The Catacombs Catacombs Reference Library
Space 1999- Year One and Year Two

Chris Penfold (TV Zone 45)

What we wanted to do with the first series was to make it very believable in human terms...whatever the questionable physics of the whole premise. I think the influence of Fred Freiberger was to really jack up the input of the monsters and to go much more for space fantasy. Looking back on the first series now, people refer to it as a kind of thinking person's science fiction. I'm very flattered by that. I wasn't interested in the monsters that came with the second series.

Johnny Byrne (FAB 30)

In terms of its story content, it (Year One) was still finding its way, but it did express our philosophy that the further we went out into space the more our understanding grew of ourselves and the environment. Freddy arrived and he was a very personable man. I got on very well with him, but it was clear that we were living in two completely different universes as far as stories and the understanding of drama were concerned. To me it was going to lose that sense of wonder, of people in an expanding universe whose knowledge was only consistent with their earthly origins—not people who'd been out there mucking in and toughing it out with one lot of aliens after another. Usually this meant galloping around being very sweaty and completely over the top and, of course, it was just deathly boring. It wasn't so much that he was a bringer of wonder, as much as he was a bringer of the kiss of death to series. The notion of implanting the worst kind of sub-grade American humour into these things was one of Freddy's more disastrous ideas. Freddy made some real contributions to the second series. There was more pace, there was more sense of immediacy, there was more of a believability about some of the characterisations and so on. Because they were written in the main by good writers, even though many of the scripts were re-written by Freddy, the stories did come out as acceptable and up to the mark. He was a lovable, warm, generous man, but he should have been kept a million miles away from Space: 1999.

Martin Landau (Starlog 108)

I liked the first season better. It was truer. They changed it because a bunch of American minds got into the act and they decided to do many things they felt were commercial. I think the show's beauty was that it wasn't commercial, it had its own rhythm. I felt the episodes we started with in the first season were much more along the lines I wanted to go. To some extent, that was corrupted. Fred Freiberger helped in some respects, but, overall, I don't think he helped the show, I think he brought a much more ordinary, mundane approach to the series. Space: 1999 had a style of its own, a feel of its own, a look of its own, that would have grown if it had been left alone. It needed time and wasn't given that time. They rushed the process. If the format hadn't been changed, I know it would have hit.

Barbara Bain ( TV Zone 38)

I wasn't as happy with the second season. It wasn't as clear for me what the intent was and the changes were cosmetic as opposed to philosophical. Some of the ideas were good, but some were not.

Nick Tate (Mini Mag)

The show's original concept had been conceived by both Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. When they broke up it really destroyed much of what had been established during its first series. It seemed as if Gerry was prepared to allow somebody else to come in and totally change the humanity Sylvia had brought to the programme.

One of the reasons why I feel Space: 1999 eventually folded was because the second series didn't have the same sense of truth and honesty about it as the first did. That's not to say that I didn't like doing the second series ­ some of the episodes we did were very good ­ but overall I think our best shows were those first twenty­four.

You see when they had started the new series, and kicked every body out, that it did not even look like Space: 1999. What they had was so different that they would have been crazy not to have asked everyone back. But they treated people poorly, and so they left. I really believe the series could have gone on successfully had they reorganised the second series on the basis of the first.

Anton Philips (Starlog Science Fiction Explorer)

The first series had an epic sense about it, as well as size and scale. You felt that money was being spent on it. They wanted something that looked good and had a sense of class and style, which I think we achieved. With the second series, they cut costs, brought in American producers and so on, and the quality of the whole thing plummeted, I feel, considerably. It became a bit gimmicky; it was no longer about people whom you and I could identify with. The production values had gone down, things looked cheaper and, in the end, the truth of the matter was that many people DIDN'T like the second series as much as they did the first.

Contents copyright Martin Willey