the vision, .. and the leadership to seize their ship."
"You know, I've been a politician all my life. I don't believe in chance."
"I got to being Commissioner by doing what was necessary, not what was right. Now you have fifteen minutes to persuade your alien friends or freeze."
"Hello Earth. Hello, Earth. This is Commissioner Simmonds returning home. After seventy five years!"

Earthbound Earthbound Earthbound

Copyright Martin Willey. Thanks to Shaqui.