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JOE 90






This first of two Limited Edition Blu-ray box sets collects four films from the twisted
mind of maverick shock-maker, William Castle. Containing a wealth of new and
archival extras – including feature-length documentary Spine Tingler! The William
Castle Story, alternative versions, exclusive audio commentaries, and much more.

Jacques Tourneur’s seminal horror film, released

on Blu-ray for the very first time in the UK.
Presented in four different versions with an
incredible array of new and archival special
features, a double-sided poster and an 80-page book.

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JOE 90

08 14







Cover art by Rick Melton (


Is there a doctor in the house? Well there were three,
actually. Richard Molesworth looks back 45 years to
The Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Special…
Setting off from This Island Earth, Richard Holliss
encounters a dying planet, a strange alien race and
a hideous bug-eyed monster!
Bryan J. Robb revisits The Outer Limits, one of the
most amazing, monster-packed TV sci-fi shows and a
worthy competitor to The Twilight Zone!
Ian Millsted looks at the history of Valiant, a British
boys adventure comic which brought us such
47 52 favourites as ‘The Steel Claw’ and ‘Kelly’s Eye…’
Meet Schoolboy-turned-superspy Joe 90, Gerry
Anderson’s only leading child character. He still looks
as good 50 years on, what’s his secret?
Continuing our chat with legendary Visual Effects
Designer Mat Irvine, who discusses his work on Edge
of Darkness - and his cameo role!
58 63
Andrew Pixley recalls the TV adventures of The
Sentimental Agent, aka Carlos Valera, aka
Carlos Thompson!
Michael Coldwell joins Capt. Dart, Slim and Husky as
they patrol the solar system in their Galasphere 347!
Robert Fairclough looks back at The XYY Man, a cult
thriller series which launched the career of police
officer George ‘GBH’ Bulman.

Editor: Allan Bryce


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must confess that the latest batch of Star Wars even though I knew it was hugely impressive on the
movies have been leaving me less than enthralled, special effects front. Perhaps because I’ve never taken
and in some ways I wish that George Lucas had just drugs, eh? My hippie mates all loved it though, man.
settled back in his La-Z-Boy at the Skywalker ranch Of course all these movies have inevitably had sequels
and called it a day at three good-to-great originals. of sorts. The Time Machine had a poor remake with the
It was never going to happen of course, not while uncharismatic Guy Pearce completely miscast in the Rod
there were such large sums of money to be made, but I Taylor role. Lacking the cosy charm of the original, it only
feel that these sequels only tend to devalue the originals had a sublime Klaus Badelt score to recommend it. 2010
rather than enhance them. Of course it may be that was a kind of follow-on from 2001 and okay in its way,
I am just showing my age, because I was a relatively but anyone who tries to follow Kubrick is up the creek
young chap when the first Star Wars hit cinemas and without a paddle anyway.
it was just an amazing experience watching it on a The Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake with Mark
massive screen in the burgeoning technology Wahlberg was an utter disaster which I couldn’t
of Dolby Stereo. My favourite sci-fi movies even sit through, but to be fair the new Apes
belonged to an earlier era, however, my movies have been really good so they are the
Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moment exception that proves the rule.
coming when my dear mum took me to I always find it amusing that Fox thought
see The Time Machine when I was just ten their quick cash-in sequel Beneath the Planet
years old. It was an ‘A’ certificate, probably of the Apes would be the end of the franchise
because the censor thought those Morlocks and therefore blew up the world at the end.
would give ankle-biters sleepless nights, but I When it did well they had to do some imaginative
wasn’t scared, just totally entranced by the wonders time travel thinking to continue the series with Escape
unfolding on the screen of the Dorking Embassy. I also from the Planet of the Apes. Conquest and Battle were
got to see a trailer for The Fly, and that was just the icing rubbish, however.
on the cake. The truth is that older sci-fi movies had better plots
Afterwards we walked two miles home through the and poorer special effects, a situation that has mainly
leafy autumn countryside and I was floating on a cloud been reversed in the modern age. Forbidden Planet was
of imagination, though it didn’t stop me from stepping drawn from Shakespeare, for goodness sake, and nobody
in a cow pat. I still love that movie, even though my older will ever be able to persuade me that John Carpenter’s
eyes can spot the obvious artifice in the special effects. effects-filled remake of The Thing is better than the
My mum was a big sci-fi fan and allowed me to stay punchy original, though I will concede that the Carpenter
up late and watch The Twilight Zone every Tuesday night. movie is a classic in its own right and gets better with
I wrote a letter to the TV Times asking about Rod repeated viewings.
Serling and they sent me a written reply with a brief As it does with music, time tends to sort out the
biography of the great man - can you imagine that classic movies from the also-rans, and if we are still
happening nowadays? talking about some of these modern day sci-fi flicks in
I remember being very excited when Planet of the twenty years’ time when the initial IMDB hype has been
Apes was released in 1968 because Rod contributed long forgotten then what the critics say is pointless.
to the screenplay. I adored Planet of the Apes, and sat A film called Cavalcade won the Oscar the year King
through it twice - you could do that back then if you so Kong was released, but who remembers that now?
wished. But I really didn’t ‘get’ 2001 - A Space Odyssey, Nevertheless, if they decide to remake The Last Jedi in
2050 I’m not sad I won’t be around to see it. Allan Bryce.


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The Infinity team bring you news on your favourite TV shows and movie
franchises, including some very sad celebrity losses of late…
like, aided by a magic leprechaun, a dog and a chimpanzee! Jim Danforth’s
stop-motion monsters are a bit phoney, but they actually add to the fun
of the piece. Whether you learn much that’s new about Jack from our
commentary is debatable, but we had a blast doing it and it adds value to
what is a very reasonably priced release.

Get your diaries out comic
book fans, because Warner
Bros.’ Birds of Prey movie
is set to fly into cinemas in
2020. The DC film has Margot
Robbie reprising her Suicide
Squad role as Harley Quinn,
with Cathy Yan directing. The
DARKFEST CARRIES ON SCREAMING! female-centred team-up movie
Hopefully you will all have seen our ad for our latest DarkFest, an all-day will screen in Imax. Warner
event taking place at London’s Genesis cinema in Whitechapel on Bros has been testing actresses
Saturday November 24th. Sadly we had to revise the guest list because the to star opposite Robbie as Black Canary and Huntress. A Wrinkle in Time’s
legendary Carry on Screaming star Fenella Fielding passed away just after Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Underground’s Jurnee Smolett-Bell and Hidden Figures
she told us she would be delighted to attend. We also discovered somewhat star Janelle Monae are among those in the running to play Black Canary.
late in the day that Caroline Munro had been invited to a film festival in For the role of Huntress, stars in contention include The Leftovers’ Margaret
Spain and we can’t compete with sunshine and paella, plus they were Qualley, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead and How I Met
paying her air fare. Luckily we have some great new guests in attendance Your Mother’s Cristin Milioti. The studio is also casting for detective Renee
and our star attraction, Robin Askwith, has given up his window cleaning Montoya as well as Cassandra Cain. While 2018 has been a quiet year for
round especially to be with us. Robin is also doing a stand-up comedy DC movies (the sole entry Aquaman opens Dec. 21), next year and beyond
routine, which will be hilarious. We have some terrific shorts too, and have look quite eventful. The studio has a stand-alone Joker movie set to open
added a mystery film to the mix which is as rare as hen’s teeth. If I wasn’t Oct. 4, 2019, and Wonder Woman 1984 is due out Nov. 1, 2019. With Birds
organising this I’d be buying a ticket for sure. I might also add that we plan of Prey following just three months later, that streak of releases is akin to
to do an Infini-Fest in the near future too, because Infinity has really taken what fans are used to seeing from rival Marvel Studios.
off as a popular title and I love the idea of seeing some of those great old
sci-fi favourites like Forbidden Planet, The Time Machine and War of the IN MEMORIAMx
Worlds on the big screen in the Genesis’s 587-seat Screen One. Why not 2018 has been a bad year for
drop us a letter with your own choices? Hope to see a lot of Infinity readers the loss of celebrity names,
at our event because these things are such fun, believe me. We are also and recent stars who’ve left
instigating the Slaughter Awards, modelled on the great British horror star us include such legends as
Tod Slaughter, and expect to be serving them up to some truly legendary Burt Reynolds, who we frankly
figures. See you there? I hope so. thought would go on forever.
Such famous names make the
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK news worldwide of course but others tend to slip under the radar. We like
Movie commentaries. A waste of time or something to remember them here however, so let’s start with Gary Kurtz, (seen above
that encourages you to double dip on a favourite with George Lucas), producer of Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire
movie? Personally I’ve only listened to a handful Strikes Back, who recently died from cancer at 78.
over the years but then I’m a busy man, what with In a statement, his family said: “He was a Marine, a world traveller, an
my three paper rounds and all. The same rent-a-crit- outdoorsman and a kind, compassionate human being. His life’s work was
ics tend to crop up on most of them, which is not to to share the wonder of audio visual storytelling through the art of film.
disparage the quality of what they do, but I’d always Well-known for his work as the producer of American Graffiti, Star Wars,
rather listen to someone who was actually involved The Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Crystal, Gary was passionate about
with the movie in question. But it’s always flattering telling stories that shared the humanity of characters in entertaining ways
to be asked to do a commentary so I’ve done four for audiences around the world. Gary was a magnificent man, who will be
of them myself, beginning with Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors back in the hugely missed. His whole family thanks you for your loving thoughts.”
day and continuing with Slaughter High (with Caroline Munro and Calum George Lucas said, “Gary’s passing will be felt throughout the Star Wars
Waddell), and Rollercoaster and Jack the Giant Killer (with David Flint). The family. Through what were sometimes challenging shooting difficulties
latter two are for 101 Films, who have done really well with Rollercoaster and conditions, his contributions as a producer helped bring the stories to
(a great movie in my opinion, and it has a Lalo Schifrin score). They life onscreen. My heart goes out to his family.”
release their disc of Jack The Giant Killer at the end of October and I can Mark Hamill also paid tribute to Kurtz. “I’ve lost a lifelong friend,” the
thoroughly recommend this because it’s a great favourite of mine. actor wrote on Twitter. “The world has lost a kind, wise, multi-talented
Okay, so it is a poor man’s version of The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, but artist & filmmaker whose contributions to cinema cannot be overstated. It
a lot of fun nevertheless. This colourful medieval fantasy concerns an evil was an honour to have worked with him & I know I am better man just for
wizard (Torin Thatcher) who attempts to regain his lost magical powers by having known him.”
abducting beautiful Princess Elaine (Judith Meredith). Kerwin Matthews,
who played Sinbad in the Harryhausen film, turns up as the heroic Jack GOODBYE SARGE
and agrees to transport the Princess to safety at a faraway convent. Over The sci-fi world also lost Al Matthews, the real-life military man who
the course of the trip he battles witches, dragons, sea monsters and the portrayed the no-nonsense, cigar-chomping Sgt. Apone in the sci-fi horror

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classic Aliens. Matthews was found dead,

aged 75, in his home in Alicante on Spain’s
Mediterranean coast by a neighbour.
Matthews also had bit parts in Rough
Cut (1980), Ragtime (1981), Superman
III (1983), The Fifth Element (1997) and
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). But it’s his
performance in James Cameron’s 1986 sci-fi
horror film that endeared him to audiences.
Near the movie’s beginning, the crew of the USS
Sulaco awake from their deep sleep and Apone
instantly reaches for his cigar and shouts instructions to the drowsy crew.
“All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed?
Another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on
the farm. Every meal’s a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation
a parade. I LOVE the Corps!”
Matthews himself served almost six years in the Marine Corps in
Vietnam, receiving 13 combat awards and two Purple Hearts.
“Yes, I was the only person in the movie not pretending to be a Marine; in
fact, I taught the other actors how to look and act. Mr. Cameron was pleased charity and will bring together the
with my input. He said he had no idea I was that good; had he known, my worlds largest gathering of Daleks.
part would have been bigger,” he said in 2006. The folk at PodPad Studios brought
along their steampunk Dalek, which
SO LONG, SERVALAN dazzled the crowds with its great
We also sadly lost Jacqueline Pearce, best display, and various other robots,
known as the villainous Servalan in Terry droids, and Mad Max-style cars.
Nation’s cult sci-fi classic Blake’s 7 (1978-81). Other stalls featured a full size
Jacqueline Kay Pearce was born on December Avatar and lots to please both
20, 1943, in Woking, Surrey, and an abusive Star Wars and Marvel fans: Darth
childhood at home and unhappy school years Vader, Stormtroopers, and a very saucy Spidergirl!
in a Catholic convent prompted often crippling I got a rare Doctor Who Marvel comic featuring the fourth Doctor and
depression in adult life. She also survived drug an Alien illustration by the talented artist Chris Baker. Now as I said, this
addiction while living in the US in the late 1960s event was called The Stars of Time, so there were a lot of Doctors about,
and a later diagnosis of breast cancer. from Bill Hartnell and Peter Cushing lookalikes right up to a John Hurt War
A popular performer on stage, Jacqueline quickly broke Doctor and a great Jodie Whittaker lookalike. There was also a great Tom
into films, featuring prominently in the Hammer horrors The Plague of the Baker Doctor named Neill who was staying in our BnB. We chatted and joked
Zombies (1966 – her character’s rise from the grave memorably ended in with him over breakfast, and he even had Tom’s voice down to a tee. They
decapitation by shovel at the hands of André Morell) and The Reptile (1966, were all great and I saw lots of kids and grown-ups gasp as they saw their
playing the title role). Other films included Don’t Lose Your Head (1967, from heroes. I must say, however, that I wasn’t so sure about the chubby middle
the Carry On… team), Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968, in which aged bloke who was also dressed up as Jodie Whittaker’s newest Doctor. I
she starred alongside Jerry Lewis, Bernard Cribbins and Terry-Thomas), assume it was for a dare.
White Mischief (1987), Bruce Robinson’s How to Get Ahead in Advertising There were a host of other cosplayers too, and each day there was a
(1989) and Princess Caraboo (1994). cosplayer competition on the stage in the main hall. Participants in these
On TV, she was seen in the classic serials David Copperfield (1974) ranged from a kid in something their mum knocked up the night before to
and was a familiar face guesting in popular shows that ranged from The some very professional looking costumes and the outright bizarre! I must
Avengers and Callan to Doctor Who and Casualty. In 2012 she published an say by the early afternoon on the first day the convention was rammed full
autobiography, From Byfleet to the Bush. to overflowing and I found it hard to move around at times!
Now as is usual for this and other conventions there were some celebrity
STARS OF TIME FILM & COMIC CON WESTON-SUPER-MARE guests and stars of TV and film for you to meet and chat to and, for a small
(By Bill Mac, with a little help from wife Sam!) fee, get their autograph. Most were happy to pose with their fans for a selfie.
Weston-super-Mare is a seaside town in Somerset and the venue for one There was also a professional photographer there and you could book him
of Britain’s best Comic Cons. Now in its thirteenth year this convention for a high quality picture with the various guests.
goes from strength to strength and over the August Bank Holiday - on the The lovely Lalla Ward, companion and once wife to the fourth Doctor, was
Sunday and the Bank Holiday Monday - it was held at the Tropicana Centre there, as was the friendly Lisa Bowerman who is in over 50 of the Doctor
on the seafront. I must say the great advantage of having such an event in Who Big Finish audio plays plus Casualty, Corrie etc and was very helpful to
a holiday resort such as Weston is that you’ve got a huge number of hotels me on the day.
and guest houses nearby. In fact I booked me and the missus into a BnB just Sandeep Mohan was there, an actor who has been in a ton of movies
across the road from the event… you just couldn’t find a better place than such as Rogue One, The Last Jedi, The Force Awakens and Guardians of the
The Sunfold, and they do a wicked variety of flavoured Gins. Galaxy, and again was a great guy.
We got there not long after opening time on the Sunday, around tennish Last but certainly not least there was
(same time as Andy Murray gets up, Ed) and there was already a healthy the wonderful David Warner, whose
queue of punters gathering in the list of credits is amazing - including
street eager to get in and to get out of Time Bandits, Star Trek,The Omen,
the typical British bank holiday rain. Titanic and of course Doctor Who. The
Once inside, you walked straight into a guy is a legend and it was a pleasure
large animatronic T-Rex and then into a to see him happily chat to his many
hall filled with stalls selling everything fans. These guests were all only too
sci-fi-related all with fantastic displays. happy to pose together in a team
These ranged from the Sons of Skaro a picture for me.
group of Dalek-building enthusiasts who Congrats to Dave Burrows and his
love Davros and his creations and raise team for putting on the event. They
money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. are running another one-dayer in
They were raffling off a Dalek for charity December on Sunday the 2nd also in
and promoting their planned gathering the Tropicano. Look it up on Facebook
next march in Chippenham, which is for and with luck you might see me there!

Is there a doctor in the house? Well there were
three, actually. Richard Molesworth looks back 45 his November saw Doctor Who
celebrate its 55th anniversary on
years to The Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Special… television with very little fanfare.
The idea of a TV programme
indulging in a token back-slapping
exercise when reaching an on-air milestone
is nothing new nowadays, but back in 1972,
the makers of Doctor Who were one of the
first TV production teams to seek to use an
approaching birthday - the programme’s
tenth - as an excuse for a special celebration.
But what was originally planned was very
far removed from the story that was
eventually shown...
Producer Barry Letts, along with his script
editor, Terrance Dicks, had been at the helm
of Doctor Who since the show’s seventh
season. They had quickly cottoned-on to
the idea that it was good to have a ‘hook’
to launch each new season on BBC1. For
Doctor Who’s eighth season’s opening story,
they had introduced a new companion (Jo
Grant), a major new villain (the Master), and
had also brought back the popular Autons
for a re-match with the Doctor. For the
ninth season’s opening story they brought
back the Daleks, who had not been seen on
screen since 1967, for their first colour TV
adventure. So to spearhead the show’s tenth
season, Letts and Dicks decided to bring
back the first and second Doctors, in the
guise of actors William Hartnell and Patrick
Troughton, for a one-off story with the
current incarnation of Doctor, as played by
Jon Pertwee.
To be fair, it wasn’t exactly an original
idea. “If you think about it, it’s the most
obvious plot device of all,” Barry Letts once
noted. “Hardly a week went by without
somebody coming up to me and suggesting
this idea, so it was more a case of bowing to
pressure than of divine in inspiration.”
So, having decided to open the show’s
tenth season with a story featuring all
three Doctors, the production team then
needed to find someone to write the story’s
script. Terrance Dicks decided to let the
Bristol-based writing duo of Bob Baker
and Dave Martin have a crack at
coming up with a storyline.
Baker and Martin had written
two previous Doctor Who stories
to date, ‘The Claws of Axos’ and
‘The Mutants’, and had been
nurtured onto the series by Dicks,
when he quickly realised that he
needed a pool of dependable writers
to work with on the show. The duo
had travelled up from Bristol
to watch their most recent
story, ‘The Mutants’, being
recorded at the BBC studios in
March 1972. During the day,
Terrance Dicks asked
them to think about
coming up with a


possible multi-Doctor storyline. So on the

train journey back to Bristol that evening, the
writers brainstormed a possible multi-Doctor
story idea, which they called ‘Deathworld’.
Their proposed story opened with the
President of the Time Lords playing a game
of chess against the skeletal figure of Death
itself (in a homage to Ingmar Bergman’s
1957 film The Seventh Seal). The Time Lord
President, unusually, has three white Kings
on the board, but Death slowly outplays
him, and captures each King in turn. As the
first King is removed from the board, an
accident in the UNIT laboratory on Earth
sees the third Doctor and his companion,
Jo, vanish - seemingly killed in an accident.
They reappear in Limbo, an eerie, ethereal,
embodiment of Hell. As the other Kings are
slowly dismissed from the board, they are
joined by the second and first Doctors... should not prevent him being involved in
The Time Lords have become embroiled the proposed story, but Letts, sensibly,
in a struggle against the Universe’s forces to see if the actors would be interested in Top: decided to keep the actor’s participation
of Evil, embodied in the Death figure, and returning to Doctor Who for a one-off story. Medieval knight to a bare minimum. Between them,
Max Von Sydow
the fight is being played out as the chess Troughton was immediately agreeable, plays chess with Letts and Dicks decided that the first
game. The three Doctors find themselves although his availability (the actor was Death (Bengt Doctor should only be seen on-screen
Ekerot) in Ingmar
in the Limbo dimension, pitted against committed to other projects) dictated that Bergman’s for a couple of scenes per episode, his
zombies, demons and other assorted the story would need to be made later in the The Seventh contribution structured in such a manner
Seal (1957),
nasties. Ultimately, the Doctors realise that year’s production block than Letts initially an impressive
that his performance could be pre-filmed
the concept of ‘Death’ is the key to their hoped for. However, William Hartnell had inspiration for in advance of the studio recording dates.
situation, and so the first and second Doctors retired from acting a few years earlier, and the Three Doctors However, they did hope that Hartnell’s
sacrifice themselves so that the third Doctor was suffering from a degenerative illness, health would at least allow him to make
and Jo can escape from Limbo and return to Arteriosclerosis, which affected his memory Above: a full appearance with Troughton and
Would Jamie
their proper dimension, securing victory for and impacted on his ability to learn and (Frazer Hines)
Pertwee in the final scenes of the last
the Time Lords in the process. memorise lines of dialogue. This raised a rejoin the second episode of the story.
serious question mark as to whether the Doctor? In April 1972, Bob Baker and
DOCTORS ON CALL actor was up to the rigours of a performing Dave Martin were asked to fine-tune
Barry Letts began making enquiries with for few full days in the studio. their multi-Doctor story idea, with
William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, Hartnell was adamant that his health the constraints on the first Doctor’s

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the antithesis of everything the Time Lords send the second Doctor and Jamie across
stand for. Their inspiration for the character’s the time stream to help, breaking their first
name was literally a mirror-image of the word law of time. They also send the first Doctor,
‘WHO’ - ‘OHM’. Their story was still set in a but his transport capsule becomes trapped,
Limbo dimension, with a man-eating fungus only allowing him to communicate with his
used to transport the various characters from later selves via the TARDIS’s monitor screen.
one plane of existence to another, and was The episode ends with the third Doctor and
littered with allusions to suicides, morgues Jo being zapped by the anti-matter creature,
and zombies. Barry Letts, in particular, felt leaving the second Doctor and Jamie behind.
that this approach was more in the style of a The script for the second episode was
‘Hammer Horror’ than Doctor Who, and asked delivered by Baker and Martin in early
for a more science-fiction oriented backdrop. August. The third Doctor and Jo find
So the setting of Limbo was altered to themselves in Ohm’s desolate anti-matter
become a dimension existing inside a black universe, while the second Doctor and Jamie
hole, and the man-eating fungus became a try to convince the sceptical Brigadier about
gelatinous anti-matter creature instead. the seriousness of the situation. They come
Terrance Dicks also asked Baker and Martin under attack from the anti-matter creature
to include the semi-regular character of again, and the three of them retreat to the
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to their script, TARDIS. Meanwhile, the third Doctor and Jo
alongside the three Doctors, Jo and Jamie. are captured and brought before Ohm, just
A romantic sub-plot between Jo and Jamie as the TARDIS, with the second Doctor, Jamie
was also requested by the script editor. The and the Brigadier on board, is transported
four-part story, given the working title of ‘The into the black hole.
Three Doctors’, was formally commissioned Terrance Dicks only had a few notes for
from Baker and Martin at the end of June the writers at this juncture. He cautioned
1972. Dicks asked the writers to submit their them about making Jamie’s Scottish accent
scripts an episode at a time, so he could too broad in their scripted dialogue for him,
feed-back and address any issues before the suggesting they limit themselves to a few
Above: involvement presented to them. Additionally, duo began work on any later episodes. token phrases such as “Hoots” and “Och aye”
This iconic Radio
Times cover
Terrance Dicks asked them to include the in the final two episodes. Also, he wanted Jo
brought together character of Jamie McCrimmon, companion BREAKING THE LAW OF TIME and Jamie to youthfully rebel against the
William Hartnell, to the second Doctor, in their new storyline, The script for the first episode was delivered wisdom of their respective elder Doctors, and
Patrick Troughton
and Jon Pertwee as he felt the character worked well with in late July 1972. The episode set-up the venture into a foolhardy scheme of their own
for the first Troughton’s Doctor. Frazer Hines, who had story, with the Time Lords under threat from against Ohm, at Jo’s instigation.
time ever. Top is
another image
played Jamie from 1966 through to 1969, was a mysterious force emanating from within The scripts for the final two episodes were
from the same agreeable to returning to the series for this a black hole in space. The same anti-matter delivered to Terrance Dicks in late August.
Battersea photo one story. force attacks the third Doctor, currently The third episode saw the Brigadier and Jamie
Baker and Martin refined their story idea, in exile on Earth in the late 20th century, rescuing Jo from Ohm’s palace, as the second
removing ‘Death’ as the main protagonist, besieging him and Jo in his stranded TARDIS. Doctor joins forces with his third incarnation
and replacing him with Ohm, a figure that is The Time Lords, rendered almost powerless, against Ohm. In the closing episode, Baker

Before the story even entered
production, the television
listings magazine Radio Times
organised a special photo session
in Battersea, South London,
which brought together William
Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and
Jon Pertwee for the first time
ever. The resultant photos - one
of which graced the cover of the
Radio Times in the week that the
first episode of the story went out
on BBC1 - have become iconic
images of the programmes tenth
anniversary celebrations.

and Martin had scripted the final scenes to

include Hartnell’s first Doctor finally freeing
himself from his entrapment, and physically
joining the second and third Doctors in their
final confrontation with Ohm. The three
Doctors defeat Ohm, and everyone returns to
their rightful places in time and space.

