The Catacombs Century 21 Props

Tape drives

Dragon's Domain

The Ultra Probe interior in Dragon's Domain has a set of four tape drive units mounted on the port wall. With the smaller tape drives on the starboard wall these are the only tape drives we see in the series- reflecting the era in computing as tape drives were replaced by hard disks.

Dragon's Domain

At the end of the episode we see two more tape drives on the workbench.

Doppelganger credit

For the film Doppelganger, Century 21 created many tape drives for the Mission Control set, also featured in the title credits. They are real tape drives, with real 1/2-inch magnetic tape reels (the Scotch brand name is sometimes visible). There are no computers in the cabinet, just the capstan motors. The tape transport and rollers have covered. This keeps out dust, and hides that the tapes are not threaded. You can tell they are not threaded, because the supply and take-up reels together have too much tape. Real computer tape drives would also have a window cover, but these studio props have to avoid reflections.

UFO Shado HQ

SHADO headquarters in UFO featured a computer wall, just like Main Mission, but in 1969 that meant tape drives. There were several designs of tape drive here. In one episode we see an operative starting to thread a tape, showing SHADO could not afford modern vacuum feed units which can automatically load and thread the tapes, which is faster and causes less damage to the end of tapes. These props would appear in lots of other shows, but none of these tape drives were actually used in Space: 1999.

Timeslip Timeslip

The tapes drives seen in Space: 1999 were created by Century 21 for the children's series Timeslip (serial "The Time of the Ice Box", 1970). They 6 drives, mounted on thin poles, with "CEN21" clearly written on the transport covers between the two reels. There are grey strips down the side with flashing lights.

Jason King

They then appeared in Jason King (1971), as the computer room of New Scotland Yard in two episodes (with all the different types of UFO tape drives). They are still on their stands.

Diamonds Are Forever

In Diamonds Are Forever (1971), they are stacked on top of the Doppelganger/UFO tape drives, under the sign "Data Bank". The red transport covers are changed to silver, the stands are gone, and they are placed rotated 90 degrees. This is how they appear in Dragon's Domain.

Into Infinity

After filming Dragon's Domain, the tape drives were used for the interior of the Altares in Into Infinity. They sit on the same instruments as in the Ultra Probe.

The Tomorrow People War of The Empires The Tomorrow People War of The Empires

The panels also appeared in The Tomorrow People serial "War of The Empires" (1979) on an alien spaceship.

The Tomorrow People The Blue and The Green

The instrument cabinets at the base of the Ultra Probe tapes can be seen at the end of the spaceship corridors in The Tomorrow People in two 1974 serials, "The Blue and The Green" and "The Doomsday Men".

Images copyright ITV
Page copyright Martin Willey