The Catacombs Set Visit, 7th October 1976

by Brian Wise and Chris Noulton (from the S.P.A.C.E. fan club newsletter, March 1978)

The party met at 8am and boarded a small minibus driven by Alan Benson, an ex-teacher at our school. In the party was our own film crew plus a small group of sci-fi story [sic] from school.

On arriving at Pinewood we were met with the sight of the J. Arthur Rank symbol on a small placard. We entered a small forecourt overlook by the large red bricked administration building.

Alan Benson entered this building and returned with Gerry Anderson's publicity man. We were told by the publicity man to follow him to Bray Studios. After a short drive we were met with the sight of a muddy pot-holed dirt-track leading to a group of shabby unimportant buildings. THIS WAS BRAY STUDIOS.

As we drove into the studios we saw the building where some filming for the new Superman film was going on. We passed this building and saw huddled around a smaller building a group of plaster-made planets.

The Publicity man took us into this building where we met the Space 1999 special effects wizard Brian Johnson. Brian showed us many of his models including the Superswift (seen in Bringers of Wonder), the Sidon spacecraft, a Space Probe, the small shuttle seen in Bringers of Wonder, some pylons and moon buggies and the various sizes of the Eagle model.

After a short talk on special effects and a tour around the workshop we showed Brian our early and primitive models over which he gave us some more advice. We then entered a small stage to see a set-up for the filming of a shot in Bringers of Wonder. (The scene where the Eagle was flying around the nuclear waste domes)

Bringers Of Wonder set visit Bringers Of Wonder set visit

We think Chris Noulton is second from left, with the wide black tie.

After the visit to Bray we left for a tour around Pinewood including the Space 1999 stages.

We were invited to lunch in the Pinewood restaurant surrounded by such stars as Gareth Hunt and Joanna Lumley taking a break from the filming of the first episode of The New Avengers.

We set off on our tour seeing the "old Pinewood Town" small villages, monsters ancient Egyptian figures etc, plus the giant Bond set containing the nuclear submarines inside the super tanker used for the film The Spy Who Loved Me.

After the Bond set tour we left for the Gerry Anderson stage. Unfortunately Gerry had been called to London on business, but we were met by Fred Freiberger the American producer who also worked on Star Trek. We had a long talk on the production of the series and script writing. Then an added bonus, quite unexpectedly Martin Landau arrived. He was dressed in a light blue dressing gown and not in the white uniform with the blue arm stripe He was taking a break from filming the Lambda Factor and we had a long talk about 99. We were then joined by Barbara Bain, she appeared at the top of some stairs (these were filmed in a hospital sequence from U.F.O.) She was dressed in her medical uniform. We were lucky enough to have some press photographs taken with both Martin and Barbara.

After the photographs were taken we went inside Stage M where we saw the monsters in Bringers of Wonder plus Moon background, desks, corridors etc. We then entered Stage L and saw Brian the Brain, make up of Venusian Plague, and many computer banks, space uniforms, the weapons room, the Eagle interior, the Main Mission area and travel tube interior. We also saw the many commlocks, hand guns and other hand held gadgets.

We had another bonus added to our visit where we were allowed to see Martin act, as they had decided to re-take a shot of him dreaming of the two ghosts in the Lambda Factor.

We left the set at about 4.40pm after a most enjoyable, informing and very exciting day out.

Chris Noulton became a SFX modelmaker, working on Thomas the Tank Engine and many commercials, and producing the pre-school TV show Potamus Park. He now works as a painter: website

Space: 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment