The Catacombs The Production Guide
Script To Screen: Breakaway
by Martin Willey

Script To Screen

Filming started on Monday 3rd December 1973. It was expected to finish on Tuesday 18th December, after 12 days. The first day didn't feature any of the series regulars, but it was the chronological opening scenes of Breakaway. They also filmed the later scenes when Koenig, Bergman and Collins watch the astronauts checking the waste dumps.

The prefilmed scenes would be shown on the monitoring depot screens, filmed later.

Ernest 'Plugg' Shutt was a puppet operator and sculptor on Thunderbirds. He was an effects technician on The Investigator, and according to the wardrobe note, he worked on the Alpha spacesuits.

Note the scene 34, with Ellis and Jackson, had an interesting in-camera effect shot, which did not make it to the final episode. In the shot, Nik Zaran as Jackson looks up to see Koenig and Bergman's Eagle coming in to land. An Eagle model was borrowed from the special effects department, and brought to the Pinewood set. It was placed in front of black drapes, but not directly filmed. Instead, Nik Zaran was filmed in close-up, his visor angled so the Eagle was seen in reflection.

Breakaway Behind The Scenes Breakaway Behind The Scenes Breakaway Behind The Scenes

All filming on the set was scheduled to be completed in one day, moving to Main Mission scenes the next day. This was ambitious. Most of these scenes had to be filmed with a high speed camera at 48 frames per second (twice normal speed). When replayed, the actors move in slow motion, to simulate the low gravity on the Moon. There was also a fight scene, involving wires and a trampoline. But on Tuesday 4th December, they were still filming the Alf Joint/Roy Scammel fight scene. The Nik Zaran/Jackson scenes were finally filmed on Wednesday 5th December, before the cast and crew moved to the Main Mission set to film Koenig's arrival.

Breakaway Behind The Scenes
DATE: MONDAY, 3rd December, 1973 UNIT CALL: 8.30a.m.


EXT. NUCLEAR DISPOSAL AREA. Sc.Nos. (3.7.9. Prefilm) (36.38.38A. Prefilm)
ALF JOINT STEINER 325 7.45a.m. 8.30a.m.
ROY SCAMMEL NORDSTROM 326 7.30a.m. 8.30a.m.
COLIN SKEAPING ELLIS 324 on stand by til 1.00p.m.
NIK ZARAN JACKSON 321 on stand by til 1.00p.m.
Art Dept: Names to be printed on helmets of spacemen.
Props: Cracked visor, commlocks, radiation counters, key to cap, box of tools,
radiation probes, dummy.
Action vehicle: Moon buggy to be on set at           8.00a.m.
Wardrobe: Jerk jacket to be used on Nordstrom
Pluggshott to be available for uniform fitting from 7.30a.m.
Electronics: Video cameras to stand by for recording close ups on Spacemen.
Sp.Fx: Moon dust fx. (Sc. 39).
Eagle model required for reflection shot and matte shot Sc.34
Construction: Black drapes required for matte shot Sc.34.
Camera: High speed Mitchell required.
Make Up: Contact lenses for Roy Scammel.
Mr. Aujla required to help fit lenses from 9.30a.m.
Fire Dept: To reset smoke equipment on M Stage.
Stunt Arranger: To supervise all trampoline and stunt equipment.
Electrical: Laser posts lights to be practical.
CATERING: a.m. and p.m. breaks for 75 people i.e. 10.00a.m and 3.30p.m.
RUSHES: Theatre 4 at 1.00pm.

Assistant Director.