With the scripts delivered, pre-production
on the story began. It soon became clear
that Hartnell’s health wouldn’t even allow
him a few brief studio-bound scenes with
the other two Doctors, and so Terrance Dicks
restructured the scripts - mainly the final
episode - so that the first Doctor only ever
appears on monitor screens throughout,
allowing Hartnell to pre-film all of his Above: Hartnell, who performed all his scenes for
Jon Pertwee
contributions to the story during a single day. and Patrick
the story as the first Doctor, with his lines
A major headache then occurred when it was Troughton’s supplied to him on cue-cards positioned just
discovered that Frazer Hines had signed-up Doctors with the out of shot. He was later joined for a second
legendary Time
to play a regular character on the new ITV Lord, Omega, time by Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, music and sound effects, just in time for the
daytime soap Emmerdale Farm, just as the and Troughton’s giving the three Doctors the opportunity to first episode’s screening on BBC1 on Saturday
Doctor with
production team were about to issue him Brigadier
pose for publicity photos for the story. This 30th December 1972.
a contract for ‘The Three Doctors’. Terrance Lethbridge- was the second and final time the original The Doctor Who production team had
Dicks had to hurriedly re-write the scripts Stewart (Nicholas three Doctors were ever all together at once. intended to use a startling new rendition of
Courtney) and Jo
for the story to replace Jamie’s character (Katy Manning) With all the pre-filming done, the story the Doctor Who theme on all the upcoming
with that of John Levene’s semi-regular UNIT was re-christened ‘The Three Doctors’ once new episodes of the tenth season, starting
staff character, Sergeant Benton. At the same Pertwee and again, and the cast began rehearsing for with ‘The Three Doctors’, but decided against
time, Ohm was renamed Omega, as Barry Troughton peek the first of two studio sessions for the story. using this new composition (christened the
round the TARDIS
Letts thought the conceit of the original door, maybe
Tensions started building between Pertwee ‘Delaware’ version) right at the eleventh hour.
idea behind the name - a reversal of the looking for the and Troughton over the latter’s style of The more traditional version of the theme
word ‘WHO’ - was just too corny a concept. absent William performance. While Pertwee prided himself music was retained instead, but not before a
The story was also re-titled ‘The Black Hole’, on being word-perfect when delivering his short trailer for ‘The Three Doctors’ had been
as it was thought it better represented the scripted dialogue, Troughton had opted for screened on BBC1 a few days prior to the
storyline as a whole. a looser way of delivering his scripted lines story’s debut, complete with this new
Before the story even entered production, when he had played the Doctor in the 1960s, theme music.
the television listings magazine Radio happy to convey the gist of what his character ‘The Three Doctors’ became something
Times organised a special photo session in was saying. Pertwee found this method of a landmark story in the annals of the
Battersea, South London, which brought unhelpful for his own technique, which relied original series, and it also set something of
together William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton upon him recognising his prompts and cues a precedent for the programme to wheel out
and Jon Pertwee for the first time ever. The from the dialogue of the other characters in multi-Doctor stories at the merest whiff of an
resultant photos - one of which graced the any given scene. Any tension was short-lived, upcoming anniversary.
cover of the Radio Times in the week that as Pertwee and Troughton quickly resolved And despite all the attempts over the years
the first episode of the story went out on their differences, with Troughton happy to to emulate its success, the Doctor Who tenth
BBC1 - have become iconic images of the work to Pertwee’s methods. anniversary story remains as the only time the
programmes tenth anniversary celebrations. The final scenes of the story were recorded programme has successfully reunited
Location filming for the story began in at the BBC on Tuesday 12th December. This all the past and present Doctors in one
early November 1972. This included a single left just a few hectic weeks in order to edit single adventure. For that, at least, it
day’s filming at Ealing studios with William the completed episodes together, and dub on deserves respect


We love Close Encounters with our readers so drop us a letter at 29 Cheyham Way, South Cheam, Surrey SM2 7HX
or an e-mail at and you have a good chance of seeing your own name in print
Left: Katie Saylor, Roddy McDowell, Carl Franklin, Ike Eisenmann, Jared
Martin, and Carl Franklin in The Fantastic Journey

Left below: Neil Connery with Lois Maxwell and Daniela Bianchi in
Operation Kid Brother - plastering was never as much fun…

in the title role (basically Rimmer) and Ronald

Lacey (a type of Kryton/Lister hybrid) as a pair of
hapless technicians blundering around the galaxy
interfering in the affairs of alien worlds? The latter
oozed dry comedy from its Douglas Adams-ish
scripts, cheap sets and confident theme tune
by Pegasus.
Or how about putting some info in the
magazine on the unscreened and wiped series The
Inquisitors (LWT, 1968/69)? This attempt to ride
the shirt-tail of interest in The Avengers starred
Alan Lake and Tony Selby as a pair of investigators,
who use psychology in their detection work, only
made it to 3 or 4 episodes before being rapidly
Infinity. Thanks for the info on Neil Connery, made cancelled before transmission. Intended as LWT’s
me chuckle! premiere thriller series, I reckon if it’s known at all
now, it’s probably because of guest star Diana Dors
Hello Mr Bryce, marrying Lake after a whirlwind romance during
Hi Allan, First off, just a quick word about the availability production. The series was then reportedly quickly
What another enjoyable stroll down Memory Lane of Infinity in my neck of the woods. Frustratingly, replaced by The Inside Man, with Frederick Jaeger.
issue 12 proved to be. What gems from childhood I can never buy a copy in my local W H Smith in Yes, cultural memory can always obliterate
past will Infinity uncover next? Now, if I can Loughborough - though a few copies of Dark Side something if it doesn’t exist and ITV and the BBC
offer some additional details to a couple of the are usually available there - and I always have to were pretty indiscriminate about junking certain
excellent articles. make a special trip to Leicester’s Smiths, which is shows; contractual obligations necessitated
Interplanetary Pasta People took me straight always thankfully well-stocked with both titles. repeats being discouraged and so on. After all,
back to the 1970s when my local fleapit scheduled By the way, if you do manage to catch an only 1 episode of both Don Quick and Garry
dubbed Italian flicks on Sunday afternoons, interview with Patrick Mower please, please Halliday survives and 4 episodes of Counterstrike.
including the notorious Operation Kid Brother with ask him about his lost ITV series Haunted (ABC, Obviously, some shows could be very stagy,
Sean Connery’s sibling, Neil. However, John Martin 1967/8), in which he starred as a University like the little-seen one-off The Incredible Robert
is not quite right in stating this to be his sole Philosophy lecturer with a sideline investigating Baldick (BBC, 1972); a lightly steam punk Vic-
acting credit before returning to be a milkman. He occult and supernatural goings on, a show that torian-murder-mystery penned by Terry Nation
went on to roles in The Body Stealers (1969), Aces shared some of the cast and crew from Mystery and starring Robert Hardy as a wealthy and
Go Places 3 (1984) and even an episode of TV’s and Imagination. monstrously side-burned amateur sleuth steaming
Only When I Laugh, in-between assignments as a On the subject of obscure shows, I saw a quick around the country, Wild Wild West-style, in his
plasterer. It was big brother Sean who had the milk reference on issue 12’s letters page to Garry own personal armour-plated train. Still, it had a
round (“Would you like shemi-shkimmed?”). Halliday. So, I would very much like to know if any Quatermass and the Pit type twist in the tale.
Mrs. Whitehouse is not such a happy memory. readers watched a trio of other BBC sci fi/fantasy Bear that in mind, but remember that Garry
Apart from Doctor Who, she also laid into Jack kid’s shows from a similar time: Billy Bean and his Halliday (1959-62) ran for 50 very popular episodes
Gerson’s excellent paranormal thriller series The Funny Machine, The Lost Planet and Return to the in its Saturday afternoon slot. The show attracted
Omega Factor. The blessed Mary denounced it as Lost Planet. Billy Bean (1953-54) featured a pair positive reviews and legions of young fans keen
evil for its depictions of the occult and ensured of puppets - voiced by Peter Hawkins and Basil to follow the exploits of pilot Halliday - played
it did not make a second series, a real case of art Brush’s Ivan Owens - and their adventures with the by Carry On’s Terence Longdon and his sidekick
violated by politics. By the way, I would love to see titular machine that magically made things when Bill Dodds (a massively pre-Bergerac Terence
The Omega Factor covered in Infinity - darn, I’ll they were drawn on it’s ‘Cartoonerator’. Alexander) - doggedly on the trail of arch-villain
write the article myself if needs be! It also featured the voice of Space Patrol’s Dick The Voice, who never let his face be seen.
Logan’s Run - did you know in addition to the Vosburgh, and a memorably annoying theme Was this the genesis of Adam Adamant’s evil
TV spin off, MGM planned to reunite Michael York tune that’s still clattering round the memories of rival The Face?
and Jenny Agutter for a movie sequel based on viewers from the time! Simon Morris, Loughborough
William F Nolan’s Logan’s World, and to be filmed The 6-parters The Lost Planet (1954) and
in Europe? Presumably the failure of said TV series Return to the Lost Planet (1955) both transferred Oh boy, do I remember Garry Halliday, it was
convinced them otherwise. In fact, did you know from radio adaptations of Angus MacVicar’s one of my absolute favourite childhood shows.
the telly version was partly commissioned as a novels - rumoured to be an alternative name As I recall it was always on just after Grandstand
replacement for The Fantastic Journey, which for sci-fi novelist Andre Norton - about a pair of on Saturday afternoons and it seemed to take
had been pulled mid-season? Reputedly, some of rival amateur rocket ship inventors exploring them forever to read out all those bloody football
the former show’s unused scripts were adapted an alien world. Yes, naturally, these suffered scores and for my dad to tear up his pools coupon
for Logan’s Run, the same way Gemini Man used from the common vagaries of live TV: one viewer and head off up the pub. If memory serves, the
up stories left over from the cancellation of The remembered that a scene included a character villainous Voice had a laser-like death ray and I
Invisible Man with David McCallum. Here’s to the gesturing towards a concealed rock-door before it was on the edge of my seat worrying if he was
next wondrous issue. actually opened etc. etc. going to blast brave Garry out of the sky! I would
Barry McCann Or did anyone watch the Invaders-ish series love to do something on that but getting enough
Counterstrike with Jon Finch (BBC, 1969) or the decent pictures to go with it could be a massive
It seems we are way ahead of you Barry, since we proto-Red Dwarf comedy, The Adventures of Don problem. If any Infinity readers are sitting on a
already covered The Omega Factor in issue 9 of Quick (LWT, 1970) with a post-Avengers Ian Hendry stash please get in touch.

excellent piece by Mark Phillips on V. It’s a real
bugbear of mine that so many Americanisms
are creeping into my beloved language (I cringe
every time someone in a shop says, “Can I get...?”
instead of “Can I have...?”). Infinity is a British
magazine, so can we please have English spellings/
grammar? I’m willing to forgive you, though, due
to the superb content of your publication, and the
fact that I have an enormous smile on my face
whilst reading every issue.
Of course, the best way to get me over my V
hissy fit would be to do a big article on the sublime
Gabrielle Drake as soon as possible. I was 6 years
old when we got our first colour TV in 1971 and I
saw UFO, complete with Lt. Ellis in her purple wig.
First love never dies...
Thanks for all that you and your colleagues do,
Allan, and please never stop doing it!
Dave Barker, Wakefield
Dear Allan,
I had to write and thank you for your article on The We have more UFO coverage coming soon Dave,
Avengers in Infinity 11. I and my sister are major and Gabrielle Drake is likely to figure strongly in it.
fans of the television programme. I was 15 when As to the use of Americanisms, I am in agreement
the show first aired here in the States, so you can do with you to a certain extent. Mark is Canadian and
the math and figure out my age. To me it is just a one of our best writers and I don’t like to fiddle
number, and one that I don’t feel anything close to! around with his stuff too much, though he does
When The New Avengers was available here, it Above left: make an effort to Anglicise (Anglicize?) his text
was only shown at 10.30pm weekly on Fridays, Fasten your seat belts and I usually pop an English spell-checker on it
please. Garry Halliday
and the only way it was seen was from a network himself, aka Terence too. Okay, I’m off to fix my lunch now…
station out of Chicago. At that time, in the days Longdon, and we reckon
that the lovely Gabrielle
before there was cable, my sister and I would see Drake looks so much
Dear Editor,
how the reception was by moving the antenna on sexier without that I found your brief article concerning Harlan Ellison
the roof - while our parents were out - watching purple hair… in your current Infinity magazine unacceptable.
the programme through all the static and snow, You condemned a man who can no longer defend
seeing Chicago was over a hundred miles from our himself using a few well told antidotes and nothing
home town. But it was worth it. Today, of course, Revill was dropped after objecting to playing an else. Have you even read his recent biography, “A
we have every episode from the Mrs Peel era to ex-police officer (despite being an ex-paratrooper Lite Fuse” or attempted to talk to people who knew
The New Avengers, first on video tape, now on DVD. and SAS, mirroring Bodie’s background perfectly). him well, such as Bob Silverberg or Peter David?
The Avengers is my all time favourite TV show. A Andrews actually filmed several scenes alongside Harlan was no angel, but with Harlan everything
few programmes have come close, but nothing has Martin Shaw before Brian Clemens decided they was the word. God help you if you edited or
surpassed my love for the programme. were too physically similar and lacked chemistry. changed his words. Yes, he did not suffer fools,
Like all the other shows that make it to us from It was only then he remembered the dramatic and at times he had heated discussions, but more
your shores, my sister and I have enjoyed them tension between Shaw and Lewis Collins when times than not, his end of the discussion was
all, both of us discovering new finds and sharing they appeared together in The New Avengers and clear and well thought out. He opened his home
them with each other, Doctor Who becoming a Collins’ line of ‘We make a good team, we should to unknown writers he thought had potential and
close second - all the way back to the beginning work together again someday’. friends when they needed a place (not for days,
when it was first shown here on PBS (Public Patrick Walker, Londonderry but months). He had many friends and fans who
Television) in the 70s. And it became even more are missing him, as well as his long-time wife
popular with us after the reboot in 2005. Thanks for the info Patrick. By the way, did you Susan. It took him a while, but he did find the love
All of this enlightened viewing has come to us via know Clive Revill is still acting today at the age of of his life and they were happy together for over
PBS in the States. Besides The Avengers and Doctor 88 and a much respected stage performer? Maybe 30 years until his death.
Who we have also very much enjoyed Rosemary he made the right decision not to appear in The So, how dare you say, “there is no place for
& Thyme, Downton Abbey, Death in Paradise, Professionals, although Martin Shaw still seems to people like Harlan Ellison in the modern world”
Midsomer Murders, Father Brown and Grantchester, be doing well so maybe not… and try to compare him with the mindless
as well as Australian imports Miss Fischer, Mr. and celebrities who produce nothing, and mention
Mrs Murder, Doctor Blake and Murdoch Mysteries. Dear Allan, the convicted paedophile Rolf Harris in the same
I personally love all the imports. They are so much The latest issue of Infinity dropped through my article as Harlan Ellison?
better than what is offered here most of the time, letterbox yesterday, and I’ve already worked my You always knew what you were getting with
Am very much looking forward to The New Avengers way through most of the articles. The quality Harlan. He wore no masks or hid his true beliefs or
article in Infinity 12. and diversity of the items in each issue do great feelings. He was a man of integrity and honesty
Steve Semon, Greenfield WI, USA credit to you and your staff. Please keep up the that the world needs badly today.
excellent work. The problem I have is that, like a Raymond Reece, Somerdale, New Jersey
I am so glad you and your sister are enjoying the messy tube of Superglue, your publication is so
magazine, Steve, we have quite a few American hard to put down! Even when I really should have Whilst I apologise for upsetting you, Raymond,
subscriptions now and our US sales are looking been turning the bedside lamp off last night, I I must point out that my editorials are always a
healthier by the minute so it seems a lot of your decided that I absolutely had to read the piece purely personal view and I stand by this one. I am
fellow Americans feel the way you do. Loved your on Quatermass. Sleep deprivation is never a good sure if I had known him personally then I wouldn’t
fancy posh notepaper by the way! idea, but I couldn’t help myself. The Logan’s Run have ventured such an opinion, but I didn’t and
article brought back happy childhood memories, never will.
Dear Infinity, particularly of the TV show. I was a huge fan, and He was a brilliant writer for sure and leaves
I greatly enjoyed your article on The New Avengers was crestfallen when both Logan’s Run and The behind a rich legacy, but once we get into
but have to question the assertion that it led Fantastic Journey were cancelled. Any chance of personal behaviour it’s a whole new ball game.
directly to the casting of The Professionals. The an in-depth feature on the latter? You need to read the piece again if you think I
initial actors for the roles of Bodie and Doyle My only criticism of this issue concerns the use compare him to Rolf Harris, though, because I
were actually Clive Revill and Anthony Andrews. of American spellings throughout an otherwise most assuredly didgeridoo not…


Setting off from This Island

Earth, Richard Holliss
encounters a dying planet,
a strange alien race and
a hideous bug-eyed monster!

Faith Domergue
in the claws
ike many of the best-remembered fantasy movies of of the hideous
the 1950s - with the notable exception of Forbidden Metaluna Mutant,
a creature who
Planet - This Island Earth (1955) originated as has the brains
a science fiction novel. In this case a three-part to know a pretty
earth girl when he
adventure by Raymond F. Jones that was first published in sees one…
the periodical Thrilling Wonder Stories between 1949 and 1950.
Reprinted in book form in 1952, Jones’ tale about scientists
from Earth becoming embroiled in an interplanetary war caught
the attention of Hollywood director Joseph Newman (Red Skies premise, O’Callaghan and Coen’s screenplay concerns a physicist
of Montana). While Newman had little or no experience of the called Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), who receives instructions from
science fiction genre, he was well aware of the public’s insatiable an anonymous source on how to build a complex communication
appetite for movies about aliens and flying saucers. device called an Interocitor. On the strange machine’s viewing
Under the banner of his own independent company Sabre screen, a scientist named Exeter (Jeff Morrow) makes contact and
Productions, Newman bought the rights to the story and invites Meacham to join a top-secret research project.
employed veteran screenplay writer Edward G. O’Callaghan to Flying to Georgia in a remote controlled aircraft sent by Exeter,
work on a shooting script. It quickly became apparent to Newman, Meacham is introduced to an international group of scientists,
however, that a film adaptation would require a budget far larger including Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) and Steve Carlson
than anything that Sabre Productions could finance. (Russell Johnson). Although Exeter seems pleasant enough,
Newman showed the script and a number of inspirational Meacham is suspicious about the project’s aims and together with
sketches to William Alland at Universal International. Alland Adams attempts to escape. But their private plane is intercepted
agreed to finance the project and hire Newman and O’Callaghan by a space ship, which transports them to an alien planet called
as the projects director and scriptwriter respectively. Alland also Metaluna. On arrival Meacham and Adams discover that the
brought in Franklin Coen (The Train) to revise the script. Metalunians desperately need uranium to power their defence
Alland’s reputation for achieving spectacular results and shields against a meteor bombardment from their planetary
reasonable box-office returns with a slew of low-budget black and neighbour Zahgon. Metaluna’s supreme ruler, The Monitor, then
white movies, such as It Came From Outer Space (1953) and The reveals his plans to invade the Earth. But Exeter has a change of
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), made him the ideal choice heart and helps the scientists to escape, but not before he’s
as the film’s producer. However, Universal, who were somewhat savagely clawed by one of the planet’s grotesque mutants.
envious of the Oscar-winning success of George Pal’s science fiction From the safety of outer space, Meacham, Adams and Exeter
movies at Paramount, agreed to shoot the movie in Technicolor. watch as the warring Zahgons destroy Metaluna’s ionization layer
With the second half of the script deviating from Jones’ original transforming the planet into a radioactive sun.


The pulp sci-fi
mag that provided
the inspiration for
the film

Below right:
A behind the
scenes shot of
producer William
Alland with Jeff
Morrow and Faith

But the return journey to Earth is fraught with

danger, including an attack by another mutant, and a
split-second escape before the spaceship crashes into
the sea and explodes.

