The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
Prentis Hancock

I was actually offered the part in Space: 1999 without auditioning and was the fourth actor to be cast, after Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and Barry Morse. I had done a two-part episode of The Protectors for Gerry so he knew me from that.

As Paul Morrow I was always there in a scene, but it was a bit thin on the ground on him actually getting involved. One episode they would hint at Morrow's relationship with Sandra, but the next week it was completely ignored. I think the series could have done with a firm line all the time with some build-up. They came to me one day and said, "We've got a real character episode for you this week, Prentis," and I thought, "Great!" but it turned out to be one line in a conference in which a space voyage was mentioned in which my father had died!

There's a saying in America, "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage" and I think that's right. You've got to have the raw materials there in the script. However, there are huge difficulties with a cast that size to give them all screen time and credibility. There were three stars, plus two guest stars, plus the other regulars and trying to divide fifty minutes amongst them is tough.

The Last Sunset was a good episode for me because I ate the magic mushrooms and lost my marbles which was nice. I also liked Black Sun because it showed people in a survival situation and you also saw people off duty - I played chess with Kano and played a guitar. I thought Breakaway was very good, it had a lot to do introducing the regular characters and the whole situation, but it worked very well.

One of the special effects department who'd done a lot of puppet shows for Gerry left a screening and said "It's better with actors!"

There were enormous logistical problems all the time and the series took much longer to make than originally scheduled. It was supposed to take eleven months and in the end it took fifteen. Gerry decided very wisely to break halfway through and we had a three week holiday. I personally think that it is a great shame that the series had such a long shelf life - it didn't come off the studio floor and get onto a screen fast enough. It would have been wonderful if it could have gone straight into a prime time slot here and in America, which I'm sure is what Lew Grade and Gerry wanted to happen. But for some reason it didn't.