The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
Alibe Parsons

Alibe Parsons interviewed at a Fanderson convention in 1991.

Zenia Merton was always the communications officer and she had to go to Norway to do a film [Kosmetikkrevolusjonen (1977)]. So they were looking for someone to fill in, and actually take over her part till the end of the series. Also because there was supposed to be a third series which there wasn't in the end.

It was like being thrown into the deep end, because it wasn't the beginning of that particular series, it was near the end, which means that things were in gear for the way they were moving things. At that point they just really wanted the body basically. I don't mean that in a rude way, but it wasn't as though they were at the beginning of the series, when you had a lot of episodes that you had to deal with. You have to be concerned about how the development of the character, but it had already gone so far.

What they did basically, it's a bit like in Dallas, one of the characters left or something, they they did a whole set of change of the character and because he decided to come back, then it all became a dream. I mean we didn't go that far but the point is that it was one of those situations where the character had been established. There wasn't much more you could really do about it, except go along and be that person.

When you're being plunged into a situation where people have been working together, both the crew and the cast members have been working together for a long long time, it's a bit daunting. The thing that I think is nice about actors, not just actors but people in film, is that they almost sense that you might feel uncomfortable, so they do go out of their way, most of them, to make you feel welcome. Because the more relaxed you are, the easier it is to to do your job. Basically what we all want to do is get a job done properly, done well and and not have a lot of nerves, because when you are very tense, very nervous, it shows on the screen unfortunately.

I had a wonderful time doing Doctor Who. I did it with Colin Baker, who's not my favourite Doctor Who. I got hooked on Doctor Who with Tom Baker. I'm a real fan, I love Tom Baker. I think probably we all have our favourite Doctor Whos. Colin was lovely. I enjoyed that very, very much. Someone at the BBC had said we're not going to do this any longer, so it had stopped for a year. That's one of the shows I really really wanted to do, because I like it so much, and I'm such a fan of it. Within 2 or 3 days my agent rang up, they want to see you about being on Doctor Who, they're doing it again. I thought that was really weird because it's really out of the blue I'm completely out of what I'm talking about work or anything and suddenly there was this.

James Cameron, he was an interesting man to work with. He's not like an arty kind of director. He knew exactly what he wanted every single shot, precisely. You have to be very precise with him. He said you had to be two centimetres this way, than it was 2 centimetres, not one. It made it a little, not difficult to work with him, but you had to really concentrate on what I'm doing now. Sigourney Weaver, I must say I have so much admiration respect for that woman, she is amazing because having to do all these very precise things, because of precise nature of the way things were filmed in Aliens, obviously a lot of special effects. And yet she had to do that and still have all this emotion, she was wonderful, fantastic, never lost her temper, nothing, she was just really amazing.

I was born in Los Angeles. Everyone knows, in Los Angeles you have 2 things when you're born, one is a driver's license, the other one isn't a license to act. In my case it was just a driver's license. I studied drama there, theatre arts we call it, where you learn to sing and dance and do all those things. You also learn to do lights, and you learn to make costumes, you learn to paint sets, and it's it's quite a fascinating thing to do.

I think I can sing that song "I was born under wandering star", very much so, because I've always liked to travel. I had visited Europe on holiday, liked it very much, and thought I'd like to spend some time here. Having come back, and I was very young at the time, some people that I had met, somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody in a theatre group initially, rang me up and said "listen our leading lady has left or got married or fallen pregnant, I don't know what. Would you like to come over and do this job?" I said "yes fine, I'd like to", thinking he was gonna be about a 3 month deal in it. I just ended up coming back and forth, and found out that I'm spending more time in Italy than I'm spending in the states. I think it's time for me to give up my flights there, which is pretty expensive.

That's how I actually came to Europe. I enjoyed living in Italy very much. I was in Italy for quite a long time, and then I got married and went to Spain. Then I got un-married and came to England. I found that though I've done a lot of theatre and films and stuff in Italy and Spain, really the quality of the work that I wanted to do was here, as opposed to the States. I was sort of on my way to New York, vaguely, but I came here. I didn't have an agent or anything here. I was on my way to New York. I met a girlfriend of mine who was here, and she said "oh you must come with me to my agents". I went to this agent with my girlfriend. I'm sitting in the waiting room and this guy came and said "you're an actress aren't you?" "yes, yes" "Do you mind if I just submit your picture to the BBC". I said "yeah, but no, I'm going to the airport." It happened, it was a series called Gangsters which indeed I did end up doing. That's how I got, not stuck in Blighty exactly, because I do like England, I have a lot of friends here, and I have actually family connections as well. There were 4 or 5 leads, and I was one of them. I did I did 2 years of Gangsters actually. It became a sort of comic strip in the end, sending ourselves up, which was just the best fun in the world. It was really great fun.

I've been with the Royal Shakespeare Company, with the National Theatre, and that's the kind of work I wanted to do, which is not easily available in the states. It is more so now, but that's been some years ago. You just couldn't do the kind of work that you can do here, and I thought that was important to me.

Funnily enough, I was a great Space 1999 fan. I used to watch it all the time. [Of the 2 series] I can't say that I remember so strongly, I would have to say I prefer the first one if I had to make a choice. If I really had to make a choice, I preferred the firs. I think that usually is true of any long series like that, that that has to depend on that much ... creativity is not the word, imagination really ... in a very fixed given circumstance. They didn't have computer graphics, they didn't have unlimited funds. Special effects is very expensive and very time consuming and when you're doing a once a week telly show you've got to sort of sort things out and so that the that gets done very quickly.

If you do an hour and a half to 2 hour film for the cinema, you normally have at least 8 to 12 weeks to do just that 2 hours. That's just the filming of it, we're not talking about the post production and things like that, and the pre production, nothing like that. Whereas when you're doing a half an hour for a telly, you're lucky if you have a few days. It's very hard to work in those restrictions, get a quality product out and not have some variation. The thing that they do have control over, more than anything else, are the actors. Everybody's under pressure, I think that's the bottom line.