Newman decided against using big name stars, saving San Francisco from Ray Harryhausen’s
arguing that science fiction film budgets were best radioactive ‘sixtopus’ in It Came From Beneath the
spent on the special effects. This was definitely the Sea (1955), plays the sympathetic and extremely
attitude of producer George Pal, who only employed bright Ruth Adams. Though by the time the mutant
B-movie actors for films such as When Worlds Collide gets its claws around her figure-hugging spacesuit,
(1952) and The War of the Worlds (1953). she’s screaming in the best tradition of a classic
Jeff Morrow who plays Exeter was no stranger damsel-in-distress stereotype. Douglas Spencer (The
to professorial roles in low-budget science films, Thing From Another World) is The Monitor, Metaluna’s
including the execrable ‘monstrous bird’ movie The fascistic leader.
Giant Claw and the highly underrated robot classic 45 days of live-action filming began in January
Kronos (both released in 1957). In This Island Earth, 1954. Clifford Stine (The Monolith Monsters) was put
he gives one of the best performances of his career as in charge of the special effects cinematography, with
the alien scientist. Virgil Vogel (director of The Land Unknown), as the
Rex Reason’s (The Creature Walks Among Us) film’s editor. Legend has it that when Alland saw the
portrayal of Cal Meacham is adequately square-jawed rushes for the film he also engaged veteran director
and heroic, but his character is rather bland in Jack Arnold (The Space Children) to reshoot some of
comparison. A problem that usually besets the the scenes set on Metaluna.
hero of most science fiction movies, where the only
social skill required is the ability to spout scientific ULTIMATE BUG-EYED MONSTER!
gobbledegook and converse with a slide rule. With such a successful publicity campaign built
Glamorous Faith Domergue, who had just finished around the Gill-Man, the reptilian star of the ‘Black

This page:
(1957). A different version of the headpiece More impressive
also turned up on the 1960s television scenes from the
movie, including
programmes Lost in Space and The Time a publicity shot of
Tunnel. Of the original suit, the mutant’s Faith Domergue
posing with some
claws provided the template for the lecherous aliens.
burrowing hands of The Mole People in 1956, The Earth
while it’s massive feet plodded across the set miniature used
in the effects
of the science fiction B-movie The Monster of shots was also
Piedras Blancas (1959), used to make the
With the live-action in the can, the “Earth in Space”
Universal special effects team started work Universal Pictures
on the miniatures. For the landing of Exeter’s fanfare opening.
In interviews to
spaceship on Metaluna, a 33-metre-long promote the film,
miniature of the planet’s terrain was actors Jeff Morrow
and Rex Reason
constructed on Stage 12; this being the only said that when
studio large enough to house the camera’s scenes involving
the mutant came
dolly track. The model of the spaceship up during the
was built out of aluminium and weighed premiere, it took
eight kilograms. Suspended by wires from a every ounce
of restraint for
mechanical housing in the ceiling, the model them not to
Lagoon’ movie franchise, Universal insisted brain tissue, an insect-like face and five could then be guided along a track. sneak out. They
were extremely
on a similar monster for the climax of This tiers of interlocking mouths. Walking on its The Zahgon meteors were balls of plaster embarrassed
Island Earth. Make-up department supervisor hind legs the creatures also had a shell-like filled with a magnesium compound called by the mutant
Bud Westmore (Creature From the Black protuberance covering its spinal column. chlorate of potash. These were then carefully costume, which
they likened
Lagoon) immediately sought the assistance Westmore opined that a complete body suit piloted down to the planet’s surface on to a giant bug.
of Jack Kevan (The Incredible Shrinking Man), comprised of pulsating veins wouldn’t look strands of blackened piano wire. Navigating They felt that
the mutant
who had been responsible for the design very realistic and suggested putting the miniatures via this method had already been completely ruined
of the Gill-Man. Together they dreamed up creature in a pair of long pants. Concerned used to great effect by Howard and Theodore an otherwise
decent film. They
the Metaluna Mutant, the science fiction with the costs of manufacturing a complete Lydecker, whose pioneering special effects were wrong of
genre’s ultimate bug-eyed monster thanks suit, Alland readily agreed. included films for Republic Pictures and course…
to its bulbous head, saucer-sized eyes and A separate head was built for close-ups, television shows for Irwin Allen.
enormous lobster-shaped claws. while the arms of the creature were When the meteors struck the planet’s
Inspired by aliens designed for, but never elongated with the stunt actor operating the surface, technicians Charlie Baker and
used in It Came From Outer Space, Chris claws via a special squeeze device. When Fred Knoth created the illusion of a fiery
Mueller sculpted the mutant, with stunt the mutant is injured in a rock-fall, tomato impact by electronically detonating
actor Regis Parton hired to wear the finished ketchup was used to simulate blood. miniature canisters of petrol buried beneath
rubber costume. Two metres in height and The Metaluna Mutant’s hideous looking the miniature set. This footage was shot
costing $20,000, the Metaluna Mutant had demeanour also provided the inspiration separately and then superimposed over the
a large cranium (at least 76cm in diameter), for the alien dwarves in the low-budget scenes of the spaceship’s arrival.
pulsating red and green veins, exposed teen movie Invasion of the Saucer Men Matte paintings doubled for the exterior

This page:
Behind the
scenes filming,
and below is a
production design
sketch for the
Metaluna Mutant,
who proved very
popular as a
model kit!

which it attacks Faith Domergue before passing

the movie with a ‘U’ certificate.
Reviews for This Island Earth were generally
positive with The Hollywood Reporter prophesying
that the film would “repeat the tremendous
box-office success of It Came From Outer Space.”
The New York Times thought that the, “technical
effects” were “superlatively bizarre and beautiful.”
Even Variety considered the movie, “one of the
view of Exeter’s research facility in the Georgia soundman Edwin Lucky, who used a combination most imaginative, fantastic and cleverly-con-
countryside, along with the spaceship bay with of static noise from a radio set, a synthesiser, and ceived entries to date in the outer-space film
the hi-jacked plane. Other mattes were used to an exploding Howitzer shell respectively. field.” The Los Angeles Times called it, “one of the
give a sense of scale to the distant towers of the most fascinating—and frightening science-fiction
underground city of Metaluna and to show the WAR OF THE PLANETS movies to come at us in awesome Technicolor and
spaceship moored to an observation tower. This Island Earth was released in America on June (with) a soundtrack that is as ear-wracking as it
With a great deal of the film’s $800,000 budget 10th 1955 and toured on a double-bill with the is eerie.”
spent on the visual effects, Alland instructed set comedy Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. In Britain, Kinematograph Weekly said, “The
decorator Russell Gausman to recycle ‘scien- Universal pulled out all the stops with the first half is nearly all talk, but the second, firmly
tific-looking’ props from the film Abbott and publicity, from explosive headlines such as, ‘Two- buttressed by a bracing cosmic spectacle, permits
Costello Go to Mars (1953). Some of these items and-a-Half Years in the Making” and ‘The Supreme it to make a three-point box-office landing. Acted
were cannibalised to construct the Interocitor. Excitement of Our Time’ to exploiting the fact that well with all seriousness, cleverly directed and
A strange looking device with its large metallic the film was shot in Technicolor. brilliantly staged, it’s a rare treat for adults and
brown chassis, atomic symbol, brightly coloured Stunning poster art by Reynold Brown showing youngsters.” Only The Monthly Film Bulletin was
plastic control wheel, flashing valves, red disin- the film’s leads fleeing the doomed landscape less enthusiastic, “The dialogue remains resolutely
tegrating ray and triangle-shaped screen that is of Metaluna, while Zahgon ships bombard the earth-bound,” it said, “Joseph Newman has done
pure 1950s kitsch. planet surface, buildings crumble and an army his best to make his characters as intriguing as his
Under the supervision of Joseph Gershenson, of mutants give chase, added greatly to the special effects, but they have neither the stature
the film’s soundtrack score relied on stock music distributor’s spectacular advertising campaign. nor the expression.”
by in-house composers Herman Stein, Henry Raymond F. Jones’ original novel was Sadly, the film wasn’t very successful at
Mancini and Hans J. Salter. The award-winning republished with a tie-in cover and Faith the American box-office, and denigrating it to
sound effects, on the other hand, were created Domergue lent her name and ‘space-babe’ figure ‘supporting programme’ status in parts of Europe
especially for the film. Tracing the flame of to a dieting competition for the Hollywood Bread didn’t help matters either. Based on the poor
an acetylene torch across a metal plate and Company. Manufacturer Double Jay even issued response, Universal abandoned any future plans to
then combining it with the sound of rushing air a tie-in waterproof suit called ‘Space-O-Rain’. film similar projects in colour.
accomplished the buzz of the interocitor. The This bizarre looking garment (no doubt aimed at A theatrical re-release in 1964 helped to boost
death-ray was achieved in much the same manner patrons of Drive-In cinemas) included a free ticket sales of the 8mm black and white digest version
but included the squeal of skidding airplane to see the movie. entitled War of the Planets. Marketed by Castle
tyres. The ticking sound of the pilotless plane, the The film opened in Britain on June 27th as a Films, this tightly edited excerpt from the film was
high-pitched Metalunian power generator and the supporting feature to a romantic drama called launched at the burgeoning home cinema market
meteor shower were all the brainchild of studio Female on the Beach and was released through and remained a strong selling title throughout the
GFD (General 1960s. A longer colour version was subsequently
Film Distributors) released under the original theatrical title.
on the Gaumont This Island Earth, which made its British
and Granada television debut on the BBC in August 1975, was
cinema circuits. also the subject of the grossly overrated Mystery
The British Board Science Theatre 3000 in 1996. This feeble series
of Film Censors made fun of movies by hacking them about and
considered adding inane narration. While it’s true that some
the mightmar- of the movies they ridiculed were in the Z-list
ish-looking category, This Island Earth didn’t deserve to be
Metaluna Mutant treated so appallingly.
to be a bit too Surviving this debacle the movie is now fondly
scary for young remembered for its outstanding contribution
audiences, so to 1950s science fiction cinema. With its
made one or two eye-popping visuals and wonderful onscreen
minor cuts to thrills, This Island Earth is one of the crown jewels
the sequence in of the fantasy film genre.





ollowing on from our hugely popular volumes on Hammer
and Amicus Films we are proud to be able to complete

a terrifying trilogy with this exhaustively researched and
stunningly illustrated book on the many other great British horror
movies made by companies such as Tigon and Tyburn, and

cult directors like Pete Walker, Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis,
Michael Reeves and Norman J. Warren. BEYOND
H A M M ER &
Many of genre cinema’s most enduring classics were made in A MICUS…
Britain, and you are sure to learn something new about these old
favourites in a book that tackles the subject in exhaustive detail,
right from the silent days through to the modern era of EDITED BY
low budget streaming screamers! ALLAN
Along the way we cover the movies of the great Tod Slaughter,
Britain’s unsung horror star, and salute Ealing’s chilling ghost
story compendium, Dead of Night (1945). We also look at AIP’s
adventures in the UK and the controversy surrounding Anglo
Amalgamated’s so-called ‘Sadean Trilogy’ of Horrors of the
Black Museum (1959), Circus of Horrors (1960) and Peeping
Tom (1960).

The rich rural landscapes of ‘folk’ horror are a big part of this book
too, epitomised in the likes of Robin Hardy’s pagan masterpiece,
The Wicker Man (1973), Michael Reeves’ unforgettable
Witchfinder General (1968) and Tigon’s unofficial followup,
Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971).

To tell the full story of British Horror Cinema, Dark Side editor
Allan Bryce has enlisted some of today’s most highly respected
genre authors - award-winning writers such as Simon Fitzjohn,
John Hamilton, Christopher Koetting, John Martin, Denis Meikle,
Neil Pettigrew and M.J. Simpson. Each one brings their unique
style and knowledge to their specialist subject.

Profusely illustrated throughout, with never-before-published

stills, posters, lobby cards and candid photographs, this lavish Finished copies of this stunning book will be delivered to us on November
book is an essential purchase for any fan of British horror films! 15th. It has a limited print run and will only be sold through The Dark Side
for £20 a copy including p&p. Please be aware that the price per book for
PRE-ORDER BONUS* foreign orders is £25 to take into account higher shipping rates.
Pre-order British Horror Films -Beyond Hammer & Amicus
before Nov 1st and get a personal dedication in the book itself! * Payment can be made in two ways - via PayPal on our website at:, or by cheque made out to Ghoulish
To encourage readers to pre-order we have decided to offer the
Publishing, along with the form below, to:
same incentive that has proved so popular with our previous 29 Cheyham Way, South Cheam, Surrey SM2 7HX.
Hammer and Amicus volumes. If you order before November 1st
(when we go to print), your name will be included in the book * Pre-ordered copies will also be personally signed by the editor.
itself - you will be given a personal thank you in the opening
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The groundbreaking first season of The Outer Limits, now out

on Blu-ray, showcased the unique work of a trio of stylistic
innovators: screenwriter Joseph Stefano, director Gerd
Oswald, and cinematographer Conrad Hall. Together,
they made unforgettable TV, as Brian J. Robb reports…


Art by Rick Melton (


roduction kicked off with a double-bill Opposite:
of episodes written and directed Rick Melton’s
stunning artwork
by show creator Leslie Stevens, The for ‘The Zanti
Galaxy Being and The Borderland. Working Misfits’
with the show’s other significant cinematog- Above left:
rapher, John Nickolaus, Stevens’ opening Series creator

Joseph Stefano
salvo was a tale of first contact with an with one of the
alien intelligence, achieved by curious radio fish monsters
engineer Allan Maxwell (Cliff Robertson). The from ‘Tourist
t may have only aired for two on late-night television. From the famous humanoid creature from the Andromeda Thanks to Simon
seasons, but The Outer Limits is ‘control voice’ introduction by Vic Perrin, galaxy, inadvertently transferred to Earth, Greetham for
providing this
one of the two most iconic science through a host of big name stars - Martin was simply a man in a diving wet suit with image
fiction and fantasy anthology shows Landau, David McCallum, William Shatner, an alien head piece, its unearthly impact
from the 1960s that still have an and Donald Pleasence - The Outer Limits achieved by reversing the film to negative Below:
Scenes from
impact today. Some of the show’s made an unforgettable impression. (which meant the creature could not appear ‘Galaxy Being’ and
episodes sometimes get confused in the same shot as any humans). ‘The Borderland’
with Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone PLEASE STAND BY… Even today, the creature and the entire
(the other big 1960s’ anthology show), but the Initially conceived by television producer episode (a kind of retelling of The Day the
two shows are very different. Where Serling’s Stevens, The Outer Limits was pitched to ABC Earth Stood Still, 1951) is strikingly effective.
show was fantasy based, often with an ironic as stories of ‘awe and mystery’ presented Although the alien creature accidentally
twist-in-the-tale ending, The Outer Limits by an unknown and mysterious ‘control causes havoc and even some deaths, it
was unashamedly a monster show, driven by voice’ that would take control of the viewers’ does not mean ill and has a message for
science fiction. Despite that, it wasn’t what television sets. Only after it was commissioned humanity: ‘Go to your homes. Go and
its creators intended. did Stevens attempt to figure out how to give some thought to the mysteries of
Leslie Stevens (Stoney Burke) created the actually make it work. The resulting series the universe.’ That could be the mission
show, which ran for 49 episodes. Psycho is the link between Serling’s The Twilight statement of The Outer Limits itself.
screenwriter Joseph Stefano oversaw the Zone (which would end in 1965) and Gene The Galaxy Being was shot as a pilot
first season, bringing a dark Gothic edge to Roddenberry’s Star Trek (which debuted in episode and sold the series to ABC. Stevens
Stevens’ science fiction dramas. Drawing 1966). During 1963 and 1964, The Outer Limits followed up with his second episode as
equally upon 1950s’ monster movies and was the destination of choice for America’s
1940s’ film noir, The Outer Limits has science fiction fans. ‘The show gained viewers
stood the test of time, lingering long in the steadily but was never a break-out hit,’ said
memory of those who caught an episode David J. Schow, author of the series’ definitive
history, The Outer Limits Companion.
To bring his show to the screen, Stevens
hired the screenwriter of Alfred Hitchcock’s
Psycho (1960), Joseph Stefano. The odd
combination of 1940s film noir and 1950s
monster movies that The Outer Limits
became was down to Stefano’s ‘sci-fi Gothic’
approach. In combination with director Gerd
Oswald and cinematographer Conrad Hall,
this ‘troika’ of creative individuals produced
the best episodes of the series. Between
them this trio were responsible for a total
of 14 episodes of the 49-episode run of the
show, almost a third of the entire series.
Rather than looking at the show in
broadcast order (as presented on the
brand new striking Blu-ray transfers), it is
instructive to see how the show develops
by examining it in production order, with a
special emphasis on instalments involving
two or more of the Stefano/Oswald/Hall
creative team that made their distinctive
mark on the series.

Clockwise from above left:
Shirley O’Hara in ‘The Human Factor,’
Harlan Ellison’s ‘The Demon with the
Glass Hand’ and ‘Architects of Fear’

Haskin (War of the Worlds, 1953) joined the

show for this one; he would go on to helm
six other episodes including the Harlan
Ellison second season classic Demon With
a Glass Hand. Robert Culp starred as the
volunteer in a bizarre experiment - he is to
be transformed into an alien life-form (the
chilling and distinctive ‘Thetan’) in the hopes
‘Each play must have a ‘bear’,’ demanded that its appearance might cause the warring
Stefano’s guide for prospective episode nations of Earth to unite as one (a storyline
writers. ‘The bear is the one splendid, later borrowed - with accreditation - by
staggering, shuddering effect that induces Alan Moore for the climax of comic book
awe, wonder, tolerable terror or even merely Watchmen). Culp went on to appear in a trio
conversation and argument.’ of episodes, with Corpus Earthling (about
From the very beginning, The Outer Limits sentient alien rocks) and Ellison’s Demon
highlighted its difference from The Twilight With a Glass Hand.
Zone: this show was about the monsters. ‘In
the old vaudeville days,’ explained Stefano, THE MONSTER MASH
Above: writer and director, The Borderland ‘when things were going wrong and the While The Architects of Fear was more in
Peter Baldwin
in ‘Specimen:
(broadcast 12th in the first season). This was audience was getting bored, out would come line with what ABC wanted (they ran the
Unknown, a magnificently moody tale of mad science a comic in a bear outfit. That’s what we do in episode in second place, after Stevens’ The
directed by Gerd and mediumship. When the medium (Gladys each of our shows - we bring on the bear!’ Galaxy Being), the whole production was
Cooper) he is consulting is revealed as a There was an uncomfortable juxtaposition running over budget. This caused Stevens to
fake, a millionaire (Barry Jones) enlists a between Stevens’ show about ideas and write and direct the comedic chamber piece
scientist (Ian Fraser) to try and contact his Stefano’s attempts to placate a network that Controlled Experiment that starred Barry
dead son on the ‘other side’. The scientist was beginning to fear they weren’t getting Morse (Space 1999) and Carroll O’Connor as a
is experimenting with magnetic fields and the series they thought they’d bought. The pair of alien observers puzzled by the human
believes he has accessed another world, but next two episodes produced - The Human habit of murder. Shot in under a week, the
the phony medium and her son set out to Factor and Tourist Attraction - both included episode saved cash, but was out of place in
sabotage the experiment. monsters, but were deemed relative failures. the run of the show.
Playing like a 1940s low budget science A tale of brain-swapping at an Arctic defence The Outer Limits looked like nothing else
thriller, Stevens’ sophomore effort lacked station, The Human Factor had a tacked on on television. Cinematographer Conrad Hall
the central element ABC wanted - monsters. monster in the form of ‘chill Charlie’, a ghostly - who did so much to develop that unusual
Eventually, The Outer Limits wouldn’t be shy figure haunting one of the characters. A shoal look - called the show ‘a school for the
about its monsters, depicting them right up of ancient sea creatures (too obviously men development of my craft’. He brought the
front with a dramatic clip usually from later in diving suits sporting monster heads) tried stark, dark look of film noir to early episodes
in the episode. ‘Showrunner’ Joseph Stefano to take a bite out of Ralph Meeker in Tourist like The Human Factor and The Architects of
outlined the need for a ‘creature of the week’ Attraction, before using their sonic powers to Fear, and his work made some of the run-of
in his instructions to the series’ would-be bring down a dam. the-mill early shows like political thriller
writers, pointing out the need to include It was only with The Architects of Fear The Hundred Days of the Dragon, or psychic
such ‘bears’, as the monsters were dubbed, that the production team finally hit on the drama The Man With the Power (with Donald
in every instalment. winning formula. Veteran director Byron Pleasence) - more than merely watchable.
As things progressed, Joseph Stefano and
story consultant Lou Morheim (The Beast
From the very beginning, The Outer From 20,000 Fathoms) rewrote virtually
every script. Stefano’s first solo outing was
Limits highlighted its difference A Feasibility Study, which saw the alien
Luminoids transport an entire city block to
from The Twilight Zone: this show their planet in order to determine if humans
was about the monsters. ‘In the old would resist an invasion. Sam Wanamaker
stars as a man whose marriage is collapsing,
vaudeville days,’ explained Stefano, just as evil aliens kidnap him and his
‘when things were going wrong and neighbours. Once the humans figure out
what’s happening and why they are being
the audience was getting bored, out held, they devise a way out that is still as
would come a comic in a bear outfit. controversial today as it was back in the
1960s. The kidnapped human’s climactic
That’s what we do in each of our self-sacrifice was seen as a mass suicide by
the suits at ABC, delaying the broadcast of
shows - we bring on the bear!’ this episode for over a year.

Thanks to the demands of ABC, The Outer Limits is
well known as a ‘Monster of the Week’ show. Not all
the creatures were as effective as the best, though.
While the Zanti spiders (The Zanti Misfits), the Thetan
creature (Architects of Fear), the cruel Ebonites
(Nightmare), and the BiFrost alien (The Bellero Shield)
all impress, these other five monsters were somewhat
With the arrival of German-born director Knight) of the scientist who will ultimately less then terrifying….
Gerd Oswald (on Specimen Unknown, a tale bring about the apocalypse. A perception
of invading plant spores from outer space), filter disguises Andro’s mutated hideousness, Ikar, Keeper of the Purple Twilight
the creative troika that would power The allowing him to infiltrate human society. The Dome-headed, pointy-eared and
Outer Limits to new imaginative heights was episode asks whether the past can ever be crunchy of face, Ikar, leader of
finally in place. ‘I was approached by Leslie changed, and if so is it ever wise to do so? the aliens in Keeper of the Purple
Stevens to work on (The) Outer Limits as one It is finely acted, engaging, atmospheric; Twilight is perhaps The Outer
of the regulars,’ Oswald said. a beauty and the beast tale with atomic Limits’ definitive extra-terrestrial.
Oswald (A Kiss Before Dying, 1956) and mutation and accidental self-elimination. These pulp sci-fi creatures were
cinematographer Conrad Hall (who would The Man Who Was Never Born is another judged to be so impressive they were
go on to win a trio of Oscars for his movies), well-remembered episode, especially widely used in the publicity material for the show’s
helped created the stark noir look of the for Landau’s fine depiction of a monster-heavy second season.
series’ black and white photography, which sympathetic ‘monster’.
combined effectively with Stefano’s scripting The need for monsters - Stefano’s ‘bears’ - ‘Turdo’, Don’t Open Till Doomsday
to produce the show’s most memorable had been reiterated by ABC. ‘(The monsters) This one-eyed blob monster, known
instalments. Each episode, especially those were largely the product of greasepaint and by the cast and crew as ‘Turdo’ (for
involving Stefano, Oswald, and Hall were lighting, more stage-bound conventions,’ obvious reasons), starred alongside
treated as mini-feature films and afforded said show historian David J. Schow. ‘There 1930s movie actress Miriam Hopkins
special attention. were exceptions, of course, such as whenever in one of The Outer Limits’ weirdest
One of the show’s best-remembered William Tuttle brought his makeup expertise ever episodes, Don’t Open Till Doomsday.Clockwise
episodes is The Sixth Finger, starring David to a TV show.’ Copious amounts of dry ice fog was usedfrom above
to try and
McCallum as the big-brained super-advanced A team under the banner of Projects hide the creature’s shortcomings - but failed!
humanoid, the subject of an unethical Unlimited put together the creatures that directs Keith
experiment, in innovative make-up by Planet peppered the episodes. Led by Wah Chang The Empyrian, SecondGordon Chance in
of the Apes maestro John Chambers. Conrad and Gene Warren - both had worked on the It’s Captain Beaky from Karenouter
Hall then brought his lighting magic to the 1957 monster move The Black Scorpion - and Jeffmask is
space. Under that feather
Bridges in
bleakly romantic time travel story The Man Projects Unlimited had to create feature Simon Oakland, the psychiatrist
Who Was Never Born, starring Martin Landau film quality creatures on a television budget in the Stefano-scripted KurtHitchcock
and Kim
as the out-of-time Andro (one of several The and against a weekly schedule. Explained shocker Psycho and Carl Kolchak’s
Outer Limits episodes said to have influenced David J. Schow: ‘(Projects Unlimited) had boss in The Night Stalker. ‘We called
James Cameron’s The Terminator, 1984). previously worked for George Pal - they won that mask “Chicken Little”, said Projects Big Trouble
In Little
Andro is a malformed survivor from a an Academy Award for the 1960 version of Gene Warren. China, gory
future Earth who escapes into the past. Once The Time Machine - and were brought into happenings

there, he falls in love with the mother (Shirley The Outer Limits by Byron Haskin, who The ‘Chromoite’ Humanoid, The Mice
Gene Warren created this grotesque
‘thing’, simply described in the
script as ‘repulsive’. The upper
part is blob-like, with dangling
claws, wiggling tentacles, and
various possible mouths, while
the bottom half is stunt man
Hugh Langtry’s legs.

