The Catacombs Catacombs Reference Library
Space 1999 - SERIES ONE

This is the brochure given to the press describing Year One of Space: 1999. See also the Year 2 brochure.

Introduction | The Stars | The Regular Players | The Producers | The Script Editors |
Special Effects | Costumes | The Lighting Cameraman | Hair | The Music | The Directors

ITC Presents :

"SPACE 1999"


Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, accompanied by Barry Morse, fly into a bizarre, excitement-filled and breath- takingly spectacular future when they star in the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series "SPACE 1999".

Filmed in England for ITC, the series consists in the first place of 24 one-hour segments, produced in association with RAI (Italian State Television).

The programmes have all the fascination of fast- moving science-fiction on a scale never before attempted, stretching production ingenuity to new limits.

It also means that Martin Landau and Barbara Bain - husband and wife in private life - can again be seen together on television screens. "Space 1999" is their first co-starring series since their memorable teaming in 80 episodes of the internationally popular "Mission: Impossible".

Viewers will join them on Moon Base Alpha, a logical development to man having conquered and probed the secrets of the moon.

What is the next step in lunar adventure?

The belief that the moon may one day be used as a base for scientific investigation of deep space and, if necessary, also become the first outpost of earth's defence system should threats come from planets outside our solar system has inspired this new series.

Much can happen in a quarter-of-a-century, but the end of the 1900's is not sufficiently distant to be remote from the lives of people today. "Space 1999" is therefore futuristic science fiction with its roots in the present day, the people in it not super-developed humans of some unknown future when the world will have changed beyond recognition, but identifiable men and women of our own generation, their looks and emotions changed very little from now. Viewers will therefore feel closely akin to the characters, most of whom have been born during or before the 1970's.

Stepping dramatically into the future, the stars find themselves on the moon when it is blasted; by violent explosions caused by dumped nuclear waste from earth. The moon is pulled out of orbit moving inexorably away from Earth into a terrifyingly unknown world - the world of deep space.

"When we began," admits the script consultant, Christopher Penfold, "we were in very much the same situation as the characters. We had the basic premise of a colony stranded on the runaway moon, without any means of controlling its movements. Obviously, there was a limit to the dramas that could take place on the moon itself and it was only as the writing of the series developed that ever-widening potentialities presented themselves.

"Gerry Anderson's own description is that the moon is a rogue planet wandering at random through space. But with the gravitational pull from other planets and stars, there is always the possibility of finding a new home, with gravity and a natural supply of oxygen, which could offer fresh life for the moon's inhabitants. This is a theme that runs through the scenarios: the search for a new hone away from the artificial environment of the moon.

"But as fresh ideas were tossed around, we realized more and more that there are mysteries in outer space which are beyond man's understanding and that we could dramatise these. Time, as we know it, means nothing. Distance, as we know it, is incomprehensible. We assume that there is life on other planets, with civilizations and mental developments millions of years older than on earth. The possibilities are as limitless as space itself."

"Space 1999" therefore swings right out of any conventional sci-fi dimensions, at the same time taking advantage of all the scientific facts that are known, such as the existence of a phenomenon known as a "Black sun," a mass of gaseous substance developing into an impenetrable ball from a burned out asteroid, with such tremendous gravitation that it pulls everything into it, even light. Anything near it simply disappears. It upsets all theories of existence, even time. This provides the background to one episode. Time ceases to have any meaning. The players find themselves in eternity, with the sudden conviction that the whole universe is a living thought.

In other episodes, they meet up with aliens from other planets who possess fantastic powers. In one story, the Moonbase personnel encounter aliens who have discovered the secret of decomposing atoms, reducing objects to their atomical elements which can be transported through space and then reassembled.

In another story, they encounter members of a dying planet who have been sent out in spaceships in search of a planet which might sustain its kind of life. One, planned to reach Earth, has a crew of six in a state of suspended animation for three-and-a-half centuries before it crash-lands on the moon.

Another story finds the stars living simultaneously in their own time and in the future, with schizophrenia taking on a physical meaning as the moon and the people on it become duplicated. Another time, a member of Moonbase personnel is gripped by a strange and terrifying power from outer space which robs him of all heat. Everything he touches turns to ice and, in his desperate search for heat, he becomes a lethal weapon of destruction.

The reach other planets, with eerie results. They face disaster because of an unmanned spaceship, launched from earth fifteen years earlier, has developed a fault which has brought destruction to everything coming close to it, polluting space with results that have destroyed life on whole planets.

Space is full of unexpected objects. There is always the risk of collision with asteroids and other planets. Every day brings new and frightening danger.

And there is drama on the moon itself, between the people on it, with the birth of the first baby in space and the human relationships. These are real people, not puppets there simply to provide the elements for gripping science-fiction adventures. The relationships between the characters have an impelling appeal - relationships sharpened by the remarkable situation in which they find themselves, all communications with earth severed and never knowing from day to day what will happen to them.

Moonbase Alpha

Moonbase Alpha is no small complex. It is a colony of its own, consisting of some three hundred men and women who have been working on the scientific tasks.

This provides a deep well of characters who need be seen only in one episode. It is thus possible for famous guest-stars to appear, and among those to be seen, either from the base itself or on or from other planets, are Richard Johnson, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Margaret Leighton, Roy Dotrice, Cyd Hayman, Ian McShane, Catherine Schell, Michael Culver and Jeremy Kemp.

