The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
Catherine Schell

1992 interview in Catherine Schell fan club "Career Shots" number 14 by Jovan Michael Evermann

CAREER SHOTS: I think, the most famous role, at least in magazines, were the Bond movie and Space: 1999. You are always titled as "Bond girl Catherine".

Yes, that's right. I had this tiny little part in the Bond film, and they always say 'the Bond girl'. I find that very weird. Take Diana Rigg - she was the star of the film. And we were only there as photography fodder, publicity fodder, and we spent hours and hours every day were we weren't actually filming, posing for this magazine, posing for that newspaper. Eight hours a day where you weren't working because we were doing photographs for publicity.

CAREER SHOTS: Can you please tell me what's your favourite film or TV show of all you have done?

What do you mean? When I watch it or doing it?


Doing it, it was Space: 1999. It was my fave, because we all got along so well. We had so much fun doing it, so many giggles and laughs and it was really sad when that ended. I was really sad.

CAREER SHOTS: In another interview you told me about the jealousy of Barbara Bain

Oh, yes. Well, she had put it in her contract, so it has been told to me. The producer told me that she had put in her contract that I must never look as myself. I can only ever look as Maya.

And they had written a scene for the episode "Beta Cloud", where Tony is in a hospital reading a magazine. In it is a picture of Catherine Schell, and he is looking at it saying 'Oh, isn't she nice...', and Maya has a look at the picture and she says 'You think that s nice, that's your taste? You re mad' and she then changes herself into Catherine Schell.

And that was completely scratched out, because Barbara had a look at that, and said 'Sorry, in the contract it says she is never ever to look as Catherine Schell. This scene has to be changed

CAREER SHOTS: About the casting of you as Maya, do you know something about the black woman that was originally cast for it?

I know that they had a tremendous problem casting it. And it's all very strange. It is quite a funny little story. I was visiting some friends and I had lunch at their house that day. I hadn't worked for quite some time and I was a little bit desperate. And the friend's husband said to me, 'Don't worry about it, Catherine, when you go home, there will be a telephone call and you get a wonderful job', and I said to him, 'But Gerald, it's Sunday, agents don't work on Sunday'. So, when I was home, what happened? The telephone rang, and it was Gerry Anderson on the telephone. He said 'excuse me for ringing you up personally, but we have a huge problem. We're desperate to cast this part in Space:1999 as a regular, and I'd love to see you and talk about it. Can I send my chauffeur driven Rolls Royce to come to pick you up?' And I said 'But of course'.

The car came and I drove out and we had a long chat at his house and he offered me the part. And he said 'we have to go through a kind of charade at the moment, because your name had been mentioned time and time again, and Barbara doesn't want you'. Because we were very similar types, Barbara and I, only that I was so much younger than she was. You know I was the younger version of Barbara Bain, and I'm sure that she didn't want that. She wanted somebody, okay younger, but who looked totally different from her, so that there would never be a comparison.

And the following day, on a monday, I was picked up again and we did film tests. There were all these girls going in, going out and they were still doing film tests, and I said 'What is this? I've already been offered the part', and that was the charade that they had to play for Barbara, because Barbara had to look at all of the film tests. She had to make a choice, whom she wanted, and in the end she did choose me. But it was with the condition that I looked very strange and that's why I had the make-up, much darker hair and that's why I was never allowed to look like Catherine Schell.

But there was the idea that they were either going to use a chinese girl or they were going to use a black girl for Maya. And they did tests with a chinese girl and a black girl.

CAREER SHOTS: Did Barbara ever knew this charade, later on?

I think, probably. Well, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because she did see the tests with the chinese girl and the black girl and they weren't good enough. She wanted good enough actors, and she accepted me then.

CAREER SHOTS: You did very well with Martin Landau.

Oh yes, wonderful.

CAREER SHOTS: When did you see him last?

My husband (Bill Hays, Ed.) and I were in America in 1987 and we saw him there. I'm not sure whether he actually has come to London since. I think he might, because when he comes to London he rings me up and we always go out to dinner. And I think that was since 1987 that I saw him in London, but I can't tell you when.

PAUL VON SCHELL (Catherine's brother): Once I bumped into Martin Landau in a supermarket in West Hollywood, and I've never met him before. So I was very reserved there but finally I went up to introduce myself. And I said 'l m terribly sorry if I disturb you', and he looked at me very rarely asking 'Who is this guy?' and I said 'l know you don't like this, but I'm Catherine Schell's brother.' And all of a sudden he started to glow and said 'One of the loveliest and greatest human beings I ever had the privilege of knowing'(Catherine laughs). He really said that. And then I left him alone. That was so kind of him to say that. And then he came to the house, when you and Billy were there.

We gave a party in Paul and Hilde's house in Hollywood,and he was saying it to him. Bill and I arrived and Paul and Hilde weren't back yet. We were invited to so many places and decided to have a party and invite people back again. And Martin came. That was in 1987.

CAREER SHOTS: Have you seen Zenia Merton recently?

I haven't seen her for ages. She was a great friend of friends of mine. It was quite a coincidence, that once I went to have dinner with my friends and there was Zenia. She knew them and they knew me, you know, but that was the last time I saw her.

CAREER SHOTS: And what did you think of Barry Morse? You worked with him on The Adventurer and the Space: 1999 episode "The Guardian Of Piri".

We got along very well. He s a very nice man. And it was sad he wasn't in Year 2, only in the "Piri" episode.