The ‘Bug Eyed Menace’,

Actor Warren Oates, not known
to suffer fools gladly, wore
these bulging eyes created from
half-shells with pinholes so Oates
could see. Writer Joseph Stefano
dubbed Oates the ‘fried egg monster’.
It was so hot when filming on location in LA’s
notorious Bronson Canyon that the wax used to blend
the eyes with Oates’ face melted, causing the eyes to
pop off his face mid-take.

The Outer Limits was the bridge between the black
and white speculative tales of The Twilight Zone and
the gaudy colour explorations of ‘new worlds and new
civilizations’ of Star Trek. Both Star Trek’s lead actors, this one a bit more Twilight Zone-like than
William Shatner (Cold Heart, Warm Hands) and most instalments. Mounted in a near-empty
Leonard Nimoy (Production and Decay of Strange studio, and obviously shot on the cheap, this
Particles, and I, Robot), appeared in episodes of The instalment is nonetheless highly effective
Outer Limits, as did Scotty actor James Doohan and in its eerie staginess. It’s a showcase for the
Grace Lee Witney (yeoman Janice Rand). actors, and features some effective alien
Off screen, other personnel from The Outer Limits presences in the weird Ebonites.
helped launch Star Trek. The Outer Limits director Creatures were the focus of Stefano’s
Byron Haskin worked on the special effects for the The Zanti Misfits - perhaps the second-best
two Star Trek pilot episodes, while The Outer Limits remembered episode after The Sixth Finger,
mainstay Gerd Oswald helmed two episodes in the thanks to the haunting image of the title
first series of Star Trek. Star Trek Producer Robert H. mini-spider aliens with human-like faces.
Justman also worked extensively on both shows. This image: Bank robber Bruce Dern breaks down in the
Grace Lee
Special effects artist Wah Chang, of Projects Whitney in a
desert, only to encounter a tiny spaceship
Unlimited, created many of Star Trek’s props publicity shot full of equally tiny ant-like creatures with
(including the famous communicator and the for ‘Controlled terrifyingly hideous visogs. These are the
Tricorder) and various monsters. These included the Zanti misfits, criminal reprobates from the
Outer Limits-like creature the Horta from The Devil in Top: planet Zanti who’ve been exiled to Earth -
Jill Haworth and
the Dark, modelled after a monster from The Probe David McCallum and Dern’s human crook is about to meet
and played on Star Trek by Thetan impersonator in ‘The Sixth his match. Brought to life through a mix of
Janos Prohaska. Several Projects Unlimited creatures brief stop motion animation and puppetry,
from The Outer Limits turned up, slightly altered in the Zanti creatures are among the weirdest
the later show. ever to feature on The Outer Limits, and were
John Chambers, who was behind the impactful well-remembered by anyone who saw this
look for David McCallum’s ‘future man’ in The episode as an impressionable youngster. ‘The
Sixth Finger, created the original Vulcan ears for ABC censors had an absolute terror of any
Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. According to The Outer proposed monster that might resemble a (real
Limits historian David J. Schow: ‘Star Trek would not life) living creature,’ noted David J. Schow.
have existed without all the talent imported from ‘Their biggest repeat memo was essentially
The Outer Limits: directors, writers, effects people, “no tentacles.” So you can imagine the
make-up, and most importantly the quality control shitstorm that came down when Joe Stefano
brought to the show by Robert Justman.’ had directed War of the Worlds and When suggested using house cats as aliens.’
Worlds Collide, and who also served
uncredited on The Outer Limits as a special ENTERING THE UNKNOWN!
effects supervisor who additionally sat in on The troika of Stefano/Hall/Oswald came
design and concept meetings.’ Also working together for the first time on the bizarre
as part of the Project Unlimited team was imaginative It Crawled out of the Woodwork.
1933’s King Kong’s Marcel Delgado and his Ed Asner (of Mary Tyler Moore Show and
son, Victor. Lou Grant fame) plays a cop investigating
While the monsters were taking centre nefarious going-on at a secretive laboratory
stage, Stevens didn’t abandon his high where an amorphous cloud of antagonistic
concept ideas. Still timely today, the energy has taken control of the scientists who
surveillance state was the focus of O.B.I.T., work there and the dead are being resurrected.
in which alien technology is used to spy on Darkly funny and weirdly captivating, It
the population, while Nightmare (written by Crawled Out of the Woodwork opens with a
Stefano, lit by Hall) starred a young Martin cleaning lady attempting to vacuum up the
Sheen as one of an American Army squad gas cloud monster - much to her detriment.
interrogated by the alien Ebonites. The This episode is a particularly good example of
American military brass are involved behind the series’ distinctive noir lighting. This stuff
the scenes, a surprising twist-in-the-tale - simply wouldn’t have worked as well in colour.
perhaps commenting on the practices of the Asner’s out-of-his-depth cop sells the whole
US military itself in the 1960s - which makes daft premise effectively.

David J. Schow was an avid viewer of The Outer Limits
from the beginning, but he fell into being the show’s
unofficial chronicler by accident. ‘I’m old enough
to have witnessed the premiere, day and date - 16
September 1963,’ he says. ‘As soon as it was cancelled,
it went into syndication, which is where I think it
gained the most viewers overall. Before I knew it, I was
looking at a project that some might call a “lifework.”
Documenting the show continued to be rewarding over
a very long period of time, fortunately. It never ceased
to be fascinating. And to a certain extent it was a
matter of “go all the way … or don’t go.”’
A host of feature articles championing the series
followed, most notably in the 1980s’ The Twilight Zone
magazine (ironically enough). Over the years, Schow
spoke to (and became friends with) many of those
involved with the creation of the show. The result was
an in-depth guide, The Outer Limits Companion, and
a pictorial follow-up, The Outer Limits at 50 in 2013.
‘In later years, the producers often said that if they
This was followed by the Stefano-script- As insurance, the climax was shot in had gotten their 1964 ratings numbers for a show in
ed, Hall-lit The Mice, in which blobby aliens two different ways, once with a ‘scientific’ the 1980s, say, The Outer Limits would have been an
invade Earth, and The Invisibles, which explanation more suitable to The Outer unqualified hit,’ notes Schow of his specialist subject.
brought back Gerd Oswald alongside Stefano Limits and the second with a more Gothic ‘It took viewers several weeks to become acclimated to
and Hall for a paranoid espionage-driven tale and ghostly conclusion. That was just as well, the idea that The Outer Limits was not merely another
of alien duplicates replacing key humans in as according to Leslie Stevens, the pilot was network’s version of The Twilight Zone - if anything,
positions of power across America. ‘perceived as being far too arty’. The Outer Limits was the opposite of Twilight Zone, and
Ever more confident in his work on the ABC cancelled their plans for the spin-off, refreshing for all that.’
show, Stefano went a little mad with Don’t and the shot-in-ten-days mini-film was
Open ‘Till Doomsday. This is perhaps the re-edited as The Form of Things Unknown
troika at their best, a dark, spooky, almost and broadcast as the final episode of the
impossible to understand tale of a woman first season of The Outer Limits. The episode anti-matter particles, radiation, and other Clockwise
from top left:
(old Hollywood star Miriam Hopkins, from is abstract, German expressionist-inspired dimensions, as well as atomic zombies. It Martin Landau
1932’s Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) held in thrall storytelling filtered through The Outer Limits’ was almost as though everyone involved in ‘The Bellero
across decades by an inter-dimensional unique sci-fi lens—weird and disturbing. knew the jig was up. Shield,’ an image
from ‘Nightmare’
monster-in-a-box in her haunted house. Joseph Stefano had been prevented from When ABC decided that the second season and Bruce Dern
Stefano and Hall then reunited Martin directing the pilot for The Unknown thanks would air opposite the very popular Jackie is attacked by
one of The Zanti
Landau (The Man Who Was Never Born) and to the increasing demands The Outer Limits Gleason Show on Saturday nights, both Misfits’
Sally Kellerman (The Human Factor) for The was making on his time. However, the clock Stevens and Stefano quit. ‘Jackie Gleason was
Bellero Shield as a couple whose marriage was ticking for the show. Cinematographer not going to be brought down by The Outer
is on the rocks even as their science project Conrad Hall, whose lighting had done so Limits,’ said Stefano. Leslie Stevens felt the
aimed at trapping an alien (played by Star much to set the dramatic signature for same, so both of the prime movers of the
Trek’s John Hoyt) succeeds. many of Stefano and Oswald’s episodes, series departed, and day-to-day showrunning
So successful was The Outer Limits by this quit. He would go on to photograph various was handed over to former ABC executive Ben
point, ABC requested a pilot from Stefano high-profile and award-winning movies, Brady, along with a significant budget cut.
for a potential spin-off horror-focused including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance ‘I think season two gets unfairly maligned
series. Stefano quickly scripted the opening Kid (1969), Marathon Man (1976), American by people who preferred, and were enthralled
instalment of a supernatural-driven show Beauty (1999), and graphic novel-inspired by, season one,’ said David J. Schow, while
entitled The Unknown, which he had lit by gangster drama Road to Perdition (2002). admitting that the second run of just 17
Conrad Hall and directed by Gerd Oswald. Stefano wrote Fun and Games (featuring episodes is certainly the lesser half of the
‘(It was to be) an un-science fiction series,’ Nick Adams) and provided the story for the overall series.
recalled Stefano, ‘kind of scary, spooky, and last-produced episode of the first season, Writing in his book The Outer Limits at 50,
mysterious.’ The episode, which Stefano was The Chameleon. Gerd Oswald directed Schow noted that when the series returned
initially going to direct himself, was based both installments, and would go on to to US TV screens in September 1964 ‘for
around a strange ‘time tilting’ device that direct further episodes of the curtailed all practical purposes, season two was an
repeatedly resurrects a dead man. The Sixth second season. Leslie Stevens had a last entirely different programme than that
Finger’s David McCallum returned as part of hurrah, writing and directing the enigmatic offered by the previous production regime.’
a distinguished cast that included Vera Miles Production and Decay of Strange Particles, a Stefano and Stevens remained credited
and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. ‘desperation measure’ that featured wayward (and were paid) as executive producers, but

Name of feature


very beginning - seemed to be thinking they were doing The Twilight Zone
instead of re-energising the aspects that made The Outer Limits unique;
if you doubt this, just look at the opening titles they came up with. They
also mistook the idea of a story having a moral for imposing their own
Over the years there has been talk of a movie based on The Outer Limits moral tone, which in this case was “don’t you dare transgress, or there will
(The Twilight Zone had its ill-fated movie version in 1983). The first attempts be punishment”, which was the exact opposite of the ethos championed
came from the show’s creators, Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano, who by Stevens and Stefano, who sided with seekers and dreamers. The new
tried to mount various feature length takes on the show at MGM/United charter had disturbingly religious undertones. And too often, whenever they
Artists and at Paramount through the 1970s. got boxed in by a plot, they’d just blow up the whole planet. That’s not The
The show was revived on cable TV for seven seasons between 1995 and Outer Limits.’
2002, but was nowhere near as imaginative or innovative as the original In 2014 a movie based on The Outer Limits was announced as being in
(it even produced sequels and development, with a screenplay by
remakes of a couple of original C. Robert Cargill based upon Harlan
series episodes). Ellison’s acclaimed episode Demon
David J. Schow, author of the With a Glass Hand, to be directed by
definitive Outer Limits book, is Doctor Strange’s Scott Derrickson.
not a fan of the 1990s revival. Mark Victor was producing for MGM.
‘(It) had good people working Derrickson claimed to be a long-time
for it in the very beginning, fan of the show, preferring it over
and Alan Brennert wrote a few Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.
perfectly serviceable episodes. However, nothing has been heard of
But the producers - also from the the project since.

with mind-blowing ideas. Both episodes are Premonition. The Outer Limits went out with
essential instalments, encapsulating The The Probe, a run-of-the-mill tale about tiny
Outer Limits at its best. humans trapped within an alien machine.
The ignominious end of The Outer Limits
PRODUCTION AND DECAY… was also the end of that kind of smart
Oswald handled a trio of further episodes science fiction television, for a while at
during the show’s curtailed second season— least. ‘Within a year, TV skewed in favour
Expanding Human, The Duplicate Man, and of comedy shows, like The Munsters, or
The Premonition - none of them classics. juvenilia - any Irwin Allen series - and the
Without him, the dark imagery of Conrad influence (of The Outer Limits) dissipated,’
Hall, and the Gothic imagination of Joseph noted David J. Schow. ‘Anthology shows
Stefano, the later second season instalments were anathema to the networks then… but
of The Outer Limits became very formulaic, recently they have found more favour -
lacking that indefinable magic that made the everything from American Horror Story to
first season such a success. Black Mirror to Masters of Horror. It’s a trend
New producer Ben Brady was the network’s I would like to see continue and grow.’
placeman, producing the monster-driven, What had begun as an imaginative probe
fright-packed show they wanted. ‘Stefano into the ‘awe and mystery’ of the universe,
was a great writer,’ said Brady, ‘but there was shepherded by the quirky talents of Leslie
a violent schism between what he wanted Stevens (interested in the limits of the
and what ABC wanted.’ Brady saw his job scientific quest), Joseph Stefano (whose
as being to provide ABC with what they gothic imagination brought dark fantasy to
wanted - a decision that led to the show’s the science fiction), director Gerd Oswald and
untimely cancellation halfway through the cinematographer Conrad Hall, had devolved
second season. Even the music changed, into a ‘scientific problem of the week’ show.
with Dominic Frontiere’s atmospheric scores However, The Outer Limits refused to die.
dropped in favour of Harry Lubin’s more Those who saw it, either originally in the US
One of the Outer they had nothing to do with the creative mundane, traditional television scoring. or on a comprehensive series re-broadcast
Limits effects
team with a
direction the show took. The stories became Neither Nickolaus or Hall worked on the on late night BBC2 in the eraly-1980s never
Chromoite simpler, the monsters were less complicated second season as cinematographers, with the forgot it. Casual viewers often mixed up The
from ‘The creatures, their motivations often reduced to inoffensive Kenneth Peach serving as lighting Outer Limits’ plots and images with those
Mice’ episode.
Thanks to Simon simply being monstrous for the sake of it. director for all of the final 17 episodes. of The Twilight Zone, but the science fiction
Greetham for There were exceptions, of course. Gerd There were some highlights, though. cognoscenti knew the difference between
providing this
Oswald stuck around, directing the second Future Star Trek leading men William the two shows at a glance.
season’s opening instalment, Soldier, written Shatner and Leonard Nimoy appeared in Like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits
by SF enfant terrible Harlan Ellison. Such episodes, with the future Kirk becoming an was revived for a seven year run in the
was the marked similarity between this and alien during an exploration of Venus in Cold 1990s, but it was more on the model of the
Ellison’s later second season show Demon Hands, Warm Heart, and the future Spock less impressive second season than on the
With a Glass Hand and James Cameron’s The prosecuting an android in the two-part tale I, unique version pioneered by Stevens and
Terminator (1984), it resulted in a payment Robot (not connected to the Asimov stories). Stefano, Oswald and Hall. There is still talk of
and onscreen credit for Ellison on home Other decent enough instalments a further revival or even a movie version (see
releases of the film. include The Duplicate Man, Wolf 359, The Box Out), but for now the comprehensive US
Soldier sees Michael Ansara’s future Inheritors (a two-part back door pilot for Blu-ray release of the groundbreaking first
warrior arrive in the past of the 1960s, another potential spin off series that never season is more than enough. Sharper than
pursued by a second killing machine out to happened), and The Invisibles. However, ever before on home video, the new release
eliminate him. Robert Culp returns in Demon three weeks into airing the second season is packed with episodic commentaries from
With a Glass Hand as a man with the future (the episode was the risibly titled Behold, show experts, including David J. Schow.
of humanity literally in his hand, attempting Eck!), ABC pulled the plug on the show, with Accept no substitutes, mainline the original
to evade capture by pursuing aliens. Shot in just two episodes of the half-season left to for that unmistakable Outer Limits high. The
Blade Runner’s iconic Bradbury Building, this shoot. Director Gerd Oswald was there almost picture quality is so good you will not need
offbeat episode looks great and is packed to the end, shooting penultimate episode The to adjust your set.



Ian Millsted looks at the
history of Valiant, a British
boys adventure comic which
ran from 1962 to 1976 and

brought us such favourites
as ‘The Steel Claw’ and

‘Kelly’s Eye…’

here did the fourteen years before being cancelled in bought me a comic. I’d probably been hoping This page:
famous French comic October 1976 and nominally merged into for Mighty World of Marvel and she bought Valiant had
book series Asterix Battle comic (“Great news chums”). me Valiant. I remember enjoying some of it for every
the Gaul first appear Valiant was a classic example of what but being less than enthused by the rest. In boy reader,
with sci-fi
in English? Which was known as a sampler comic, designed particular I found the lead story, ‘Captain and fantasy
British comic included a two-year run of Star to include a wide range of genres so as to Hurricane’, a tedious example of the kind of adventures
and of course
Trek? Who were the first English language have a broad appeal. The theory went that thing that put me off many traditional boys’ the popular
publishers of the work of renowned comics if a comic contained a football strip and adventure comics. I was clearly minority in Captain
artist Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius? a western and a war story and something this as ‘Captain Hurricane’ was routinely Hurricane,
a humorous
The answer to all of the above questions science fictional and a boys’ boarding school voted the favourite series by readers. strip set in
is the weekly British boys’ adventure comic story then there would be something for IPC staff member Steve MacManus held World War
II about a
Valiant. More importantly, for Infinity everyone. In the 1960s this was the norm a junior position in the Valiant office when massive ex-sea
readers, Valiant was the home of a whole and many well-known comics of the era, he started in the industry and remembers skipper who
string of imaginative science fiction and fan- Lion, Eagle, Tiger, Victor, Hotspur etc, fell into (in his memoir ‘The Mighty One’) that the became a
Captain in the
tasy-oriented comic stories from ‘The Steel this category. “postbag was huge; everybody wanted to Royal Marines
Claw’ to ‘Kelly’s Eye’ via ‘House of Dolmann’ My own first encounter with Valiant win the £1 postal order prize offered for each and often flew
into a raging
and ‘Adam Eterno’. Valiant was launched was late in the run, in the early 1970s. If I entry published…Captain Hurricane was fury!
in October 1962 and ran for 711 issues over remember correctly I was ill and my sister always the most popular character”.

