The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
Gerry Anderson

Space: 1999 was hugely expensive. The American financiers wanted to get a network sale which would mean huge receipts and a lot of money so I went to Hollywood and was told that if I could get Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, then that was the key to a US network. If I got them, I got a network sale. I met them and fired their imagination and finally got them to agree and we paid an absolute fortune for them. The result was that we didn't get a network sale.

We originally interviewed Robert Culp for the part of John Koenig. I'm a great fan of his because he's a very, very competent actor and has a great charisma. We met him in Beverly Hills and he arrived and I said, "Right, I'll tell you what the series is about," and he said, "Look, before you tell me what the series is about, may I say a couple of things?" So I said, "Certainly." He said, "First of all, I'm a superb actor," and I said, "Yes, that's why we've invited you over here." He said, "Fine, but what is not generally known is that I am also an outstanding writer." So I said, "Well that, I confess, I didn't know." And he said, "Finally, I am an even better director."

Now all of those statements may well be true, but knowing what television production means, where you've got one picture a fortnight going through - one hour show every ten days - in my view the lead artist hasn't got the time or the physical strength to cope with leading the series and be involved with the writing and also criticise the direction. I felt that this would be a great danger and so, very politely, I said, "Thank you very much and goodbye," and, equally politely, he said, "Thank you very much, goodbye." We didn't have any kind of argument and I respected his point of view. Whether he respected me, I don't know, but the interview terminated there.

For the second season, ITC asked that there should be an American head writer and I went to Hollywood to interview writer after writer after writer. One guy told me that he wanted to come to Europe because he collected wine labels and he thought it would be wonderful to spend a year in Europe collecting wine labels. Others I thought were good, but if they hadn't done a named science-fiction show I didn't want to know. Then Fred Freiberger came along. He'd been on Star Trek, he was available, he wanted to come to Europe so he seemed to be a good choice. New York said, "Is he available?" and I said, "Yes, he is." They said, "Why is he available?" and I was so cheesed off that I said, "Look, if you want me to find you someone that's not available, just say the word and I'll send you a list!"