The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
Zienia Merton

Comments at the 2002 convention Stand By For Action about Message From Moonbase Alpha

Basically I was invited to the 1999 convention, Breakaway. Tim Mallett of Kindred Productions was going too, and quite a lot of people from England were going. Tim rang me up. I knew Tim and Glenn very well, they're very good. They have a video company, I do quite a lot for work for them. They are very kind to give the old lady some work, very strange kind of corporate work. Obviously we've been in touch, and Tim was instrumental from that video that I got back into the loop of Space. Tim just rang and said 'how do you feel?' 'Well, you know, who's going to write it?' 'If you feel you want to do it, you think it's possible, I'm going to ask Johnny Byrne', obviously one of the best people to write for it.

Tim says right, the script, he brings the script over. I nearly died, because there's more in Message than Sandra did in two years. Sandra did half of that in two years. Sandra said 'hydroponics, emergency'. I saw all this and I said, my god. Obviously breakaway was September 13th 1999. Tim came over. Johnny obviously very kindly wrote the script, and he did it for me, not for me, but you know that I was the one who's going to do it. It was a wonderful tie up. Synchronicity of everything that happened, explain to the fans what had happened. Somebody had my second year uniform, and I said, yes, okay, but I'm older now, shoot from the waist up please, because you miss bumps and lumps and things, you don't want any of that. I said this is one favour you can do to me. We did it, it was a bank holiday, in the last weekend of August.

Two weeks later it was going to be shown. We did it in Andrew Frampton's house, he had Koenig's desk. Kit and David McLaughlin who also did my make-up, had the Alpha sets. We went and did it. I learned it. I did say can I have idiot boards, it wasn't tele-prompting. They said no, we don't really want you to. So I had to learn it. I know they were going to cut, but you know you still have to learn it. The awful thing,as I said to Tim, was that 2 days before doing it, I got a very big corporate to do. Which is like 40 pages and it was a huge corporate. I had prompting but I had to know it, very very well. I said to Tim 'I can't do both, I've got to get the corporate out of the way, I'm going to shut my mind to it, and then start on Message, otherwise I'm going to start doing Message out of fear, the mind does strange things. I said I can't even look at Message until I've put the corporate out of the way.

We went to Andrew's place, it was I think a Saturday or it was that bank holiday weekend. We just did it in his house, and there were people next door having barbecues. You couldn't say to them 'can you shut up, we're shooting a movie'. They're going to say 'so what, we're having a movie of our barbecue'. The dogs were barking, the planes are going overhead. We just went for it. I was so extraordinary. I never saw it until we came to LA. Tim was editing as much as he could, I knew it was a couple of shots but, you know, we were tying up.

I was terrified. I hate seeing myself. After I've seen at the sixth time I can then accept that this is me. But I always, when I see myself first time, it's a terrible thing to do, I think I'm going to be gorgeous and lovely, and I see myself and I think no, I'm not. So I get very disappointed, and I usually spend 2 days in deep depression, thinking I never want to work again, I'm never going to do this, I'm never going to be awful to myself and put me through all this.

I said to Tim 'I'm terrified', I'm going to sit in front of people, usually I scream and shout because I hate myself, but I can't, they're not going to appreciate that, they'll just think I've been on something. We had elaborate plans. Very few people knew about it, only about two people within the organization knew. To the point I think poor old David McLaughlin was told to go away, saying he had nothing in it. Chris Bentley was at the door, and I was then going to come in at the back. I was watching it in the back, because I said I don't want to watch in front. I can't have people looking at me, throwing eggs at me, or bread rolls because they don't like it.

Then suddenly the doors are closing, and then there's another American guy goes walking past, 'oh, hi, what are you doing here? Oh you're attending the convention, you sound English...' I'm really nervous. And he said 'I went to England' and he goes through this incredible story of where he stayed, the colour of the the landlady's dog and I don't want to be rude to him, but I don't want to know. Finally Chris calls me in, and I don't remember afterwards ... I know we went on stage, I know that I think people were crying, I really don't remember that, I hate to say because the whole emotion was just incredible.

I am very pleased. I did say to Tim, I said if this is the last thing I ever do, I'm proud.