Name of feature

phase (I don’t really need to say, do I?) to a

general adventurer phase. The strip ran, with
occasional breaks, until 1973 and there have
been various reprints since then.
‘The Steel Claw’ was joined in the pages
of Valiant a few months later by the more
fantasy-inspired ‘Kelly’s Eye’. This was
actually a carry over from the long running,
but visibly declining, comic Knockout
which was merged into Valiant in February
1963. Tim Kelly obtained the magical Eye
of Zoltec which gave him extra powers with
which he fought against evil. This series also
benefitted from terrific artwork, in this case
from the Argentinian F. Solano Lopez.
‘Kelly’s Eye’ appeared fairly regularly until
1974 and was even briefly relaunched in
2000AD in the early 90s.
Also imported from Knockout was
Professor Kraken, a modern-day version of
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger
character. This was also drawn by Solano
fiction strip in the first issue of Valiant is a Lopez and had a good run of a year or so
good example of the mixture of editorial and before making way for other serials.
freelance creative processes. Mixing science fiction with the enduring
‘The Steel Claw’ was a great series about a popularity of King Kong (the original 1933
This spread: Only at the very end was it replaced in man, Louis Crandall, who is gifted, or cursed, movie was aired on television several times
Popular Valiant popularity by the harder-edged cop series with the power of invisibility save for the steel in the 60s) was ‘Mytek the Mighty’. Mytek
strips. Adam Eterno
was a 16th century ‘One-Eyed Jack’ (which I did like). claw he wields on one hand. The main concept was a robotic giant ape and the story also
alchemist’s Although ‘Captain Hurricane’, being a originated with the editorial team of Jack Le included that old favourite, the mad scientist.
apprentice who
drank the elixir of comedy World War 2 series, falls somewhat Grand, Sid Bicknell and Ken Mennell. However, Mytek was another winner, running in Valiant
life and was cursed outside the remit of Infinity magazine, I the task of producing exciting episodes from 1964 to 1970 with some great art by
by the alchemist to
live forever. Danny
will mention in passing a slight similarity to week in and week out went to the talented Eric Bradbury. It is no surprise that the most
Doom was the a later fantasy series. ‘Captain Hurricane’ freelancers Ken Bulmer and Jesus Blasco. successful of these science fictional stories
assistant of a 13th is a blustering, oversized force-of -nature Bulmer was an established writer of benefited from talented and sympathetic
Century alchemist,
transported to the who lives in the present and tackles each science fiction novels since the early 1950s artists. Credit should also be given to Tom
early 1970’s after new situation without fear or favour. He is but he also wrote quite widely for comics Tully for keeping the stories interesting for
a lab accident left
him in suspended
accompanied by a diminutive companion by and had already written science fiction so long, given there are only so many things
animation. The the name of Maggot Malone. A key element serials such as ‘Jet-Ace Logan’ for another one can do with a giant robotic ape.
House of Dolmann of most stories was Hurricane having a IPC comic, Tiger. Jesus Blasco was one of Not everything that was tried was a lasting
revolved around
crime-busting “raging fury” when his temper kicked in and a number of talented Spanish artists who success. Nobody now knows or cares much
inventor Eric he exhibited even more violence than usual. worked extensively in British comics. His about ‘The Midgets of Migas’ (1966) or ‘The
Dolmann, who
used a small army Substitute ‘Ukko the Dwarf’ for ‘Maggot work on ‘The Steel Claw’ was excellent, with Mystery of Fulgor’ (1965). The latter even
of robot puppets Malone’ and ‘warp spasm’ for ‘raging furies’ an eerie quality, and the pick of the bunch had, gasp!, a woman joint protagonist, which
to aid the forces
of law and order.
and you soon have ‘Slaine’, the long running from that first issue. Anticipating the comics may have been more than the Valiant’s boy
The Steel Claw’s fantasy series from 2000AD. Maybe. of the 1970s, ‘The Steel Claw’ starts out as readers were ready for at the time. ‘The Last
Louis Crandell something of an antihero. Crandall was a Boys in the World’ (1966-67) showed what
had the power
to turn invisible FREELANCE TALENTS mercenary assistant to a scientist who wears Lord of the Flies might have been if William
if he received an Valiant was a product of the mighty IPC/ a protective steel claw while conducting a Golding had opted to show the surviving
electric shock,
with only his steel
Fleetway publishing empire with a firm potentially dangerous experiment. When the boys as plucky and resourceful boy scout
hand remaining structure in place. “The average editorial inevitable accident happens, Crandall gains types rather than homicidal bullies.
visible. Mytek The team on a comic consisted of the editor, the power of invisibility whenever exposed to Eric Bradbury and Tom Tully hit the mark
Mighty was a giant
solar-powered sub-editor, art editor and art assistant” an electric shock. again with ‘The House of Dolmann’ in which
robot gorilla, and reveals long time IPC editor Barrie Tomlinson No “With great power comes great respon- brilliant puppeteer Dolmann created robotic
in Kelly’s Eye, the
‘Eye of Zoltec’ gave in his book ‘Comic Book Hero’. “When I sibility” mantra for Crandall. The first thing puppets to help combat crime, enemy spies
adventurer Tim became an editor at New Fleetway he does with his new powers is to rob a bank and other nefarious foes. Dolmann proved to
Kelly superhuman
powers so long as
House… I qualified for a fluffy towel” and he works his way up to planting a huge be another long running success as a regular
he was wearing it Tomlinson continues. bomb in New York City. However, as time from 1966 to 1970 and then a revival in 1974.
around his neck… The stories and art were mostly produced went by Crandall evolved through a man- Some of the science fiction and fantasy
by freelance creators, some of whom were on-the-run phase (as The Fugitive became stories in Valiant may have seemed familiar
recruited from far afield. The main science popular on television), via a secret agent to any older brothers who borrowed their

younger sibling’s copy to read. The received Interestingly, given Wagner went on to
wisdom in comics publishing at the time create the Likes of ‘Judge Dredd’ (for
was that few readers followed comics for 2000AD) and ‘Strontium Dog’ (for Starlord),
more than five years, so reprints of older he played down the science fiction and
material were a way of keeping costs down. fantasy elements in favour of more football
Climate change thriller ‘When Britain Froze’ (‘Wee Red’, ‘Stryker’) and war stories
may have seemed ahead of its time when (‘Death Wish’, ‘Soldier Sharp’).
it appeared in Valiant in 1967 but had By the mid-70s things were changing in
been even more so when it first appeared British boys’ comics. The arrival of British
in Buster in 1962 under the title ‘Frozen editions of Marvel Comics had shown
Summer’. Similar title changes saw ‘Captain that single genre titles could work. IPC’s
X Tiger Shark’ become ‘The Lurking main rival D.C.Thomson had a big success
Menace’. The theory of reader turnover was with the all war comic Warlord in 1974.
probably right but this approach also led IPC responded with Battle in 1975. The
to Valiant developing a dated feel. If the all football comic Roy of the Rovers was a
stories were not always being developed successful launch in 1976 and then there
with the twelve-year old of 1970 in mind, was the all science fiction comic 2000AD
would that twelve-year old start to look in 1977. (Whatever happened to that?) The
elsewhere. The declining sales figures days of the sampler comic were gone.
suggest that was starting to happen. As At its best Valiant contained some
the likes of ‘The Steel Claw’ and ‘Mytek the brilliantly bonkers concepts and stories.
Mighty’ reached their end the replacement Credit should be given to the likes of
strips didn’t always click. There were some Tom Tully, Ken Byulmer, Eric Bradbury,
moderate successes such as ‘Slave of the Jesus Blasco among the many talented
Screamer’ (1970-1971) by Tom Tully and creators for the originality shown in ‘The
Jesus Blasco but a number of flops as well. Steel Claw’, ‘Janus Stark’ and others. And
Once again Valiant was boosted by the characters have not been completely
stories inherited by mergers with other, forgotten either. Hardback annuals
cancelled, titles. When Smash was merged continued to be published until 1983 with
into Valiant in April 1971 the strongest of mostly new material. Some stories have
three stories brought in from that title was eventually received quality reprints in book
‘Janus Stark’. Stark, a Victorian era escapologist, travelling immortal, who saw that status as form (‘The Steel Claw’) while others have been
was borderline fantasy with atmospheric art by more of a curse than a gift, who stepped into a brought back in different ways. A one-off 2000AD
Solano Lopez (and a team of assistants, evidence succession of adventures throughout time. With Action Special in 1990 was fun but the time didn’t
suggests). Stark continued in Valiant until 1975. stories by Tom Tully and others, the concept was seem to be right.
The once mighty TV21 was cancelled in October strong enough to keep it going until Valiant was In 2005 American comics giant DC published
1971 and brought the comic adventures of ‘Star cancelled in 1976. Another interesting late period Albion as a six-issue series by writers Leah Moore
Trek’ into the combined Valiant and TV21. Given Valiant serial was ‘Danny Doom’ (1974-1975). and John Reppion (and concept ideas by Alan
the rare colour pages and strong art by John ‘Danny Doom’ was a fantasy story about a 13th Moore). Albion included nearly every character
Stokes this might have been a winner, as the BBC century wizard’s assistant who finds himself in mentioned in this article in one way or another.
was still showing episodes of Star Trek in peak modern Britain. It had a cool look to it, courtesy More recently Rebellion, who now own most of the
viewing time, and as first run, in 1971. However, of artist Eric Bradbury, and a protagonist closer IPC characters, have published The Vigilant which
many Star Trek fans were unaware of the serial in age to the readers than many of the science includes the likes of ‘Adam Eterno’ and others. The
in Valiant and the characterisation and dialogue fiction and fantasy heroes had been previously. indications are that the publisher and creators are
suggested that the writer saw Captain Kirk as a keen to do more but, as usual, all will depend on
Dan Dare type (“Good grief” he says). CHANGING TIMES sales. Perhaps one day we might even get to see
When the even longer running boys’ comic In an attempt to save Valiant, IPC hired John some of these characters on screen.
Lion was cancelled in May 1974 it was merged Wagner as editor in 1975. Wagner introduced the
into Valiant. One of the Lion strips to continue tough cop story ‘One-Eyed Jack’, which finally With thanks to Steve Holland, Steve
in Valiant was ‘Adam Eterno’. Eterno was a time displaced ‘Captain Hurricane’ as the top character. MacManus and Barrie Tomlinson.

Name of feature



S T !

Issue 196 £3.99

ow that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed
this fabulous issue of Infinity, isn’t it
about time you checked out our sister
GROWS publication, The Dark Side? The latest issue
MIA’S GRAVE is packed with ghoulish goodness as usual,
starting with a cover feature on The Devil Rides
Out, Hammer’s popular 1968 film version of the

Dennis Wheatley novel, starring Christopher

TA VIL K O Lee as the stiff-upper-lipped Duc de Richleau, a
chap who can visit the British Museum to look

at secret arcane books kept under lock and key

because “The curator is a personal friend of
HUNTING mine.” And of course because he’s Christopher
TO ENNIS Lee and he might bite the chap on the neck if
SA D refused permission. Another late 1960s horror
TACKLLEEY HORROR favourite getting the full treatment here is

Rosemary’s Baby, a film that is well worth
getting out of your pram for. You may think you
know a lot about this one already but believe us
when we say that this feature really delivers, and
not just in the maternity ward.
Those of you who picked up issue 195 will
have already enjoyed our entertaining and
informative look at John Carpenter’s Halloween,
PLAY IT AGAIN and therefore will be looking forward to reading
THE HALLOWEEN part two of this feature, covering the many
Halloween sequels that followed. Again, this
piece is packed with little-known titbits - no
tricks, just treats.
Ever seen Cannibal Holocaust? This notorious
video nasty was so realistic that it made Mary
PLUS: Whitehouse put her foot through her telly and
sent the bill to Rumbelows, or so a bloke down
the pub told us. This was so realistic that some
people from Trading Standards thought it was
a snuff film. It wasn’t though, and we have an
HOLOCAUST STAR FRANCO’S interview with one of the stars to prove it. We
ARMY, NEWS, also enter the weird world of Mexico’s Coffin
Joe, play The Most Dangerous Game and pay
REVIEWS AND tribute to the late, great Fenella Fielding in an
MUCH, MUCH MORE! issue that is sure to sell out quicker than a newly
elected politician. Grab yourself a copy now - we
promise you won’t regret it!


Fifty years ago, director Roman Polanski oman Polanski is a film director not immediately
thought of as a horror practitioner, but a more than
brought Satanic horror into the contemporary cursory look at his body of work reveals that horror Hammer’s stylish Satanic thriller THE SATANIC REVOLUTION
world with Rosemary’s Baby, a chilling tale of runs through it. That should hardly be surprising, ccult horror author Dennis Wheatley, whose first

control, coercion, and pregnancy that made

as Polanski has survived more than his fair share of
real life horror, from losing his mother Bula in a Nazi concentration
The Devil Rides Out is 50. Famously, wave of popularity came in the 1930s, underwent
something of a revival in the late-1960s and
It was The Devil Rides Out that kicked things off, although if
Hammer had their way the Satanic revolution in cinema would
a star of Mia Farrow. Brian J. Robb examines camp to losing his wife Sharon Tate, infamously a victim of Charles
it was Christopher Lee’s favourite
into the 1970s. Like any jobbing writer, the
racist and reactionary Wheatley (his views
have started a lot earlier. The company initially optioned a trio
of Wheatley titles - The Devil Rides Out (1934), To the Devil a
Manson’s murderous ‘family’. Driven into exile in Europe in 1976 thanks
Polanski’s contributions to horror cinema… to his distrust of the American legal system (as revealed in the 2008 were revealed in his 1947 ‘Letter to Posterity’) Daughter (1953), and The Satanist (1960) - for film adaptation
documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired), he is still working film, yet the journey that brought worked across various genres, but it is his black in November 1963, acting on the suggestion of star Christopher

today in his 80s. magic thrillers that his name is still most closely Lee. Hammer executive James Carreras optioned the trio of
From the uneasy surrealism of Repulsion (1965) to his Hammer-influ- Dennis Wheatley’s 1930s novel to associated with. Until the arrival of the likes of James
Herbert and Ramsey Campbell in the 1970s, Wheatley was
Wheatley novels, even though his business partner Anthony
Hinds had declared the author’s work to be ‘very boring’.
n 1932, during a production hiatus back into cinemas. Studios realised
enced pastiche The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967, AKA Dance of the on the film, King Kong, the that promoting films for adults only (a
Vampires), there has been a strain of horror running through his films.
Even 1971’s Shakespeare adaptation Macbeth - made in the wake of
the screen was less than smooth, the only significant name in popular British literary horror.
It is little wonder, then, that Hammer turned to Wheatley as
Tasked with producing a screenplay that was anything but
‘boring’, American writer John Hunter (Never Take Sweets
producer-director team of
Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B.
practice known as ‘pinking’) attracted
audiences of all ages in great numbers.
they struggled to keep their trademark Gothic horrors going from a Stranger, 1960) turned in a script the following January
the terrible death of Sharon Tate and Polanski’s unborn son - was such
a bloody production, it could easily be classed as a horror take on the
reveals Brian J. Robb for a new age. It was the so-called ‘Age of Aquarius’ that saw that Hinds declared instead to be ‘too English’. With half an
Schoedsack picked up Richard
Connell’s 1924 short story The
After the success of Little Caesar (1931),
producers rushed out a series of sensa-
original text. Wheatley’s new-found popularity, so it made sense for Hammer eye on the American market that had proved so lucrative for Most Dangerous Game from the tionalised crime pictures that capitalised GOING FOR BROKE
In 1999, the director made The Ninth Gate, about a demonic tome to try and tap into it. It may be largely down to Hammer’s The Hammer he was determined to broaden the drama of The Devil story department files at RKO. A previous on the public’s obsession with true-life At the time of The Most Dangerous Game,
sought by rare book collector, played by Johnny Depp. Polanski’s Devil Rides Out that Wheatley’s name still persists today. Rides Out to make it attractive beyond English shores. Hinds attempt had already been made to adapt gangsters like Al Capone. However, there RKO had already gone into permanent
This image:
Mia Farrow’s biggest contribution to the horror genre, however, came 50 years ago Born in 1897, Wheatley served in the Navy and saw action had just the writer in mind to give the Wheatley text the right the story into a film script by screenwriter was a growing backlash against these films receivership and was in desperate
Rosemary this summer in 1968 with his take on modern day American Satanic during the First World War (which in one of his novels he spin: Richard Matheson. He had become attached to Hammer Harry Martin who, circa 1930, rewrote from civic groups, exhibitors and state need of a box office hit of Frankenstein
discovers blamed upon Rasputin’s black magic activities!). Having been through writing Fanatic (1965), also based on a novel, so was
that her new covens, Rosemary’s Baby. it as a zany comedy called Who Zoo. A censors. Likewise, ‘sex pictures’ of the early proportions. The studio’s losses in
baby has his gassed, he was invalided out and took over the family wine set to work transforming Wheatley’s novel. story editor’s note attached to the unused 1930s (like those starring Mae West) met the 1932 would be huge: $4,075,834 from

father’s eyes - he second half of the 1960s was an incredibly productive time business, which he sold in the early-1930s when he began Just as Matheson got started, a new threat appeared. In treatment (held in the RKO Radio Pictures disapproval of government state censors production and distribution; $3669,504
ing of
and we don’t writing. He began the Duc de Richleau occult adventure 1965, Hammer had put forward a screenplay by Quatermass
for Polanski. A series of shorts, including the famous Two Men Studio Records at UCLA) declared that, ‘it and the Hays Office. from theatre operations. In short, RKO was
at the mak 2),
mean Frank
and a Wardrobe (1958) had brought the young filmmaker novel series with 1933’s The Forbidden Territory (made into a writer Nigel Kneale to the British Board of Film Censors (as it does not make the most out of the situation Looking for an alternative, Universal hit on the verge of going broke.

lson looks

e (193
to international attention. His feature debut, the thriller Knife in the movie in 1934), drawing on real-life contemporary then was) for approval. Kneale had adapted Norah Lofts’ that the story affords’. upon horror pictures, with Dracula (1931) Selznick had brought Merian C. Cooper
Water (1962), was nominated for an Oscar, and he took up residence characters on the occult scene, including the The Devil’s Own (published under the pen name Peter
Jon Tow Dangerous Gam Cooper, Schoedsack and RKO’s and Frankenstein (1931) kicking off a cycle (with whom he had become associated
t hunter
The Mos y of a big game
in Swinging Sixties London to make Repulsion in 1965. Both that sinister Aleister Crowley, known as The Curtis) into The Witches (1966) - it would be the Production Chief David O. Selznick that would see big box office returns. What’s on The Four Feathers, 1929) to RKO as
Beast 666 and ‘The Wickedest Man in final feature film for Joan Fontaine before her
and immediate follow-up, Cul-de-Sac, were far from ordinary tales
ts immediately saw in the manhunt scenario more, a loophole in the Hays Code regarding his Executive Assistant in 1931, and had
stor who hun
of obsession and perversion, revealing Polanski’s growing unique the World’; the Reverend Montague retirement from the screen. the potential for a grisly tropical thriller ‘gruesomeness’, which made on-screen tasked him with finding ways of cutting

the famous a remote island

approach to filmmaking. Having been nominated for and won various Summers; and Rollo Ahmed. The BBFC’s John Trevelyan responded to (Hollywood was at that time in thrall to grisliness open to negotiation between the down the studio overhead. Cooper had

for sport…
The Devil Rides Out was the Kneale’s work with a wider concern about
awards, Polanski’s next move was to make a pastiche of Hammer horror,
a film he dubbed ‘a fairytale comedy about vampires’. Things turned far more serious with Evans put a lot of store by the young Tuesday Weld. Evans wanted a bigger Clockwise series’ second instalment, hailed the depiction of Satanism on screen, on hum ans
jungle movies following the box office
success of MGM’s Tarzan the Ape Man,
studios and Hays Code officials, encouraged
producers to push for increasingly brutal
already approached RKO prior to this with
the idea for King Kong, but it had been
The Fearless Vampire Killers was just as odd as Polanski’s previous Rosemary’s Baby. The film began with the filmmaker’s abilities. name, and settled on then-23-year-old from top left: by Lost Horizon novelist James warning ‘We would not be willing to 1932), and the result is a fascinating screen content. Sensationalism in the turned down as too expensive (Cooper
Mia Farrow Hilton as ‘the best thing of its accept any misuse of Christian emblems
movies, a strangely structured paean to the output of Britain’s most novel by Ira Levin, which Polanski read in Published in 1967, the novel became Mia Farrow who, although having little and John example of how studios in the pre-Code movies was seen by the studios as good had originally envisaged it being filmed on
prominent horror studio. Polanski created a prominent role for himself galley form pre-publication, shortly after a a bestseller, shifting over four million film exposure, was widely known thanks Cassavetes kind since Dracula’. Wheatley was or any parodies of Christian prayer’. While era were able to sneak graphic screen for business, and soon all the studios were location, and had wanted to buy the rights
in the film, as assistant to Jack MacGowran’s eccentric vampire hunter long flight to Hollywood. ‘I began reading copies and helping launch a new boom in to her role in TV soap Peyton Place and as Guy and only second to Agatha Christie The Witches escaped largely unscathed content into their movies by a) where following Universal’s lead, and making horror to Tarzan from MGM with the plan to film
Rosemary when it came to best-selling when it was made, The Devil Rides Out
Professor Abronsius, and it was while filming The Fearless Vampire the first page,’ recalled Polanski in a 1969 popular horror fiction. Given that readers her marriage to Frank Sinatra. Woodhouse, possible, going under the radar of the pictures in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. both productions back to back in Africa).
Killers that he met Sharon Tate, who was cast in a small role interview, ‘(and) at four o’clock I was still would expect the film to stick the book, ‘She wasn’t just a pretty face,’ said Ruth Gordon British popular literature. was to be another matter altogether, one Hays Office, and b) ensuring that scripts
as a villager. Despite the presence of comedian Alfie lying on my bed surrounded by pages from Polanski did the same in writing the Evans of Farrow, ‘she had something as Minnie Some of Wheatley’s later that would give Hammer serious pause. contained certain ‘compensating moral
Castavet, adventure and espionage novels Perhaps to distract attention from the
Bass and the film’s alternate title of Pardon Me, the manuscript. I just couldn’t stop. The script to such an extent that almost all different, her attractiveness didn’t make Rosemary
values’ that would counteract the graphic
But Your Teeth Are in My Neck, as well as the next day I went straight to the studio and the dialogue in the finished film comes a part, she had another dimension. And wakes from
drew upon his experiences during Devil and all his works, Carreras rushed content and make them satisfactory under
film’s overall knockabout tone, Polanski told them I was very interested in doing it.’ straight from Levin’s text. what she didn’t have, Roman got out of a bad dream, the Second World War working on another Wheatley adaptation into production. the Production Code.
long insisted it was not a parody at all, The film rights to Levin’s novel had ‘Absolute faithfulness to the book her.’ Her casting came over her husband’s or was it? secret counter-intelligence operations. The Lost Continent (1968), based on Wheatley’s Published in Colliers on January 19, 1924,
but merely his version of a fairytale. been picked up by executive Robert was the most important thing to me,’ objection, as Sinatra had expected In an introduction to his occult tales, adventure novel Uncharted Seas (1938, a book Connell’s short story was inspired by the
Evans at Paramount on behalf of fright said Polanski. ‘I wanted to keep not only Farrow to give up her acting career when what is in the This page: Wheatley warned off credulous 1930s readers Wheatley could barely recall writing), was - along with big game hunting safaris in Africa that were
smelly charm Charles Gray from pursuing any individual real-world practical Slave Girls (shot in early 1966, but not released, in cut down
filmmaker William Castle, who hoped to the novel’s spirit and atmosphere, but they married. The entertainer served his gets to grips fashionable among wealthy Americans
Minnie has interest in the occult. ‘Should any of my readers incline to a form, until 1968 as a support feature with The Devil Rides
direct in a bid for greater respectabili- also the locations and characters. If you wife with divorce papers on set during the given her… with Nike of the time. A newspaper journalist and
Arrighi in The serious study of the subject,’ he wrote, ‘and thus come into Out)—a ‘quickie’ cash-in on the unexpected success of the Who let the
ty (Castle beat Alfred Hitchcock to the really like a book, nothing can be more making of Rosemary’s Baby, prompting dogs out? Fay Harvard graduate, Connell saw his tale
Devil Rides contact with a man or woman of Power, I feel that it is only right Raquel Welch-starring prehistoric hokum of One Million Years
rights, as the British filmmaker had been disappointing to find the film version is Farrow to attempt to quit the picture. Out. Hammer Wray and Joel as a way to explore the ethics of hunting
enquiring after them). With Polanski’s completely different.’ A myth about the Evans persuaded her to stay until the end first wanted to urge them, most strongly, to refrain from being drawn into B.C. (1966). There was no Satanism, blasphemy, or parody Mcrea soon (the story won the O. Henry prize) but its
actor Gert the practice of the Secret Art in any way. My own observations of ‘Christian prayer’ in The Lost Continent, just much more realise it is the
interest and newly bankable profile, film suggests that Polanski wasn’t aware of production by extolling the virtues of gruesome scenario appealed to Hollywood
Fröbe in the mad Count
Castle was bumped up to producer that he was allowed to change things from the performance she was giving, which he have led me to an absolute conviction that to do so would bring acceptable sentient seaweed and Lovecraftian horrors! Zaroff (Leslie producers for less lofty reasons.
(and he makes a cameo smoking a the book and that explains the movie’s claimed was Oscar worthy. them into dangers of a very real and concrete nature.’ Hammer was right to be cautious as the company had Banks) In the early thirties, Hollywood was in
cigar outside a phone booth where Mia faithfulness to Levin’s work - like many of For her devious husband, Guy Opposite Sometimes described as ground zero for Satanic movies, suffered through several significant run-ins with the British film dire financial trouble. The Great Depression
Farrow’s character is making a call). the myths that surround Rosemary’s Baby Woodhouse, Polanski chose Robert inset: 1968 saw the release of both Hammer’s take on Wheatley’s The censor. Since the very beginning, with 1958’s Dracula, Carreras caused a decline in audiences and the
At the back of Evans’ mind, however, this one is easily debunked. Redford, who turned him down. After Devil Rides Out and Roman Polanski’s more modern day horror, and Hinds had been locked in a battle with the censors. The industry sought ways to boost cinema
was the possibility that, should Polanski considering Jack Nicholson (with who wrote the Rosemary’s Baby - both films were released within weeks of censorship office had seemed hell-bent on keeping Hammer attendance. Although sound had staved
somehow prove unsuitable or incapable CASTING THE COVEN whom the director would later work on novel. Mocata each other that summer, bringing an unseasonable chill to horror off UK screens altogether, and having failed in that off the Depression for over a year, by 1931
was based cinemas in the US and the UK. mission they were somewhat stymied by the commercial
of making the movie, Castle could always When it came to casting the central role Chinatown, 1974), Polanski approached on Alistair the novelty of talkies was beginning to
step in as a replacement director. of put-upon but modern young New John Cassavetes, who was an actor and Crowley and For the next five years, until the arrival of The Exorcist in 1973 success of the movies (and their imitators from other studios) wear off. Producers desperately cut costs
Rosemary’s Baby would be his Yorker Rosemary Woodhouse, Polanski director, much like Polanski himself. Wheatley made possession trendy, the Devil would rule horror cinema, and their contribution to the revitalisation of the struggling and exhibitors tried double-features and
invited him with Satanists driving such films as Blood on Satan’s Claw British film industry. After all, the same year that saw the release
American filmmaking debut, and at first hoped to cast Tate, or at a push The conspiracy to allow Rosemary to to dinner cash prize giveaways to bring audiences
for research (1970) and Brotherhood of Satan (1971). of The Devil Rides Out also saw Hammer gain The Queen’s
The DarkSide 13 purposes
12 The DarkSide 18 The DarkSide The DarkSide 19
40 The DarkSide The DarkSide 41