And there are beautiful girls by the score to fulfil the various tasks from nursing to control operators.

Approximately half of the moon remains after the vast explosion which has ripped away the dark half. The remaining part contains a vast, ultra-modern laboratory with living quarters. It is a pressurised existence.

Personal can leave the base only in space suits or in one of the spaceships known as Eagles, entered through travel tubes resembling ultra-modern Underground train compartments and completely sealed.

Oxygen is supplied to make normal living conditions possible in the base. From time to time, the characters are seen in their living quarters, in which, within limits, they can pursue their normal earth-bound leisure interests. These represent a cross-section of the international personalities and reflect their personalities: They have a restaurant, gymnasium, artificial sun-ray solarium. As near as possible, therefore, their Moonbase life is as near as can be to normal. The adventures which befall them are not!

The principal setting is the Main Mission - a large, futuristic science laboratory dominated by a huge computer and scientific instruments of every kind, operators at work the whole time.

The Computer is one of the stars of the series, able to work out the most obtuse of mathematical problems, estimate distances and time, forewarn of obstacles, contact other planets, decree what actions can be taken and which should not be attempted, answer almost any question put to it.

And it speaks. Its voice belongs to one of the best-known Canadian actresses living in England. She wishes to remain anonymous: "Because it would destroy- the illusion. Anyway, I doubt if people would recognize my voice. It's completely changed by using echo chambers!" But she won't deny her identity if viewers can spot who she is!

From Central Control, probes are launched, contact is kept with everyone in the Base. It is the heart-beat of Moonbase Alpha.

All sections have colour codes for identification purposes, and the personnel in the various sections are also identified by these colours. The only person with an exclusive: colour to himself is the Commander of the base, John Koenig, played by Martin Landau, whose identification is black.

Main Mission is flame. The reconnaissance section is orange, the service section is yellow, the technical section is rust, the medical section is white and the security section is yellow. For viewers of colour television sets, these distinctive colours will help considerably in recognizing immediately which section is being seen.

Magic "Key".

All members of Moonbase Alpha carry what is known as a "commlock".

It is a remarkable device, carrying a photograph of its possessor for identification, each programmed to answer when called. An array of press buttons brings into play its many operations. It needs pressure on one button to open doors, another to contact the various departments, another to bring into play a two-way television system, the pictures seen on a miniature screen at one end of the commlock. It provides an immediate means of contacting other personnel, wherever they may be.

Thus, thanks to the commlock, doors open automatically when the right button is pressed.

Commander Koenig's commlock is also able to impart instructions from him to the computer, telling it to shut down if necessary. He is the only man able to make this order.

The Principal Characters

John Koenig, Commander of Moonbase Alpha, is American, an astrophysicist of high repute who has been a pilot and an astronaut in his time. His interests have always been in science and he has been responsible for the planning and control of many outstanding space missions. Asked to help on Alpha's design, he has been gradually drawn into the project and finally persuaded to become its Commander.

Koenig has a flair for leadership, both in regard to the scientific aspects of the job and consideration for those working for him. He is used to sorting out problems but none so complex as those now facing him on the runaway moon!

As a man, it might be said, there are two streaks to him. One is his computer-like mind, highly efficient and tending to be ruthless. The other is an introspective strain which is apt to make him moody. He has been married but devotion to his work has led to the break-up of his marriage, a scar that still has searing moments for him and affects his cautious relationship with women.

One point of interest is that though viewers meet him in the future year of 1999, his impressionable years go back to the- present day. He can remember man's first flights to the moon. He was then, of course, a schoolboy born in 1959.

He has grown up in the space age, but one has the impression that he is not too happy with the state of humanity towards the end of the century. He is therefore a man with one foot in the past and one foot somewhere in the future.

Dr. Helena Russell is in her early thirties. She was born when the first explorations of the moon were taking place. American, she is the daughter of a West Coast physician and she has followed in her father's medical footsteps, gradually expanding into the challenges of space medicine, rising in her profession to become Moonbase Alpha's Chief of Medical Section.

She has been married but her husband, whom she met at medical school and who also became involved in space medicine, has disappeared on a space mission. Nothing has been heard of him again and she is, to all intents and purposes, a widow. Emotionally, she has retired into the womb of her job but is still nevertheless very feminine and there is little doubt that a strong attachment is soon formed with John Koenig, with the question mark of whether this growing affection will lead to love.

Professor Bergman, is to some degree the father figure of the key personnel on Moonbase Alpha. He is older than the others and was a young man when space-exploration began. He can remember when a visit to the moon was the figment of Jules Verne-type imaginations.

To some extent, he is very much the proverbial professor. He has a brilliant mind which has been responsible for a number of developments in space science, but he is unworldly in many practical matters. In some ways, he reminds one of a 19th century scientist rather than a man of the late 20th century, though physically he is more a part of the new era than he appears. He is something of a philosopher and very much of a humanist.

Bergman is unusual in one respect. An early illness led to his having a mechanical heart-replacement. This, because it responds more slowly to nervous stimuli than does a normal human heart, reduces his reactions to most emotional stresses. Whatever the situation, he is almost entirely physically immune from panic. The chief danger he faces is that a ruthless or desperate person might be able to interfere with his mechanical heart and so upset his finely tuned metabolism. For the same reason, he also faces dangers in unexpected outer space situations which do not affect others.

Space: 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment