The Catacombs The Production Guide
Script To Screen: Guardian Of Piri
by Martin Willey

Script To Screen

Most episodes start with a storyline, a short narrative summary of the plot, broken into the four act structure. This storyline was titled Nobody's Perfect, and dated 9th April 1974. It is 11 pages, plus title page. The story and structure are already very close to Guardian Of Piri.

The storyline, script and final episode are all missing a writer credit. The initial idea is believed to be from David Weir, but it was mostly written by Christopher Penfold, who is credited as writer in all ITC publicity.

In the hook, the reconnaissance Eagle is lost why exploring an apparently perfect planet. Alan flies after it, not relying on computer data, and finds the empty Eagle hanging motionless in the sky, just before the point of impact. He returns to Alpha, and Koenig asks Kano to connect to the computer to find what is wrong. Kano is plugged into the computer, smiles, and disappears.

In Act Two, Koenig and Alan fly down and Koenig meets the servant of the Guardian, who explains her mission to achieve perfection. Koenig finds the Eagle pilots and Kano, glazed and smiling, and rejects the perfection. When Koenig returns to the Eagle, Alan fights him for control. Injured, he returns to Alpha. Helena is dancing in Medical, ignoring his calls. He goes to Main Mission and finds Paul Morrow alone, playing the guitar (one small difference from the episode). Koenig passes out in pain.

In Act Three, Koenig wakes up in Medical, and makes his way to Main Mission where a command conference is preparing operation Exodus, to evacuate to the planet. Koenig argues that the computer is misleading them, and they are being brainwashed. But he doesn't get through to them. After the meeting ends, he goes to computer and begins to smash it up. He is restrained by guards and sedated. As the Eagles begin to leave, Koenig is alone in his quarters.

Guardian Of Piri

In the episode, this is where the act ends, but the storyline has a more dramatic cliffhanger.

Bergman and Helena meet to discuss their one outstanding
problem: what to do with mad John Koenig. They decide that
they cannot leave him on Alpha, so they will, whether he
likes it or not, take him under Security Guard and put him
on an Exodus Eagle. They feel sure that after a few days
of the new life, the balance of his mind will be restored.
Helena puts his behaviour down to the continuous tension
he has been living under through the weeks and months since
they were blasted out of Earth orbit - just can't let go -
shell-shocked by their situation.

Helena, with Mathias on hand in case a sedative should be
needed in a hurry, goes to Koenig's quarters with Four
Security Men. She asks hem to wait outside; she would like
the opportunity of talking to him first. Koenig, apparently
quiet, allows her to come into the quarters and she begins to
talk about their new life. For a while Koenig appears to
listen, so Helena tells him they are all about to leave and
that he is to come with them. To her immense relief, he
seems to be willing to do just this. She opens the door and
Koenig smiles at the Security Men and Mathias, who had
obviously been expecting trouble. They walk away, with Koenig
too, talking excitedly about Piri. Then, coolly and quietly,
Koenig lifts a stun-gun from one of the Security Men and
holds it in Mathias's back. They are at the open door to a
Travel Tube. Koenig motions the Security Men to get inside,
he closes the door and sends them on their way. With Mathias
as his hostage, he now faces Helena.

In Act Four, Koenig arrives in Main Mission with Mathias as his hostage. Bergman and Helena engage is a debate with Koenig, arguing that they have finally found a new home. Helena finally suggests they leave him alone on Alpha, and if the planet is as dead as he says they will return. Mathias is released, and the final Eagles leave, watched by Koenig, alone on Alpha.

In these descriptions, Bergman and Helena are more rational and less euphoric than they are on screen. Other descriptions have the Alphans as carefree and happy-go-lucky, but at this point in the storyline they are making sober, logical decisions. They are expressing a reasonable assessment of whether the Guardian's perfection is better than the struggle for life in space.

The servant of the Guardian (here called the Pirian Siren) appears and soothes his brow. She tells him he has no choice but to join them on Piri. He insists he will never leave Alpha, but in an instant he is transported to the planet (in the episode he makes the decision to go down himself, and travels by Eagle).

In the final episode, Koenig will shock Helena to her senses, but this doesn't happen in the storyline. At the steps to the Guardian, he argues against the Alphans, who accuse him of arrogance and pride. The Pirian Girl appears, and he rails against her.

"You have no mind of your own. You might as well be a
machine since your whole life is controlled by one",
mocks Koenig.

"Your life, too, will be controlled by this machine. It is

She turns and walks away from Koenig towards the column of
light. As she stands in front of it, in the familiar
attitude of adoration, Koenig thinks hard. Suddenly he takes
his stun-gun and fires it at the Girl's back. She stiffens
as though from instant rigor mortis, and falls back.

Koenig runs up to her, trembling. He rolls her stiff body
over and fumbles at the back of her head. He opens a flap
and reveals she is a robot.

He picks her up and carries her to the edge of the platform
and throws her doll-like body down to the Alphans below,
crying that that is what passes for life on Piri.

Now Koenig turns to face the Guardian. The column of light
vibrates and a weird electronic sound builds. The voice of
the Guardian is the voice of the defunct Pirian Girl

The Guardian explains that it created the Pirian Girl in
human form so that Earthman could understand better. Now
Koenig has destroyed her and he will have to communicate
with Guardian direct.

If the choice is the same, says Koenig, then he has the
same answer. He will never choose this Pirian mockery of
life and as the only alternative is death he is prepared
to face it.

But the Guardian is bemused. It is a machine and its task
is to preserve Piri as a memorial to a life which no longer
exists. The Pirians, aware that they were a dying people
and believing they had created a perfect world, elected the
Guardian to maintain it for eternity. They chose Guardian
because, as a machine, it was immortal.

But now Koenig, by his infectious humanity, has made Guardian
aware that Piri is more dead than perfect. It has therefore
decided to destroy itself, to restore time to the planet,
and to leave it to the Alphans to turn it into their New

The Guardian begins to explode, and the Eagle hanging in the sky from the start of the episode finally crashes. All the Alphans disappear, except for Koenig and Alan Carter. In Main Mission everyone has returned to their stations, and they call Koenig because the Moon is leaving orbit. Koenig and Carter run to their Eagle and leave.

In the Epilogue, Koenig and Carter are back in Main Mission. They watch Piri recede.

Kano reports that computer confirms Piri to be just perfect
for their needs.

The Guardian's final gesture was generous, but badly

"Nobody's Perfect" is Bergman's final comment.


Structurally the storyline is very close to the script and final episode, but towards the end there is a greater focus on verbal debates between Koenig and the Alphans and Guardian. Still, it ends with everything exploding. In the storyline ending the Guardian destroys itself, a popular ending for Space: 1999 episodes (Ring Around The Moon, The Infernal Machine and The Immunity Syndrome). This will be changed to Koenig's destruction of the servant somehow causing a chain reaction which destroys the Guardian (a variation which is another popular ending).