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THE PREDATOR (18) Review Ratings Allan Bryce, John Martin and Martin Ruddock
In cinemas (but not for long) = Excellent
20th Century Fox. = Good take a look at some of the latest sci-fi and
= Average
fantasy movie and home video releases…

It’s usually the case that when a = Below Average
movie is plagued with high profile = Abysmal
production problems it turns out
to be fairly rubbish, and the best
thing that can be said about Shane examines the predator that McKenna since the original Alien vs. Predator. Chappell (Cally), Michael Keating
Black’s The Predator, which had has incapacitated, while McKenna I think we can forget about this (Vila), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan),
those problems in spades, is that himself is brought in by the military franchise now as Fox go hunting for Stephen Greif (Travis), Peter
while it is a disappointment it is not for a debrief - only to realise that the profits elsewhere. AB. Tuddenham (the voice of computers
quite as bad as we have all been led powers-that-be want to get rid of him Zen, Orac and Slave) and the series’
to expect. and cover the whole thing up. SFX supremo, Mat Irvine.
For a start, it may be muddled But that’s never going to happen, With Thomas on more, er, subdued
and slapdash, but it is not boring and as he and a group of quirky, form than he sometimes managed
or pretentious like the remake of PTSD-stricken veterans known as in his later years, the real star of
Suspiria (see The Dark Side for our ‘The Loonies’ (Trevante Rhodes, the show is Pearce, who still seems
comments on that), and it lives up Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane) to be channelling her “bitchy diva”
to the original’s 1980s action movie are driven away to an unknown character forty or so years after
roots with a storyline that kicks off fate, they mount an escape which everybody got killed off in the show’s
with a predator ship hurtling towards coincides with a captured predator gob-smacking final episode. Looking
Earth. Sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd breaking free of the military not unlike Barbara Steele (the girls,
Holbrook) is on a job when he’s compound. Also about to enter the incidentally, have aged much better
practically hit by an escape pod picture is another, even deadlier than their male comrades-in-arms),
containing one of the creatures. Super Predator who has been Pearce lounges on her sofa like a
Getting his hands on some of the dispatched to save his predecessor. Roman Empress, dispensing waspish
alien’s stuff, McKenna sends some of Co-written by another ‘80s icon, words of wisdom and weighing up
it home and hides one particularly Fred (The Monster Club) Dekker, the who to poison next. Great fun.
bad-ass piece of weaponry where no movie has a nice 80s vibe about I watched this with Mrs M, our
one will find it. His autistic son Rory it and features a strong turn from resident Blake’s Seven fanatic and
(Jacob Tremblay from Room) opens Sterling K. Brown as Will Traeger, a BLAKE’S SEVEN - 7 STARS apart from the conspicuous absence
the mail package, finding a predator shadowy and untrustworthy agent LIBERATED FROM THE CLASSIC TV of her teenage heartthrob “Avon”
weapon and mask, just what every working to weaponise and exploit SERIES! (2018) (Paul Darrow, who seems to view
young boy needs. He sticks the alien technology - he makes for DVD Out: September 3rd. Koch Media. the show with the same gimlet eye
helmet on to go trick-or-treating really hissable villain. On the down Cert E. through which Martin Shaw came
on Halloween, utilising its powers side it’s a narrative mess, with to look upon The Professionals) she
in an unfortunate encounter with characters coming and going in a Four decades since Blake and his found this set diverting enough.
neighbourhood bullies. random fashion. Worse than that, crew first raised the standard of I’m not sure that its bare bones
Meanwhile, science teacher Casey most of the expected Shane Black rebellion against the Federation in approach (no clips, rudimentary
(Olivia Munn) is called in by the one-liners don’t really work and that infamous chalk pit in Dorset, graphics), while being all too
American government to consult on come across as painfully misjudged the BBC’s cheesiest, albeit much familiar to fans of B7 itself, is going
the situation, seemingly because as the groanworthy gags in latter loved, sci-fi series is celebrated over to win too many new converts
she wrote a letter about aliens to the day Carry On films. Gore fans get six discs / six hours (and then some) to the cause. The closest we get
US President when she was six years their money’s worth here, but a lot of interviews with seven members to supplementary material is an
old. Yeah, er right. But strangely of the CGI work is painfully bad and of the ever-changing title crew. introductory featurette presented by
enough we can actually believe that what we are left with is sadly the Apart from the late Gareth Thomas the documentary’s producer Keith
might happen in the Trump era. She worst outing for this iconic character (Blake himself), we hear from Jan Barnfather and Nicholas Briggs, “the


voice of the daleks”… Ah yeah, Doctor Who. The villain; Lord Commander (voiced by an unrecog- This new HD restoration is absolutely stunning
Beeb put some serious resources into relaunching nisable David Tennant). The unfolding mystery of and even if you have the film in your collection
that, with conspicuous success. Could the same just what exactly the mysterious ‘Final Space’ is already it’s worth a double dip because of all the
be done for Blake’s 7? Fan as she is, Mrs M has her takes a while to get going, and the initially fast amazing extras here.
doubts… John Martin. pace starts to wind down in the second half - but Extras: Commentary by film historian Richard
there’s more than enough going on without that to Harland Smith, Commentary by actors Kevin
FINAL SPACE be chewing over. McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker
Netflix The end of Final Space looks very final indeed Joe Dante, “The Stranger in Your Lover’s Eyes”
for Gary and everyone involved, but a possible – A two-part visual essay with actor and son of
SF fans can be forgiven for thinking we’ve seen light at the end of the tunnel quite literally director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading
it all before. One old sci-fi idea that still has appears at the last possible moment. With the from his father’s book A Siegel Film, “The Fear is
legs after being done countless times is that of door left open for more adventures, Gary might Real” – Filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante
the lonely space traveller. Final Space, a new finally get his hands on that coveted cookie. on the film’s cultural significance, “I No Longer
animated ten part SF-comedy-drama series from Martin Ruddock. Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger” – Film
Netflix takes a tried and trusted old formula and scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses
injects it with extra laughs. Gary Goodspeed is a INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) the life and career of the film’s producer, “Sleep No
well-meaning idiot who tries to impress a girl, and Blu-ray. Olive Films. Out Now. Cert: N/A. More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited”
ends up in deep space serving a five year prison – Never-before-seen appreciation of the film
sentence when he accidentally destroys a whole The ultimate loss-of-identity, reds-under-the- featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter,
fleet of ships belonging to the space police force - beds paranoia movie of the 50s, Don Siegel’s along with comments from film directors and
the Infinity Guard. (Cool name, Ed). nerve-tingling masterpiece stars Kevin McCarthy fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon,
Poor Gary. He means well. He’s just a simple as a doctor in the sleepy town of Santa Mira who “The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers
soul who likes cookies, which remain frustratingly starts hearing complaints from his patients that Phenomenon” – Never-before-seen interviews
out of his grasp despite being readily available their loved ones are behaving strangely, almost as with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along
in deep space. Accompanied only by unhelpful if they weren’t human. Later on, the same people with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and
and psychotic robots who attack him, add time return to tell him they were merely being silly, Stuart Gordon, discussing the making of the film,
on to his sentence for the slightest infraction and but McCarthy’s curiosity has been piqued and its place in history, and its meaning, 1985 archival
deny him his precious cookies - his lot in life is a he discovers to his horror that mankind is being interview with Kevin McCarthy hosted by Tom
depressing one. This all changes when he’s given invaded by a race of emotionless aliens who grow Hatten, “Return to Santa Mira” – An exploration of
a new lease of life when he happens upon a cute in pods, assuming the exact likeness of the human the film’s locations, “What’s In a Name?” – on the
green alien he christens Mooncake. His new friend they intend to replace. The full nightmare of the film’s title, opening narration to have been read by
food and chirrups but inconveniently just happens situation comes home in the film’s scariest scene, Orson Welles. AB.
to be a planet-killing super weapon. As a result, where McCarthy and his girlfriend Dana Wynter
Gary’s plunged into an epic chase across the stars, discover pods growing in a friend’s greenhouse A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946)
joined by Avocato, a green cat-man Bounty Hunter and split them open to find their half-formed Blu-ray. ITV Studios. Cert: PG.
(voiced by Coty Galloway), and the beautiful doubles. From there on in the movie turns into a
Infinity Guard officer Quinn (Tika Sumpter), gripping chase thriller, with the aliens, who have It’s hard to believe, but this new ITV Blu-ray of
uncovering a galactic conspiracy along the way. taken over most of the town, trying to stop the Powell and Pressburger’s classic wartime fantasy
Mostly told in flashback with Gary hovering in couple before they can alert the outside world. marks the movie’s HD premiere, and boy does it
space, minutes from death as his oxygen runs low Invasion was originally conceived as a look amazing for a film made over 70 years ago.
the story of the end of the world unfolds gradually. low-budget B-movie, based on Jack Finney’s novel, Powell and Pressburger made so many superb
Created by Olan Rogers, who also voices Gary The Body Snatchers, but under Siegel’s expert films, including the likes of The Red Shoes,
and Mooncake, there’s a surprising amount of direction it became one of the biggest hits of its Black Narcissus and (my mum’s favourite) The
drama in Final Space. The ten episodes are nicely year. The concept is certainly intriguing, and the Life and Death of Colonel Blimp), but this has to
bite-sized, and the serial format is pacey and script by Daniel Mainwaring (with an uncredited be up there with the best of them. Released in
wastes very little time getting going. There’s room assist from Sam Peckinpah, who also has a cameo the USA as Stairway to Heaven, it is a delightful
for various subplots, usually involving absent or in the film) has an intelligence about it that is rare and exquisitely photographed (by Jack Cardiff)
kidnapped characters like Gary’s hero pilot father for the genre. The film has the blistering pace and fantasy about an RAF pilot, David Niven, who is
and Avocato’s son. It’s medium-sweary and quite the clever use of locations of later Siegel action forced to bail out of his flaming plane as it comes
gory, and there’s an air of cynicism underneath flicks like Dirty Harry. It unfolds in flashback under enemy attack. His parachute destroyed,
the cutesy animation and gorgeous backgrounds. around scenes of a hysterical McCarthy trying he prepares himself for death, sharing what he
An obvious comparison would be Futurama, but to stop traffic with the warning, “You’re next!” believes will be his last words with American radio
there’s also perhaps more than a hint of Red Dwarf Against Siegel’s wishes, producer Walter Wanger operator June (Kim Hunter) and falling in love with
at work here. It’s also crammed with choice cuts added an optimistic epilogue in which it looks as if the sound of her voice.
from sci-fi’s greatest hits from black holes, time the authorities might believe McCarthy’s story, but When he finally jumps for his life he survives
travel, virtual prisons, and the nasty Sith Lord-like today the film is mostly shown without it. the fall, landing in the ocean and being washed


film by Robert Chandler). Albert Finney stars as a

plastic surgeon who becomes a murder suspect
when the models he has performed operations on
are killed. The police are having no luck solving
the case so Finney takes it on himself to find the
culprit, with a little help from model Susan Dey (in
a part originally earmarked for Julie Christie).
Chief suspect is sinister James Coburn, whose
corporation makes three-dimensional images of
the models to be used in subliminal ads. A sci-fi
element creeps in when Coburn’s henchmen chase
Finney armed with stun guns that make their user
invisible. Former Playboy Playmates such as Terri
Welles and Ashley Cox turn up as the models but
it’s a bit of a shock to see The Partridge Family’s
Susan Dey doing topless scenes. Not that we are
complaining of course. Oh sorry, yes, I’ve just
been informed we are because it is fashionable
to stamp out these old fashioned sexist attitudes.
may disappoint the makers of the Harry Potter Sorry mum.
movie series. iTV’s disc looks staggeringly good as Crichton is a good storyteller but Looker is far
I already mentioned. A Matter of Life and Death from being one of his best efforts. Frankly it’s
has been completely restored, with inspection, a bit of a muddle and the motivations of James
repair and 4K scanning of the 35mm Nitrate Coburn’s villain are ridiculous - he’s charismatic
3-Strip Technicolor Picture Negative by Cineric, but basically very stupid indeed, unnecessarily
Inc., Similar work has been put into restoring the drawing attention to his nefarious schemes by
soundtrack and the result is as flawless a disc as murdering these models just to set the daft
any fan of the film could ever wish for. storyline in motion.
Extras: Well, perhaps a little disappointing Oh well, after accepting the plot is rubbish
considering How amazing the feature looks. The you can at least enjoy some decent effects and
Colour Merchant is a 10-minute film about the passable action scenes. The movie looks good but
late, great cameraman Jack Cardiff, whose work in grainy in this 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray and the
colour was just sublime. Jack, who lived to a ripe audio has been amped up to give some welly to
old age, was also a good director, my favourite a memorable electronic soundtrack by Barry De
film of his being Rod Taylor’s The Mercenaries - Vorzon (The Warriors).
let’s have a Blu-ray of that one please. I’d love to Extras: Commentary by the late Michael
have seen Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Crichton, who talks about the problems he
Cardiff (2010) as an extra - this is the definitive faced making the film but avoids discussing its
feature-length doc on this incredible man, but shortcomings. Introduction by Michael Crichton
I think StudioCanal own the rights. There are and a deleted scene from the Network TV version
ashore. By some fateful coincidence he meets also text biographies of Michael Powell, Emeric plus a trailer. Note this is Region A coded so you
Hunter and they fall in love. But though Niven Pressburger, David Niven, Raymond Massey and will need a US player for it. AB.
appears to be healthy he is actually suffering Kim Hunter, better known to later generations for
from brain damage and must undergo an playing Zira in Planet of the Apes. AB.
operation. Meanwhile, in heaven, (photographed
in monochrome while the real world is in glorious LOOKER (1981) Blu-ray.
Technicolor) it is realised that a terrible mistake Out Now. Warner Archive. Cert: N/A.
has been made and that Niven, who was scheduled
to die, has somehow lived. This discovery is I have long been a Michael Crichton fan, even
made by Heavenly Conductor Number 71 (Marius before he made his feature debut with Westworld
Goring), a Frenchman who was beheaded in his (1973) in fact. That love of his work was enhanced
country’s revolution. by the fact that he used my favourite composer,
A trial is convened to see if Niven should be Jerry Goldsmith, as his go-to guy on many
allowed to live on. His appeal is heard by a group movies he directed such as Coma, Congo, The
of heavenly judges, led by prosecutor Raymond First Great Train Robbery, Runaway and The
Massey, an American with strong anti-British 13th Warrior (which he took over from Die Hard’s
sentiments since he was the first Colonial fighter John McTiernan). In fact the two of them first got
killed in the American revolution. The odds seem together for a 1972 TV movie called Pursuit, which
against Niven, but will the pilot be able to convince is a bit like a small screen version of The Satan Bug
the court that his love for June is strong enough (music by Goldsmith too). Hey, I know I rattle on
that he should be given another chance? about Jerry, but someone has to keep the great
The whole film is a treat to watch, thanks to man’s memory alive).
great performances, wondrous camerawork and Anyhow, Looker was a movie that Jerry told
some truly marvellous sets by production designer me he was unable to do because of scheduling
Alfred Junge, notably a monumental stairway conflicts with the TV mini-series Masada and
that reached majestically into the heavens and is episodes of The Waltons! He did say that he loved THE BLOB (1959) Blu-ray.
peopled with a cast of history’s dead. working with Crichton however and felt that he Out December 3rd. Criterion Collection. Cert: 15.
Though chosen as Britain’s first ever Royal was an incredibly talented guy but also very
Command Performance, many felt at the time down to earth in his approach to making movies. Nowadays The Blob is most famous as one of the
that the movie was somehow anti-British, a claim Crichton also wrote Jurassic Park of course. first films made by Steve McQueen, who is billed
that Churchill himself levelled against the earlier As it happened, Looker (the title is an acronym as Steven in the credits. He’s leaps and bounds
Colonel Blimp. It did better in America than it did for Light Ocular-Oriented Kinetic Emotive better than any of the other actors here so it is not
in Britain and has since come to be regarded as Responses) was a bit of a flop, and not surprisingly surprising he went in to better things. That’s not to
a classic everywhere. Oh and it is JK Rowling’s so. It’s a muddled and silly movie about hypnotic denigrate the movie, however, which is a fun effort
favourite movie of all time, apparently, which TV commercials (written and produced for the that really sums up the spirit of 1950s drive-in


movies. The setting is a tiny Pennsylvania town

where a blob of purple goo from outer space starts
consuming the locals, getting bigger and bigger
with each meal. 27-year-old teenager McQueen
and the boring female lead Aneta Corsaut try to
get the grown-ups to believe their story but in the
end it is up to the teen population of the town to
settle the Blob’s hash.
Filmed for $110,000 in the Valley Forge Studios
in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, The Blob was the
work of director Irwin S. Yeaworth, who began as a
director of 16mm religious movies for showing at
churches and other Christian organizations. Son of a
pastor, he also made Dinosaurus and The 4-D Man.
The movie doesn’t race along as fast as its
drag-racing youngsters, but it has a lovely small
town atmosphere and there are some classic
scenes such as when the memorable monster, a
giant blob of bubble gum really, takes over a small
town cinema in the middle of a late night horror
show. Trivia buffs might like to note that the movie
showing as Daughter of Horror is actually the 1955
Dementia, a fever dream of a terror tale that is a Rizzardi, production assistant David De Coteau,
cult favourite among genre fans. There’s also a photographer Kim Gottleib-Walker, Carpenter
funky title song which was one of the earliest hits biographer John Muir, visual effects historian
for Burt Bacharach and Mack David, elder brother Justin Humphreys, and music historian
of Bacharach’s frequent collaborator, Hal David. Daniel Schweiger.
You can get a UK version of this disc but this Snake Plissen: Man of Honour – featurette from
Criterion Collection edition swallows the 2005 featuring interviews with John Carpenter
competition with ease with a gorgeous new and Debra Hill. Intro by John Carpenter - an
high-definition digital restoration boasting a fine interview with director John Carpenter originally
uncompressed monaural soundtrack recorded for a French DVD release in 2003. Deleted
Extras: Two audio commentaries: one by opening sequence “Snake’s Crime” with optional
producer Jack H. Harris and film historian Bruce audio commentary. Audio commentary with
Eder and the other by director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. actor Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter.
and actor Robert Fields. Trailer and Blobabilia!, a Audio commentary with producer Debra Hill and
gallery of collector Wes Shank’s rare trove of stills, production designer Joe Alves. Big Challenges in
posters, props (including the blob itself!) and other Little Manhattan: Visual effects featurette – from
ephemera. AB. 2015, features interviews with both Dennis Skotak,
Director of Photography of Special VFX, and
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) 4K and Blu-ray. Robert Skotak, unit supervisor and matte artist. I
Out: November 26. Studiocanal. Cert: 15. am Taylor - Interview with actor Joe Unger – from
2015. Audio commentary with actress Adrienne
We probably don’t need to tell you much about Barbeau and DOP Dean Cundey. AB.
this one but, for the few that don’t already know,
John Carpenter’s cult favourite is a fast-moving UPGRADE (2018) Blu-ray.
futuristic thriller set in the year 1997 (wow - that’s Out Now. Universal.
the future, man?) where the city of New York has
been turned into one big prison colony. On a One of the movies screened at this year’s
routine flight, the President of the United States FrightFest, Upgrade is a sci-fi/horror tale from
(Donald Pleasence) crash-lands within the walls of ubiquitous producer Jason Blum (The Conjuring).
the prison and it’s then up to super-criminal Snake At its heart is an intriguing premise, though sadly
Plissken (Kurt Russell) to win himself a reprieve by it doesn’t make the most of it. Marshall-Green
going inside to rescue him. This one makes up for stars as a character with the unlikely name of Grey
in action what it lacks in decent scripting, though Trace, living in a future world where cars can drive
personally I feel that Kurt Russell’s husky-voiced themselves - oh wait, that’s today’s world, isn’t
attempt at imitating Clint Eastwood is rather it? I guess this is a little bit in the future though
pathetic, and the best performances in the movie because everyone has one - suck on that, Uber.
come from reliable support players like Pleasence, Our hero is a bit of a Luddite, in fact, and
Harry Dean Stanton and Lee Van Cleef. he likes to work with his hands even though
Carpenter may not be doing anything new technology is striving to make that redundant.
of note but he’s on a roll with his music and One night he is being driven to a party with his
re-releases of his old classics. This 4 disc limited wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) when the automated
Collector’s Edition has been stunningly restored car is hacked and driven to the wrong side of town,
in 4K and the release is beautifully packaged with where it crashes. Some badass criminals pull them
a stylish, newly commissioned illustration on the from the wreck and murder his wife, leaving Grey a
cover. It contains a UHD of the feature as well as quadriplegic. So much for high tech, eh?
a Blu-ray feature disc, extra features disc and the Thereafter, Grey is approached by Eron he doesn’t even have to borrow six million dollars
original soundtrack on CD. (Harrison Gilbertson), a tech genius who gives from the bank to get the gig.
Extras: Entering John Carpenter’s Escape away his bad guy credentials with a suitably Scripted and directed by Saw’s Leigh Whannell,
From New York: A brand new feature-length subterranean lair (though he doesn’t have a Upgrade is not a bad effort, and early on it
documentary featuring interviews with writer Nick fluffy white Persian cat) and tells him that his looks like being great fun when our seemingly
Castle, cinematographer Dean Cundey, composer condition can be cured via a brainstem implant paralysed hero is dragged into a bullet-case-lit-
Alan Howarth, production designer Joe Alves, that will be able to control his body and even give tered urinal in a sleazy nightclub and is about to
special visual effects artist/model maker Gene him superhuman powers a-la Steve Austin, and be beaten to death before saying the magic words

and letting his bionic buddy take over and mash
the baddies to pulp.
The FrightFest screening was probably
appropriate because Upgrade piles on the gore
when our hero doles out graphic punishment to
anyone who gets in the way of his Bronson-like
revenge mission, chopping jaws in two and
splattering brains in a fashion that might get a
begrudging nod of approval from Jackson Pollock.
The script is a bit slapdash, mixing in characters
like Grey’s mum (Linda Cropper) and a suspicious
detective (Betty Gabriel) without giving them
much to do in the scheme of things, and the
ending is frankly rubbish, but there’s lot to enjoy
here nevertheless, especially for Cronenberg
fans who miss those fleshy handguns from
Videodrome. AB.

