The Catacombs Catacombs Reference Library
TV Zone

TV Zone was a UK magazine focusing on science fiction and fantasy television, which started in September 1989. It was a spin-off of the long-running UK magazine Starburst. It notable for often featuring Space: 1999- 20 years after it had been shown- when there was very little in other magazines.

Starburst had started in 1978 as a sort of British answer to the US magazine Starlog. It was quickly taken over by the UK arm of Marvel Comics. The tone was more adult and analytical than the American title, with critical reviews of the new science fiction film. While Starlog continued to cover Space: 1999 in the late 1970s, Starburst wasn't much interested, and there was virtually no mention of the series through the 1980s. Stephen Payne, a former fanzine publisher, took over Starburst from Marvel in 1985.

TV Zone was a spin-off of a Starburst column of the same name. The editor was Jan Vincent-Rudzki, one of the founding members of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, the biggest Doctor Who fan club. Unsurprisingly, the focus was on Doctor Who and Star Trek, which were very popular on television. The first issue started a feature "Fantasy Flashback", and the first subject was Breakaway. The magazine was published monthly, and soon added four "special issues" per year, usually focussed on specific themes. In the 1990s Space: 1999 began to appear on VHS video and on the Bravo satellite channel, leading to video reviews, additional Fantasy Flashbacks, and interviews. The main writers on Space: 1999 subjects were Richard Houldsworth and David Richardson. Richardson went on to be creative director for Big Finish, a company making audio dramas based on Doctor Who and eventually Space: 1999.

In 1995 another spin-off magazine, Cult Times, appeared. It was based on monthly TV listings, and thus concentrated on currently broadcast cult and sci-fi TV. It covered Space: 1999 occasionally.

In the later 1990s Space: 1999 disappeared from print. Starburst and TV Zone were joined by other magazines including Dreamwatch (from 1994, but previously a fanzine called Doctor Who Bulletin, then Dreamwatch Bulletin) and SFX (from 1995, which had a short-lived companion title, Cult TV).

In the 2000s the rapid rise of the internet killed many print magazines, although Starburst has been resurrected by a new publisher, and SFX is still running.

This Fantasy Flashback from 1992 included on-set photos by Alan Jones, the film critic.

A unusual Fantasy Flashback in a 1994 Special featured an unfilmed episode. This was an ITC Special, discussing various ITC series and included an interview with Barry Morse and another with writer John Goldsmith.

A 1993 interview with Catherine Schell.

The September 1999 issue included a jokey tribute

TV Heroes (2002) has a nice personal tribute to the series from Steve Eramo.

Gerry Anderson Special was a late (2004) tribute to Anderson series. It was perhaps prompted by the reader survey the previous year. Issue 163 (May 2003) had a "top 100 TV Shows" feature, based on a reader poll, that placed Space 1999 on 41 (Thunderbirds was 44, UFO was 18, and Star Trek (original) was 12. This was despite no coverage for several years.