The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
La Nuit Special Cosmos 1999

Year 1 French titles Year 2 French titles Year 2 French titles: Alerte Rouge

Série Club ("Club series") is themed French satellite/ cable channel, which has run since 1993. It shows television series in all genres from science fiction to police series. It had a special "Space 1999 Night" on 13 September 1999, showing several episodes. There was also a documentary presented by Sophie Simon (sitting in a Joe Colombo Elda armchair, with black cushions instead of white as seen in the series). The show featured many clips from the series (including scenes from War Games, Mission Of The Darians, The Metamorph and Matter Of Balance), as well as scenes from Thunderbirds and UFO plus short clips from Anderson's other shows. It included a new interview with Martin Landau.

Sophie Simon Sophie Simon Martin Landau

Landau: I liked the concept. I liked the idea of the moon being a colony. I liked the fact that we were being stupid and using it as a waste dump for nuclear waste. And I liked the idea of it going off into space and not being able to control its trajectory. Star Trek is years in the future, they can run around and do what they want. The Moon has 300 people on board, and we can't procreate, we can only support, because of the hydroponics, and the vegetables, just the 300. We need a planet that we can colonise and serve our needs, this is the concept. And we can't steer this thing, we're not emotionally or technologically able to do that even if we wanted to, in 1975, to go into deep space. It's an accident, and we're not ready for it. So I liked that idea.

Martin Landau

September 13th 1999 seemed very far away, and a lot's happened since then, none of it quite like what happens on the series. We have not colonised the moon, the moon has not blasted out of orbit.

My first meeting with Gerry Anderson, he and Abe Mandell came to my house in Beverly Hills, - at the time I was married to Barbara ...Bain... - and presented the series to us. And I felt that science fiction was a very good way to go at that moment in time. We had recently left Mission Impossible - and this is before Star Wars - and I just felt, I had always liked science fiction, I always felt it was a wonderful way to say things without ... if you try to say those things in a contemporary television show, it would become preachy, it would become speechy, it would become like church, but in a science fiction context, you could get away with a lot of things.

Gerry Anderson Gerry Anderson

When I met with Gerry Anderson, we talked about the possibilities. I know that he had done puppet shows before that, I think maybe, UFO, he had done one season of UFO, but he wasn't used to working with... I've just worked with Pinocchio, so I've worked with wooden actors too... that's a joke, but anyway...

(of Sylvia) Her influence was very important, because she had a style, she had a ... feel, the costuming, a lot of the things in the first season were things that Sylvia, and Barbara and I talked about.

(Of Fred Freiberger) Well, I'm not a big fan, I think he hurt the show. I think he hurt Star Trek. I thought the year he did it, it went downhill. So he certainly didn't help us. I fought with him all the time. You see, I think an episode should enhance the character, it should serve the character. Many times in the second year my character had to serve the script, and to do things that he shouldn't do.

I knew Commander Koenig, I understood him, and in the second year he did things he should never have done to accommodate a story point in the script. I used to fight over that, I'd say this is wrong, we'd have meetings.

Fred Freiberger, he would bring up a script and I'd say, this is terrible. Helena wouldn't do this. Koenig wouldn't do this. Alan wouldn't do this. These characters would not do this. The only reason they're doing this is to serve this script, and it's wrong. And sometimes I'd win those battles and sometimes I'd lose them. Sometimes there was a rewrite, sometimes there wasn't. I wasn't happy the second year. I just thought we were turning the show into a cartoon, into a Mr Magoo.

Sophie Simon Sophie Simon

Brian Johnson and his team ultimately worked with George Lucas on Star Wars, as you probably know. Now with computer graphics it would probably be simpler to do what we did, but those special effects and the production values on Space 1999 still hold up.

I really think that doing a science fiction show on a weekly basis is very hard. We did episodes that were not so good, we did episodes that are okay, and we did some wonderful ones. You have to be proud of that because it's so hard. You see movies that take 6 months of preproduction and ...storyboards, the building of models. I mean Titanic was preparing for a year before they turned the cameras. We finished the show, we'd start another one the next day.

(Of Star Trek) It's a different concept, a different show, a different feeling. I was asked to do the original Star Trek, to do Spock. Gene Roddenberry asked me to do it, I did Mission Impossible instead. We were stages 7 and 8 at Desilu Studios which then became Paramount, and they were on 9 and 10. Bruce Geller, who created Mission Impossible, and Gene Roddenberry's office were side by side. My dressing room and Leonard Nimoy's dressing room were on the same floor in the same building. I knew what Star Trek was, and I knew what Space 1999 was. There was no reason for any competitive feelings because they were two different shows. Star Trek was much more philosophical.philosophical and more ... optimistic. And ours was much more survival and reality based.

The only real vivid colours were the sleeves. Everything else was ... caramel ice cream.

Take a show like the black hole - the black sun - where we talk to God and God's a woman. I mean, that's a pretty interesting idea, where Barry and I become old men as we're going through this experience, as if we're on an acid trip, on some psychedelic. All kind of things start happening to us, and we actually hear God's voice which is a female voice. That's pretty progressive stuff.

We, on one episode, are moving through two warring planets, and we're right in the middle. And if they have a war, we're going to perish, because we're right in the line of fire. And that was going on at that time in the 70s in the Middle East, where we and Kissinger at that moment in time, was... I became Henry Kissinger in that episode, because all I had to do was stop them. So we took a news event right at that moment in time and commissioned it to a writer to write that concept, and in three weeks we had that script and were shooting it, while that was still going on.

People often say, as they going to ...maybe they should re-do Space 2009. I think it's highly improbable. There's no end to space. It's infinite. (smiles)

Sophie Simon Sophie Simon Sophie Simon

Copyright Martin Willey