THEY LIVE (1988) 4K and Blu-ray.

Out November 26. Studiocanal. Cert: 18.
people to live on the streets. When characters interminable punch-up in an alleyway to show
Wrestler-turned-actor Roddy Piper is the hero of put on special glasses they can see subliminal off Piper’s fighting skills. Comparatively speaking
this entertaining but uneven John Carpenter sci-fi messages everywhere, like ‘Stay Asleep,’ and though, this is still one of Carpenter’s better
movie. He plays ‘Obey.’ The glasses also reveal the true guise of the latter-day pictures.
a lonely drifter aliens, who have skeleton-like faces. It’s basically Extras: Exposing John Carpenter’s They
who arrives a reworking of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers for Live - a brand new feature-length documentary
in LA and the Bush generation (George Sr. was elected just featuring interviews with associate producer
discovers that as this came out). Scripted by Carpenter himself Sandy King, cinematographer Gary Kibbe, actor
the consumer under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Armitage,’ the Peter Jason, actor Robert Grasmere, composer
society is film starts out well but soon runs out of steam, Alan Howarth, stunt coordinator/Ghoul Jeff
actually being settling for standard action set-pieces and an Imada, author Jonathan Letham, music historian
dominated by Daniel Schweiger, Blumhouse editor Rebekah
aliens, who McKendry, and visual effects historian Justin
are forcing Humphreys. Original EPK: The Making
more and more of They Live, John Carpenter
profile - vintage profile of the
director. Meg Foster profile -
vintage profile of the actress. Roddy
Piper profile - vintage profile of the actor.
Audio Commentary with John Carpenter
and Roddy Piper Independent
Thoughts with John Carpenter – a
2012 interview with director John
Carpenter. Woman of Mystery:
Interview with Meg Foster – a 2012
interview with actress Meg Foster.
Man vs Aliens: Interview with Keith
David – a 2012 interview with actor
Keith David. Fake commercials in the
film 2.34 mins TV spots. Photo gallery. AB.

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Images: ITV Studios Global Entertainment Poster above is available from

Schoolboy-turned-superspy Joe 90 - who’s been stuck

hen Gerry Anderson’s
Joe 90 made its debut in at the age of nine for the past 50 years - was Gerry
September 1968, fifty years
ago, it was the last of his purely puppet-driven Anderson’s only leading child character. Brian J. Robb
shows. It came at the end of a long line of
successes, from Supercar at the start of the explores whether the show holds up, five decades on…
decade, through the outer space adventures of
Fireball XL5 and the deep sea thrills of Stingray, Anderson’s hope was to move on quickly from television commissioners, Gerry Anderson was
to the international rescues of Thunderbirds this juvenile work into live action television, firmly established as ‘the puppet guy’.
(and Thunderbirds Are Go, the first of two but instead he found himself trapped by Anderson began a long professional
spin-off movies) and the dark machinations lucrative opportunity. Anderson and his team relationship with Lew Grade, boss of ITV
of Captain Scarlet. Throughout the 1960s, the of collaborators, such as puppeteer Christine franchise ATV, when he sold him Supercar in
process of ‘Supermarionation’ - as Anderson Glanville, model effects specialist Derek 1960, created by Anderson and his new wife
termed his sophisticated television puppetry Meddings, and composer Barry Gray, would work (and former secretary) Sylvia - who would go on
techniques - had improved dramatically, from together on many of his subsequent shows. to voice many of the female puppets, including
the earlier heavily caricatured look to a more Again with Leigh, AP Films made the first Thunderbirds’ Lady Penelope. Still aimed at kids,
realistic and lifelike presentation, especially series of Torchy the Battery Boy right at the Supercar was less throwaway than the previous
in the better-proportioned figures featured in end of the 1950s. Neither of these shows series, telling proper stories featuring fantastical
Captain Scarlet. This approach continued to be was particularly good, being aimed at a very heroes and villains and great action. He might
refined for Joe 90. young audience, but Anderson found he had have chaffed against the velvet trap he found
Anderson had long had a love-hate an aptitude for television puppetry. Splitting himself in, but Anderson had discovered his
relationship with his puppet characters. It wasn’t with Leigh (and Povis, eventually), Anderson niche. Supermarionation, his unique electroni-
a field he’d deliberately set out to explore, having made his own take on the kids’ puppet show: cally-assisted approach to puppetry, made its
started out as a film editor, but he’d found his Four Feather Falls, a whimsical Western series official debut with Supercar.
way into television through his connection to that ran for a single year in 1959-60. No doubt The other puppet shows followed to huge
Arthur Povis. Their AP Films outfit had been Anderson hoped his directing job on live success, with Thunderbirds proving to be
commissioned by Roberta Leigh to produce her action B-grade crime thriller Crossroads to the biggest of them all. Besides the shows
children’s puppet television show The Adventures Crime (1960) would serve as a calling card to themselves, 1960s kids were inundated with An-
of Twizzle, commissioned by Granada Television. the industry, but it did little for his profile. To derson-related merchandise, with Thunderbirds

alone said to have produced around 3,000
tie-in items, with Anderson taking a cut
from each item. These ranged from comic
strips (in Anderson’s own ‘TV Century 21’
title; Lady Penelope even had her own comic,
as did Joe 90) to audio versions of episodes
released between 1965 and 1967 on 33rpm
EP mini-album 7-inch records (the only way
episodes could be re-lived, beyond rare TV
repeats). Inevitably, it was a Thunderbirds’
Christmas in 1966. Nevertheless, Anderson
still wanted to work in live action, though
he wouldn’t direct another feature film until
1969’s Doppelganger (AKA Journey to the
Far Side of the Sun), starring The Invaders’
Roy Thinnes.
Following up successes such as
Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet was always
going to be tough. The Andersons were at
the top of their game, with the widespread
popularity of Thunderbirds and the more In creating the new show, Anderson also As with Gerry
serious take of Captain Scarlet suggesting deliberately kept the main cast small in Anderson’s
other puppet
that their abilities with the puppet form had number - he didn’t want to be dealing with shows, Joe
reached their limits. Nonetheless, just as he’d the sprawling ensemble team members that 90 seems to
have been a
done throughout the 1960s, Lew Grade asked had featured in the two previous shows. The merchandising
Anderson for yet another puppet show as a double-bill presentations every time a new schoolboy hero, dubbed ‘the most special bonanza, with
comic annuals,
replacement for Captain Scarlet. At the time, movie came out. It wouldn’t be until 1972 agent’, was nicknamed ‘Ninety’ after the secret agent spy
Anderson’s personal relationship was in crisis - that a Bond film (Goldfinger, 1964) made original name given to Fireball XL5’s leading cases and Dinky
he and Sylvia had recently had their first child, its debut on US TV. Britain had to wait even character, Steve Zodiac. Joe McClaine would toys galore!
And thanks to
but their relationship was in trouble. However, longer, with the first movie Dr. No (1962) not be the adopted son of scientist Professor PR supremo
they had to stick together for professional making its UK TV debut until September Ian McClaine, known as ‘Mac’, who lives in (and Superman
expert) Richard
reasons, as they’d been connected creatively 1975. Anderson came to believe there was a isolation in a cottage on the Dorset coast. Leon for sharing
very successfully since Supercar. gap in the television market at the end of the Anderson had become fascinated with some of his
1960s for a spy adventure series featuring the new magnetic recording medium of secret stash
with us…
PULLING THE STRINGS an especially talented child lead character. videotape, and combined this with the
When Anderson came to consider a new Thus, Joe 90 was born. notion that ‘the human brain is controlled
show, he tapped into the increasing success Anderson, continuing his quest to move by electrical impulses … thoughts (could be)
of the James Bond movie franchise, which ever closer to live action film production, stored electronically. I started toying with
had begun with Sean Connery as Ian wanted the new show to focus more on the story potential of a process that would
Fleming’s superspy in 1962. There’d already characterisation and less on the action and allow the recording of brain patterns and
been an American unofficial television hardware that his previous series’ were best transferring them to another brain’. In this
spin-off, capitalising on the Bond craze, in know n for. Additionally, he believed that way, young Joe 90 could adopt any skill set
The Man From UNCLE (1964-1968) while UK such a focus fitted better with a juvenile he needed for any mission, simply by sitting
TV had The Avengers (1961-69), so Anderson lead figure - although there would be action, in his father’s BIG RAT machine (located
thought he could do his own juvenile version he couldn’t be seen to put a schoolboy into deep underneath that seemingly innocuous
of the British spy - after all, what child of the the same situations faced by the pilots of cottage) and having his mind fed the right
late-1960s had not at one time or another Thunderbirds or the colour-coded agents of ‘brain pattern’, stored on copious reels of
imagined themselves to be 007? Captain Scarlet. magnetic tape.
Another thought driving Anderson was As Anderson explained: ‘The puppets had Key to young Joe’s remarkable abilities
the fact that the Bond films had not yet become so lifelike, I now strongly believed that were the special glasses he needed to wear
been seen on television; they’d instead they could carry the action without the usual to activate the new ‘brain patterns’ in his
been frequently re-issued in cinemas in massive assistance from futuristic hardware.’ head (thus allowing the nation’s glass-

although he is used as an experimental genuine child actor to provide the vocals.
subject simply to display the capabilities He signed up 1951-born (making him about
of BIG RAT (a clumsy acronym for ‘Brain 16 when Joe 90 entered production in 1967)
Impulse Galvanoscope Record And Len Jones, who’d previously appeared in
Transfer’), the spooks quickly see the episodes of Adam Adamant Lives!, Z Cars,
possibilities of deploying young Joe and Dixon of Dock Green, as well as several
himself into action as a most unusual field movies. Jones won the role through simply
agent. His foster father’s initial worries being interviewed by the Andersons, and
- ‘But he’s so young,’ he exclaims - are reading some sample script pages. After
quickly brushed aside, with parental Joe 90, Jones went on to appear on the first
responsibility rapidly losing out to the season of the forerunner to Here Come the
excitement of espionage adventures. Double Deckers called The Magnificent Six-
and-a-Half (six short films in 1968), several
BOY’S OWN ADVENTURES Children’s Film Foundation projects, and
Joe 90 was put into production almost 1977’s Straw Dogs.
as soon as Captain Scarlet had vacated Perhaps due to Sylvia Anderson’s reduced
the specially-constructed puppet filming participation, Joe 90 was a bit of a ‘boy’s
stages at the Century 21 Studios on the own’ style adventure series with a distinct
Slough Trading Estate that Anderson used lack of the kind of female characters that
Joe 90 was es-wearing kids to also play secret agent). for all his 1960s productions. Filming ran had always been central to the previous
never aired
in the United
As the ITC publicity release for Joe 90 from November 1967 through to August Anderson productions. The only regular
States, but outlined, he was one special boy: ‘When he 1968, just a month before the show’s TV (appearing in a total of four out of 30
Joss Whedon’s receives these brain patterns, Joe… becomes premiere. With only five regular characters episodes; only 10 other episodes feature
TV series a man in thought and deed… he can become and lesser demands for flashy hardware, any women) female character was the
Dollhouse the greatest of all astronauts, a dare-devil the show was quicker, easier, and cheaper McClaine’s butch-looking housekeeper Ada
(2009) had
the same
pilot, an ace motorist, a brilliant brain to produce taking a lesser toll on model Harris, voiced by Sylvia Anderson. Joe 90
premise as surgeon, or whatever else may be necessary makers and puppet builders alike. Some of was strictly adventures by and for the boys.
the Anderson for him as the most daring of all agents the characters featured were revamped and One of the endless attractions of the
show. In
Dollhouse, attached to the World Intelligence Network.’ repurposed puppets from Captain Scarlet Anderson series were the nifty vehicles, and
the main This was a fantasy dream come true for the (mostly villains and guest characters), while although there was a focus on characters,
Echo, a nation’s children. the central figures of Joe 90 and his father Joe 90 didn’t fail in this department. The
secret agent Of course, it is unlikely that Joe 90 would had to be completed created from scratch. most often featured vehicle was Professor
has skills
be made today without further in-depth Long term Anderson puppet maker Mary McClaine’s Jet Air Car, an update on the
into her mind consideration of the ethical issues involved Turner sculpted Professor McClaine, while concept of Supercar as it is a vehicle that
for missions (something that seemed to escape all the creation of the series star fell to Tim can fly and float, as well as drive on roads.
those making the show in the late-1960s). Cooksey, who developed a more realistic The whole thing appeared to be built around
There’s an obvious real-world problem with child-like figure than had featured on a massive jet engine, while the wheels on
implanting a nine-year-old boy with ‘brain Anderson shows before. There had been kid extended legs made it look extra cool.
patterns’ that make him ‘a man in thought characters previously, such as Supercar’s Trusty model designer Derek Meddings
and deed’ (what would be the psychological Jimmy Gibson, the child-like Zoonie the was charged with coming up with the Jet
implications?), as well as the concerns over Lazoon on Fireball XL5, and even Stingray’s Air Car, while at the same time being busy
the dangerous situations this nine-year-old innocent mute mermaid Marina could be on both of Anderson’s then-in-production
could find himself involved in (regardless of considered to be a child at heart, but none movies, Thunderbird 6 and Doppelganger.
whatever ‘expert’ knowledge may be lodged of them had been the title star or lead While the new vehicle lacked the sleek
in his head). However, this was a 1960s TV on the show. The proportions of real life sophistication of some of the craft seen in
fantasy-land populated with puppets, so children were studied before the creation Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, the show
producers could get away with a lot more of the figure for Joe, all in the service of was set in a ‘near future’ of the early 21st
madness than they might today. making the character believable. Century, much closer to the then-present
Unusually, McClaine’s brain-transfer- For the all-important voice cast, Anderson day of the late-1960s than the usual
ence machine is created independently was able to secure the services of Rupert Anderson future of a century from then.
of any official government organisation Davies (best known then to TV audiences Meddings took a solid engineering concept,
or sanction. It is only when the World as French detective Maigret), but for young extrapolated it forward a little and produced
Intelligence Network find out about its Joe he felt the usual trick of employing an a functional, realistic looking vehicle.
possibilities that it becomes a tool of adult actress to voice a young boy wouldn’t Anderson noted: ‘The car looked like no
international spycraft. Equally oddly, be suitable. For Joe 90, Anderson wanted a other piece of hardware we had previously.’

process that transferred the episode (and the overall finale for the series) was
required ‘brain patterns’ to a clip show as Joe celebrates his 10th birthday
Joe, all to the catchy theme (‘The Birthday’) - rather sadly, as he seems to
tune by Barry Gray, one of have no friends his own age...
many he’d produced for Perhaps the most surprising scriptwriter on
Anderson. Joe 90 was actor and Anderson regular Shane
Rimmer. The Canadian actor then living in
FANTASY MISSIONS London provided most of the American-accented
The single season of 30 voices Anderson needed for his various shows,
half-hour episodes featured significantly voicing Scott Tracy for Thunderbirds.
a familiar roster of writers Wanting to write, he devised a story for an
and directors from the episode of Thunderbirds, called ‘Ricochet’, which
Anderson stable. As always, was then scripted by Barwick. That led to Rimmer
the initial episode (the one scripting a couple of episodes for Captain Scarlet
that outlines the series (‘Avalanche’; ‘Expo 2068’). For Joe 90, he turned in
concept) was by Gerry and half-a-dozen episodes, taking Joe to the Middle
Sylvia Anderson. ‘The Most East where he improbably poses as the heir to the
Special Agent’, directed throne (‘King for a Day’), sending him in pursuit
by Desmond Saunders (a of a malfunctioning submarine (‘Big Fish’), and
Thunderbirds and Captain making Joe an explosives expert so he can save
Scarlet veteran), introduced trapped miners (‘Relative Danger’), among other
Joe, his foster father, and escapades.
the unique properties of Joe 90 was syndicated across the ITV regions,
Meddings, who died in 1995 at 64, had been the BIG RAT. By the end of the first adventure - an starting on ATV Midlands and Tyne Tees in
a mainstay of the Anderson productions since imaginary sample scenario that involved Joe 90 September 1968, shortly after production was
Torchy the Battery Boy in 1957. Along with Reg pinching a new Russian fighter-bomber aircraft completed. The series didn’t debut on Granada
Hill, he designed the main model craft used in to prevent an arms race - the nine-year-old Joe Television until Christmas Day, opening with the
Stingray, Anderson’s first colour breakthrough McClaine had become the newest agent of the out-of-sequence Christmas themed instalment
series. As the special effects supervisor for World Intelligence Network. From there, writer ‘The Unorthodox Shepherd’. The series was
Thunderbirds, Meddings had designed all the Tony Barwick (who worked extensively with heavily repeated through the early-1970s, so
main craft - Thunderbirds 1 through 5 - as Anderson and script edited the series) giving anyone today aged either side
well as the many other vehicles and pieces of and director Alan Perry sent Joe of 50 strong and fond memories
industrial kit seen throughout the series. He into space in ‘Most Special of the show as their own
worked on Anderson’s first live action TV show, Astronaut’ to rescue some Anderson series, where
UFO (1970-73) before graduating to the big stranded spacemen, those 10 years or so older
screen and bringing his trademark detailed and while Barwick’s third had Thunderbirds. Like
convincing miniatures to the James Bond film episode ‘Project 90’, all the Anderson shows,
series (starting with Live and Let Die in 1973), and directed by Peter Joe 90 was able to add
such superhero blockbusters as Superman (1978) Anderson, saw Joe’s newer fans in later
and Batman (1989). At the time of his death, foster father Professor reruns on television,
Meddings was working with his sons on the 1995 McClaine kidnapped such as those on BBC1
James Bond movie GoldenEye, the first to feature by criminals. and Nickelodeon in
Pierce Brosnan as 007. In all, Barwick 1994. DVD and home
Model makers and designers Keith Wilson and would write 16 media releases have
Gren Nott handled the detailed set and location episodes, over half of the also helped keep the
designs on Joe 90. Normally this would have been entire run. Predicaments series alive. The show first
the provenance of Anderson regular art director he put Joe 90 into included dropped in America in 1969.
Bob Bell, but he was fully occupied with his work transporting dangerous In the fantasy world of Joe
on Doppelganger. Bell, who died in 2009, had chemicals across Africa (in ‘Colonel 90, the Cold War of the 1960s was
been a mainstay on Thunderbirds. Wilson and McClaine’, a blatant rip-off of The Wages of apparently still going strong in the 21st
Nott made the exterior and suitably rustic interior Fear, 1953), recovering a nuclear bomb from an century, and even children were fair game for
of the McClaine cottage, as well as designing Arctic base (‘Arctic Adventure’), and becoming recruitment to action. ‘Originally, these shows
and building the distinctive BIG RAT mechanism. the bodyguard to an elected leader targeted were designed to be shown to children,’ said
The BIG RAT model featured heavily in the series for assassination by the deposed dictator (‘Viva Anderson in a 2003 interview, ‘but we never wrote
distinctive opening titles, which also set out the Cordova’). Disappointingly, Barwick’s final down to children.’

uncomfortable and unsuccessful hybrid
between his traditional puppet characters
and live action material called The Secret
Service (1969). Thereafter, Anderson would
abandon puppetry altogether as he at last
realised his long-held ambition of making
live action material with real flesh-and-blood
actors in both UFO and Space: 1999 (1975-77).
Essentially, Joe 90 was the necessary bridge
between the puppet worlds Anderson
had previously explored and those more
successful live action shows.
After a long gap, Anderson would return
to puppets in the 1980s with Terrahawks
(1983-86) and Dick Spanner P.I. (1986-87,

voiced by Shane Rimmer). His last live
t was Joe’s unique access to the action show was Space Precinct (1994-95),
knowledge and expertise he could easily but Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet
acquire through BIG RAT that made him a in 2005 saw Anderson moving with the
unique espionage asset. Few of the episodes, times and producing a very impressive
however, relied on Joe being a child, CGI-animated take on his original 1960s
preferring instead to treat him as simply a show. Even Thunderbirds lives on in the
rather short adult agent with special skills. current CGI series, Thunderbirds Are Go
For his part, pilot director and supervising (2015-present). Anderson died in 2012 at the
producer Desmond Saunders thought there age of 83, his legacy secure in the memories
was something somehow ‘off’ about Joe of generations of children and adults.
90’s concept. ‘There was an unpleasant side There has been talk over the years of a
to it, which I never really understood,’ said film version of Joe 90 - either live action or


Saunders. ‘There was something about it that with puppets, and last proposed about 2003
was very strange and sinister.’ - but the improbability (and doubtful ethics)
Of course, as kids those concerns about of a such a youthful secret agent probably
ADVENTURES OF JOE 90! the show’s inherent ‘weirdness’ and about
its depictions of violence (which attracted
means that such a project might not be
made now. Having said that, though, there
complaints about things such as the use of have been variations on the theme in the Spy
We pulled a few strings and thanks to the generosity a household drill as a weapon and putting Kids (2001-11) series of films, and teen hero
of ITV Studios Global Entertainment we have three a nine-year-old repeatedly in danger) just adventurers like in Anthony Horowitz’s Alex
DVDs of Joe 90 - The Complete Series to give away passed young viewers by. They were too busy Rider novels (filmed in 2006 as Alex Rider:
to lucky Infinity readers. No need to put on special fantasising about being mini-James Bonds, Stormbreaker, and soon to be a TV series), so
glasses to enhance your brainpower, just answer one but with the added advantage of any specialist maybe there is some future mileage in the
easy question: knowledge needed. Any self-respecting Joe technologically-assisted youthful spy genre…
What is the name of the incredible device 90 fan needed the WIN replica briefcase that For now, though, fans of Joe 90 will have
invented by Professor Ian McClaine which contained a pistol (it fired darts and to make do with the original 30 episodes
enables the knowledge and experience of one had a screw-on silencer). There and any merchandise they’ve
person to be transferred to another? was also a separate set that managed to hang on to. Whatever
We will randomly select three winners among included a pistol (with that Joe 90’s doing now, it’s got to be
those of you who get the answer correct. Please send all-important silencer), a better than the fate that befell
your entry by e-mail or snail mail to the mag address transmitter, and the special Joe voice actor Len Jones -
which you will find on page 4, and you have until magic Joe 90 specs. when last heard of in 2009,
November 30th to do so. There’d be one more he was working in a
puppet show from warehouse, no doubt on an
Anderson, a quite bizarre, undercover mission…

