Catacombs The Conventions
Main Mission 2000

Main Mission 2000
New York, USA
1-3 September, 2000

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Writers Johnny Byrne, George Bellak and Chris Penfold

Main Mission 2000 was a sequel to Breakaway, building on its strengths and adding new attractions. The surprise debut of Message From Moonbase Alpha at the 1999 convention showed that Space 1999 had a future. That film was shown twice here, and many of the same guests returned with much the same format of events, discussion panels and workshops.

The convention also imported a couple of features from Fanderson conventions. The opening ceremony included a short film comprised of clips cut to stirring music (John Williams's score to the movie Nixon). It's a concept that Kindred used to do for Fanderson conventions, well executed here by Chris Paulsen and Ken Parker. The UK conventions have the advantage of easy access to props and models, something most US conventions cannot compete with. But MM2000 attempted an ambitious props and costumes room, with lots of original artwork from Keith Wilson. The replica Moonbase room, complete with Andre Beauchamp's communications post and furniture, was stunning.

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The Alpha Room. More pictures

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Catherine Schell and Tom Lowery at the auction

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Catherine Schell, Keith Wilson and John Muir

The model room was very good, with replicas by Barry Scannell (a great 44" Eagle), Jim Small (his range of AMT Eagle conversions), and Gil Brumana (a superb Ultra Probe, and a great looking Superswift in construction), and Brian Boskind (a Moonbase). Unfortunately this and the props and costume room were hidden on a separate floor to the main convention.

Zienia Merton Barry Morse Chris Penfold

Despite these impressive achievements, the highlight of the convention were the guest panels throughout the weekend. Zienia Merton, Keith Wilson and Catherine Schell revealed a wicked sense of humour (Catherine's impression of Barbara Bain, turning without moving her neck, was hilarious). Johnny Byrne, Chris Penfold (braving a cold) and George Bellak provided a lot of insight to the writing process. It was nice to meet director Kevin Connor and John Hug, while Prentis Hancock and Barry Morse were great guests as always. Martin Landau, Nick Tate and Brian Johnson were unable to attend, although it is hard to see how they could have been slotted in to the crowded schedule. As it was I missed all the amateur films, including the recut versions of several episodes. The spoofs Space 1899 and When Gerry Met Freddy, and the reworked version of War Games titled God's Will made an impact among the fans. Unfortunately the sequel to last year's hit "UFO: 1999" was not screened.

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Keith Wilson, Robert Ruiz, Catherine Schell and John Muir auction Keith's artwork for Ring Around The Moon, watched by the eye of Triton.

In order to attract non-Space 1999 fans, stars from Battlestar Galactica attended and showed their attempts to revive their series. There was even a squad of Star Wars stormtroopers wandering around.

The convention hotel was generally okay, although the doors to the convention rooms banged noisely throughout talks, and the smaller rooms were dark and chilly. The location was fantastic, within sight of Times Square at the heart of midtown Manhattan. The attractions of New York were all within easy reach. Tourist sights, museums and good restaurants allowed convention attendees and "space widows" to escape their hotel (unlike last year in Los Angeles!). The convention had two evening theatre programmes and a disco, but in my case, as I suspect many others, there was too many competing attractions. The hot, muggy weather, with occasional downbursts of heavy rain, was less welcome.

The closing ceremony started well, with thanks and farewells from each guest, and poignant thanks from Matt Butts and Brian Dowling on behalf of fans who were helped to attend the convention, and the charities that benefited. Then Battlestar Galactica star Jack Stauffer took the stage. His cabaret act was certainly a novel way to end the convention, although many fans were unable to stay as he moved from one rousing show tune to the next. It certainly brought a highly successful convention to an abrupt halt. When he eventually finished, the near empty hall was refilled to see an encore showing of Message From Moonbase Alpha.

The ambitious programme threatened to overreach, but in the end it worked out well. MM2000 was a worthy successor to Breakaway.

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Director Kevin Connor, who has just finished working on a TV miniseries (NBC's In the Beginning) with Keith Wilson, writer John Goldsmith and Martin Landau


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Contents copyright Martin Willey
Space: 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment