The Catacombs Production Guide

Special effects art for the episode Dragon's Domain.

When the SFX team received a new script, they would create an abridged script containing only the special effects shots. The SFX scenes copied the script descriptions exactly, but the context, dialogue and story was all missing. Brian Johnson reviewed the abridged SFX script, working out required models and model sets, and sometimes making rough drawings to plan the shots. For this episode, Brian created an initial set of storyboards. Then Cyril Forster prepared the working set of storyboards. Cyril's storyboards were photocopied so each member of the SFX crew had a copy.

For this episode, we have the SFX script, annotated with Brian's drawings, as well as incomplete pages from Brian's first draft storyboard, and Cyril's final storyboard (as a crew photocopy, not the original art). Thanks to Simon for sharing these!

This is the first page of the SFX script for Dragon's Domain. Christopher Penfold's script was published on 21st January 1975, and this SFX script has a date of 22nd January.

Brian Johnson initial storyboard. Each storyboard page contains the 4 shots. Cyril Foster uses the same template. The scenes showing the boarding tube connecting to the Eagle were initially marked as "Stock" on the SFX script above, and are not included here. At some point it was decided to shoot new footage for these scenes. Other SFX shots (the space station docking, below, and the Ultra Probe in space) are skipped.

Scene 5:
Galaxy POV + Sun

Brian Johnson's initial storyboard. In the SFX script, "Calder's POV" (Calder was the original character name for Cellini). This is the shot when Cellini looks out the window of his quarters, looking for the dragon.

Dragon's Domain

In the SFX script, shots 25A and B show an Eagle flying to the space station, and docking. The two shots are sketched on the SFX script, but Brian didn't include them in his initial storyboard. They were filmed, but only the wider shot appeared in the episode (the unused shot was filmed 14th February 1975, see library SFX).

Dragon's Domain Eagle docks

Scene 27, The giant Probeship detaches from the space station and heads into space. Brian's sketch indicates right to left

Dragon's Domain