Richard Molesworth continues his chat with
Visual Effects Designer Mat Irvine about his
impressive career in cult TV, including his
work on the BBC classic, Edge of Darkness…

n the first part of this interview, Mat Irvine discussed
his early work on Doctor Who, plus his contribution to
shows like Moonbase 3 and Blake’s 7 in the early 1970s.
Mat returned to Doctor Who in time to work on the
programme’s 100th story - ‘The Stones of Blood’ - in
1978. “At the production meetings for Doctor Who, there would
Above: normally be the Director, the Production Assistant, and the various
Mat outside his
workshop in 2018
Heads of Department. So you would have your set designer, your
costume designer, and your make-up designer. Possibly a graphic
Right: designer, but not always, and possibly - because Doctor Who used
A model stone
circle from the them a lot - an Electronic Effects operator. And, lastly, Visual Effects,
1978 Doctor Who which would be me, or one of my colleagues. And we’d all go through
show, ‘The Stones
of Blood’
the script, and agree which bits were set, and which bits were
costume, and which bits were make-up. It was usually pretty obvious.
But sometimes something could be a sort-of costume. And if it was
a monster, or an alien, then it was usually going to be left to Visual
Effects. Because I just knew that all my fellow Heads of Department
would be thinking, ‘That’s Effects, better get rid of it...’ There was
always a debate about your average classic Doctor Who monster - far from the Rollright Stones, you fell into a ditch, or into a hedge,
was it an effect, was it a costume, was it make-up?” or something. So I built a model of the circle, and we shot that at
“I only got my own way once, with monsters, which was on ‘The night as well, so there was a bit of a ghostly glow, which helped
Stones of Blood’. I read in the script about these Ogri creatures, the sell the effect. “The other miniature that I did on the story was the
Stones, coming alive and leaping across the moors. I do remember hyperspace ship. It was slightly odd-looking, because it was ‘set’ by
saying at the production meeting, ‘Look if you want an Equity the set designer, who could only build a small amount of sets in the
member stuffed into a rubber suit, leaping across the moors - forget studio. He designed these straight corridors with right-angle bends,
it.’ I’d had bad experiences with creature effects, so I didn’t want and I was faced with making a model that vaguely matched his set,
anything to do with it, if that’s what they wanted. My view was which is why it ended up an odd shape. But that’s OK, it’s a shape that
that the stones should remain stones - I would move them, I would people remember.”
levitate them if need be, I could make them glow with internal lights, So the set design came first, and you had to make the model to
but that was it. Strangely, they agreed with me. I won that one, and I match up with that?
think it worked a hell of a lot better.” “It’s invariably that way around. If you’ve got an interior and an
“So the Ogri were made to match the real standing stones at the exterior, you’ll find that the interior set designer has got a bigger
Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire, which was our location for that story. Our job, if I’m perfectly honest. And they’re going to design that from
set designer also added extra false stones to the circle, and we added a standard BBC bits of scenery, and we as Effects Designers have to
trilithon, whereas the only real trilithon in the world is at Stonehenge. modify our model designs around what they do. I like to try and
But we added one because this was fantasy, it was Doctor Who. get some connection between the two. Look at the exterior and
“They wanted a shot of the stone circle - the whole stone circle - at the interior of the Liberator from Blake’s 7, and there’s no match
night, which was actually difficult to get, because if you go back too whatsoever between them. OK, the craft’s a lot bigger, but we

Name of feature

Above l-r: never decided on the actual size of it, and K9 TROUBLES
The beam
we never decided where it was driven from. ‘The Stones of Blood’ also saw the K9 prop go on
and a model If you start on an exterior shot, and zoom in, location, which often caused problems. How did
spaceship from we only zoom in about half-way. We never Mat handle that aspect? “The director asked,
‘The Stones of
Blood, and Bob get too close to it before we cut to a shot of ‘Can you make K9 rush up this field?’” says
Peck in Edge of the Liberator flight deck. With the Enterprise Mat, laughing. “It’s a ploughed field! You’d have
in Star Trek, for example, you knew where a job running up it, and the Dog’s on wheels!
Right, above: the bridge was on the model, because the So we actually did do half of what the director
‘Creature windows vaguely matched up. With the wanted - and I’m quite pleased about the
from the Pit’
and below is Liberator, you didn’t know where the flight sequence, because I was having to think totally
‘Warrior’s Gate’ deck was located when looking at the model.” on my feet. I’d got two, if not three, assistants
Below: “Going back to ‘The Stones of Blood’, with me, so there’s three or four of us. We
Matt and K9 we built a larger section of the spaceship pulled K9 up one side of a field, using a rope to
on location for
‘The Stones of
exterior, where we could use Colour help him, because its wheels would not grip.
Blood’ Separation Overlay (CSO) to have the Doctor When he got to a corner, he did a right-angled
and Romana keyed into it, looking out. And turn - this was in one shot - and somebody was
then I also had to do all the usual props and behind a handy hedge to hoik him up onto the
things, like the ‘beam machine’ that the trolley we used to move the Ogri around. Then
Doctor makes, which I’ve still got. In the we had five or six eight-by-four blockboards
script, it says the Doctor makes it out of bits laid out as little tracks. We moved the Dog onto
and pieces, so that’s exactly what I did - I that track, and because the wheels could now
made it out of bits and pieces too.” work, he then raced off. And all you could see
Why was the ‘beam machine’ deemed to was his head above the hedge, you couldn’t see
have been a Visual Effect, and not a prop? anything else.”
“You’ll find that the set design people, clever Mat returned to Doctor Who the following
though they are, will generally only build the year, to handle the effects on the story ‘The
full size stuff. Any dressing and props which Creature from the Pit’. As the title suggests,
are required will be down to the set designer, the focus of the story was the eponymous
working with the prop buyer. So if they need, ‘creature’, and Mat had to somehow try and
say, a chair, they’ll ask if it has to do anything make what was scripted work in the studio. worked on, because I thought it was different,
in particular? If not, they can just go and hire “The trouble was, we could only make everything worked, and it had a sympathetic
a chair. But if it has to something special, it one creature prop, and it was asked to do director. Paul Joyce was the only director
then becomes a Visual Effect. And the ‘beam something that was impossible. If we’d had who ever came to see a model shoot. That
machine’ had to do things.” a lot of time, with a lot of different creature was also the single biggest miniature shoot I
props, shot in a lot of different ways - one to ever did.
do this, one to do that - it might have worked. “I had the model Gateway, the Privateer
But, no, we had to make one thing, which spaceship, and the TARDIS, all on a little
then had to do everything. I always say, we white set, and all but the TARDIS had to
weren’t paid to do it right, we were paid to be blown up. And it was one of those rare
do it right the first time. And there’s a vast occasions where I was able to do it twice. The
difference. If you went to ILM, or Pinewood, Privateer was able to be re-dressed, and I had
or Shepperton, and asked them to blow up a spare Gateway, because I had made two
a car, they’d have half a dozen cars sitting models. I shot that on 35mm, running at 125
there. Wheel one in - boom! Wheel in another frames a second, so it was five times normal
- boom! Until they got it right. We had to get speed. I also had an industrial 16mm camera,
it right first time.” a Locam, running at 20 times speed, 500
Mat worked on one other Doctor Who story frames a second.
with Tom Baker’s Doctor. ‘Warrior’s Gate’ saw “The Gateway models were made out of
the departure of K9 from the series, but also weakened plaster mix, and we’d drilled about
gave Mat a big effects set-piece to relish. 20 tiny explosive charges in the back of each
“That was my favourite Doctor Who that I one. It took a lot of time to set up. And as

WORKING ON A BBC CLASSIC Most of the water came out of the Ilkley College
Just after Mat finished work on his final Doctor duck pond. I hired in a dedicated effects fire
Who story, another project came along that would engine crew, to pump the water. We had to get in
stretch his abilities to their fullest. “People ask all the hoses, the manifolds, the rain-stands - I
me, ‘What’s the best programme that you ever think I had 10 of them there. It was a big set-up.
soon as you’ve got turnover, you’ve got to go, did?’ And they expect me to say Doctor Who or But once you’d set it up, it was under complete
because the film goes through the gate in about Blake’s 7, but I don’t. I say Magnox - or Edge of control, with just one tap. On. Off. On. Off. There’s
40 seconds. I also had my stills camera running, Darkness as it was re-titled for broadcast. It was a the rain, now it’s off. It was very satisfying, but it
my Nikon 35mm camera, on a motor drive ran via one-off programme, only six parts and that was it. took a bloomin’ long time to set up.
a foot pedal. So basically, foot on that, hand on It had every type of effect in it. “I remember saying to the Production Manager,
the firing box, turnover, twist the rotary dial to fire “When I got put on the show, I didn’t know ‘Warn everybody that ‘Effects’ rain is wetter than
all the explosives, boom-boom-boom-boom. I set what it was about, it was a programme that was ordinary rain.’ She said, ‘What do you mean?’ I
it up and did one take in the morning, and then shooting without the script being ready - very said, ‘There’s much more of our rain, it’s twice as
did it again in the afternoon. We’d got it first time, unusual for the Beeb at the time. Now, that wasn’t dense, otherwise you won’t see it on film. I’ve got
but Paul Joyce and I decided we’d try again. So any of the production’s fault, it was because the to put twice as much water in, even at night when
we ended up with four pieces of film, from the two commissioning editor of BBC2 bought the whole it’s backlit, otherwise you won’t see it.’ Then, for
cameras and the two setups. thing forward by a year. one shot, Martin (Campbell, the director) decided
“Also on that story, I had to make all the “It was originally going to be made in 1985 he wanted to position the camera looking the
guns. I’ve always thought with prop guns, you for a 1986 transmission, and we ended up going other way. All the lights, all the scaffolding, all the
work on the principle that they’ve got to be a in 1984 for a 1985 transmission, which threw rain gear was in the wrong place, and would be
realistic weight. If you make them out of plastic, everyone. So we literally began filming with Troy seen if it stayed where it was. So it all had to come
they don’t have the right ‘heft’ to them. I had a Kennedy Martin still writing the script as he went, down, and then set back up again. But we did it!”
contractor who was going to fabricate them, so not knowing quite what we were setting up for. So, “We were filming in a house that had been
I said to him, ‘Can you do these out of cold-cast basically, we really had to think on our feet about rented for a period of time between it being
resin?’ Essentially, resin with metallic powder in what we were going to be doing on that. sold and the new owners moving in, it had to
it, so the guns looked metallic, but not that heavy. “At the time, I was pretty much stuck doing be retained as it was, so any damage had to be
But he made them out of solid aluminium. When filming on the model stage, and I think I’d gone made good. When we did the sequence where
you were threatened by one of those guns, you in to my Head of Department, and quite pointedly McCroon was shot, all my fake blood went all over
really felt threatened! But because they were so said, ‘Can’t I get something that’s on location... the walls and ceiling, so the whole room had to
heavy, we eventually ended up having to also I don’t have to do model work all the time.’ And, be repainted. But it looked very good. When we
make vac-formed copies, so the actors could stick frankly, you got more money out of it when on saw the first rushes come back, we realised that
them on their belts, so it rather ruined the idea location. You could earn a lot on expenses, you this was going to be an award-winner, so you pull
of it.” were given 24 hour allowances, and this was going out all the stops. Not that we didn’t pull out all the
Mat’s final work on Doctor Who was on the to be all on location. But more than that, it was stops already, but some things you just know you
Peter Davison story ‘Warriors of the Deep’, a story going to get me out the place. So I went into the go the extra mile for.
with a less-than stellar reputation. “With the best office, and there was the bookings board, a physical “I remember saying to the set designer, ‘Are
will in the world, it wasn’t the best of stories. board with magnetic labels and tape, and there was you overspending?’ He said, ‘Yes!’ I said, ‘Good -
Funnily enough, in recent years I got called in to this thing called Magnox written on it. And they so am I!’ But it was pretty good value, we did six
do the DVD audio commentary, and none of us said, ‘There’s this drama coming up, called Magnox, hours of award-winning television on a budget
really wanted to do it. There was me, Eric Saward, we don’t know what it is...’ And I knew enough of, I think, £1.8 million, and the overall spend was
who was the Script Editor, and Peter Davison. about science to say, ‘Well, it’s a nuclear term, it’s something like £2.3 million. But if you win that
And when I watched it again, I thought it wasn’t magnesium non-oxidation, or non-oxidising.’ But many BAFTAs, nobody cares. That’s six hours of
actually as bad as I’d remembered. that told me nothing, it could have been anything. quality television, and it still stands up today.”
“The trouble was, and this was quite common at And it was a working title anyway. But I got onto it,
that time, it was a case of, ‘Oh, we’ve paid money and it turned out that it was one of the best dramas IN AT THE DEEP END
for the Myrka, so we’ve got to get our money’s the BBC ever did, and arguably is still the best Mat managed to bag himself a cameo appearance
worth out of it.’ And I just quote Alien. Alien wasn’t drama the BBC’s ever done.” in the show, playing one of the frogmen who

expensive to make, but the creature, what do you retrieves a dead body from a lake. “We made the
see of it, originally? Nothing - it’s all shadows. ne of the early sequences filmed for the dead body that was recovered from the reservoir.
You see bits, close-up’s, quick flashes... That’s series were the scenes in the first episode It had to be very, very realistic, as it would be used
what you wanted with the Myrka. We were in a outside Craven’s house. Set at night, in - naked - for a scene in the morgue, so I organised
television studio, white set, flat lighting, going at pouring rain, these sequences were pivotal in a full body cast to be made. We got a model, an
a fairly snail’s pace. The design of the Myrka, I’ve setting up the narrative that would run through actress, in to do it, because she had to be naked.
got no problems with it at all. No, it’s on screen for the whole drama. “For virtually all of the first I got Morag McLean and Bryony Keating, both
about five minutes, and you wonder why you can episode, it’s raining all the time - and the rain is all Effects Assistants, plus two Make-Up Assistants,
see the seams....” Effects! I had to make sure it rained on cue. to cast a mould of the actress. We then pulled

Richard Molesworth

a cast from the plaster mould, and made a couldn’t be done that way, we’d have to do it
dead body which was nice and floppy, and stop-frame. I went to Martin Campbell and
dressed it in an orange cagoule. Michael Wearing, and said, ‘Look, it can be
“The reservoir scene was shot in Yorkshire, done, we’re the Effects Department, we can
and I remember the PA was going around do it, but it’s going to be hellishly expensive
trying to find the local diving club, if there to do and very time-consuming. You’ve got
was one, to get people in to act as the to get 35mm cameras up here to shoot it
frogmen on the boat. I said, ‘What’s the (everything else was standard 16mm, it
point?’ Me and my assistant were there, wasn’t even Super 16mm), so it’s up to you.’
we’d got our wetsuits on - we had to have “It’s irritating, because I would have loved
our wetsuits because we’d got to get our to have done it, but you had to give them the
dead body in and out of the water - it’s our facts. There’s no point going, ‘Yeah, could do it
prop! So we did the scene. What I didn’t in a day...’ No way could you! There’s probably
know, when we were in the boat about 100 a month’s work there, specialist work. So they
metres off the bank, was that Andy Dunn re-wrote the black flowers ending instead
(the DP) had got me on the longest lens he - and the flowers ended up being made by
could. It’s a good job I wasn’t scratching my Visual Effects. I think Bob Peck got quoted as
ear - or worse. I was driving the boat, and my saying he thought the original ending was too
assistant, Sinclair Brebner, was clearing his controversial, and that it was changed for that
visor or something.” reason, but no, it wasn’t. It was basically down
A lot of the action in the final episode to practicalities.”
was filmed in Scotland, in the area around
the Gleneagles Hotel. Darius Jedburgh (Joe about the effect. Bob Peck was sitting with This page: GENERAL DOGSBODY!
Don Baker) attends a NATO conference on his back to the window, and he had a big, Scenes from the In recent years, Mat has been involved in the
energy, and pulls two bars of plutonium from thick coat on, so I told him to stick his collar Edge of Darkness, worlds of Doctor Who once more. Mat played
his briefcase. “When Jedburgh pushes the up, just to protect his neck. Then I put my including Mat’s a significant role in the preservation of the
cameo appearance
bars together and causes the explosion, no, foot about 18 inches from the edge of Bob’s as a frogman and original K9 prop, and he is now the custodian,
that wouldn’t really have worked like that chair, and said, ‘There,’ actually thinking, ‘I’ve Joe Don Baker as and main operator, of K9 whenever his
Darius Jedburgh
in real life. But we did that sequence using got no real idea...’ You can’t predict these with Bob Peck as
services are required for television.
moulds of the bars with a bit of coloured gel things, anything can happen, it’s uncertain, Craven “Let’s go back to 1977, when the Doctor
inside, and an old-fashioned flashbulb, with you just don’t know where the bits are going Who story being made was ‘The Invisible
wires running up Joe Don Baker’s sleeve. He’d to go. Then I said, ‘Look, this sort of set-up Models from the Enemy’”, Mat begins to explain. “Ian Scoones
bring ‘em together, we’d push a button, and... takes ages, and it would take ages to re-set Doctor Who show was the effects designer, but he concentrated
‘Warriors of
whooosh! You get a little bit of smoke off it as again, so let’s film the rehearsal.’ the Deep’
on the miniature model work. I was also
well, but that really was a bit cod. “So it was, ‘Camera, Speed, Action!’ Bang! working on the programme, but I was helping
“Also, for that end sequence at Gleneagles, Bang! All the SAS come through the window, Ian out - I built the model shuttles. So they
the prop buyer said to me, ‘I’ve got to get a there’s clouds of smoke, boom, boom, boom, bought in Tony Harding to handle the story’s
lot of space models, it’s supposed to be a sort and that’s basically it, that’s the shot. When studio sessions. Now this included making,
of space convention...’ I said, ‘Don’t worry!’ I look at where the shatterglass ended up, as was written in the script by Bob Baker and
and took my own model collection up. So it was within a millimetre of 18 inches from Dave Martin, a talking computer that looked
there’s an Ariane rocket, a Saturn 5, a Space Bob’s chair. So Martin was very impressed!” like a dog. Hence K9. Now, Ian had actually
Shuttle, and also a few satellite models, The originally-planned ending for the done some initial designs for K9, but Tony
all helping to fill up the table, but it’s only series was considered quite contentious, and came along and did his own thing, which
background stuff. was never actually filmed. “When we finally was completely different to Ian’s idea. So K9
“With the shootout in the final episode, got the scripts, we saw what was planned for as we all know and love him today is Tony
we’d hired this hunting lodge, it was the very end. The original scripted ending Harding’s design.”
also somewhere near Gleneagles. Martin was on the shore of the reservoir in Scotland. “The original K9 prop build was done
Campbell said he wanted the SAS, or whoever And the idea was that Craven and Emma, his by Tony, assisted by about half a dozen
it was, coming in through this big window. daughter - he keeps seeing her as a vision, assistants at the time. Then Ian, who was
It was in the kitchen, with Bob Peck sitting even though she was shot in the first episode still involved, had seen a shop called Slough
at a table, and to his back there’s a window, - run together and then turn into a tree. Now Radio Control whilst on his way in to work,
probably about 20 feet away. So we took the remember, this was 1984 - how do we do it? and called in on them. Ian got them involved
whole window out, and put in balsa window I talked to Morag McLean about how to do it, in the radio control side of making K9 work.
frames with PS2 shatterglass - fake glass. We because she’s an excellent sculptor. I said, Later on, radio control became a very useful
had two ‘woofers’ to blast air onto the frame, ‘How can we do this?’ And she said, ‘Well I’d tool for lots of things, but in 1977 it was still
and a few small, safe explosives set up in need 35mm shot plates - to keep it steady, pretty crude. We’d had a Man on the Moon
little tiny packs, just to give a bit of sparkle. we can do a cast of the tree, we can isolate eight years previously, but radio control was
“Martin Campbell says to me, ‘OK, the figures, probably by travelling matte...’ So only one stage past valves, and the first set
you’re blowing the window in, where’s the it could all be done. was pretty crude, 27AM (for anyone who
glass going to end up?’ The glass was FX “In these days with CGI, it would be an knows anything about radio control), which
shatterglass, but the edges can be quite absolute doddle. But then, we didn’t have was the only frequency available to us.
sharp. Now, overall, I wasn’t too bothered CGI, not even the earliest forms of it. So it “The maximum number of controls was

Name of feature

six channels on any one set, and we needed eight for me specially by 4QD, who build controls for Search Out Science, and Mike Tucker was my
or nine for K9. So we had to use one six channel electric wheelchairs, and the battery is a sealed lead assistant at the time. To cut a long story short, the
control, and a second four channel unit, both acid gel battery of the type that starts motorcycles, producers of the programme wanted to get a Dalek
working close together - which you never do. We and which will last all week on one charge. Nothing to present the programme, and at the production
broke all the rules about radio control stuff, about else has been solved in the dog, it’s still got no meeting, I looked at Mike, and Mike looked at me,
how and where you do it. But Ian got the guys suspension or anything, but those three main things because we knew that wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
from Slough Radio Control involved, and one of have been fixed.” “I said, ‘Look, have you asked Roger Hancock
them, Nigel Brackley was a radio control expert, (Terry Nation’s agent)?’ The producer said, ‘Oh, it’s
and so he did all the wiring up. K9 was still pretty NOT LIKE TRIGGER’S BROOM… for kids, I’m sure they’ll let us....’ Two days later, I
crude, but no-one was that bothered, because After K9 became part of the regular TARDIS crew, get a phone call - ‘They won’t let us use the Dalek.’
it was a one-off prop, for one story, and then we the Visual Effects Department were asked to So Mike and I suggested they use K9 instead,
could forget all about it. Then Tony heard a rumour make a second K9 prop, which was basically just and the producer thought that was a great idea.
that K9 might be kept on beyond the one story... a hollow, lightweight dummy, which could be The only trouble was that me and Mike were then
“So I had seen K9 being made. After it was pulled along on fishing wire on location, or could hoisted by our own petard, because we realised we
decided he was staying on the series, Tony be easily carried by actors. Even today, Mat isn’t didn’t know where K9 was!
Harding wanted to make some changes to the completely certain how many original K9 props “It turned out that the original K9 prop had
prop, but the producer of Doctor Who, Graham the BBC made. gone to the USA for a three-year tour on the
Williams, wouldn’t allow that, as K9 had now been “There was certainly the one working prop, and travelling Doctor Who exhibition trailer in the mid
established. So we couldn’t change the exterior, there was a lightweight one. I sometimes think that 1980s. The exhibition was a static display, so they
but we could change the interior, and that’s really there were two lightweight ones, but on reflection, could have used the dummy prop, but no, they’d
when I first became involved, because I knew a I’m sure there was just the one. There might have used the working one. So we tracked that down
little bit about radio control. been a spare head at one point.” One thing Mat and got the original body back. It still had got
“I probably only knew one more fact about radio can clarify, however, is the pedigree of the current the nodding head, and the motor for the various
control than anybody else in the department, but K9 prop. “The K9 Dog you now see on all BBC aerials was still inside it. But the chassis was
I was reasonably good at electronics, although programmes, whether it be classic Doctor Who, missing, where was that? Then I remembered that
not as good as one Effects Assistant, Charlie Pointless, The Weakest Link, Tomorrow’s World, one of my colleagues, Tony Oxley, had done a lot
Lumm, who was really an expert. But between the new Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures is of work for BBC Enterprises for the exhibitions, and
two of us, me and Charlie, we basically changed still the original prop that Tony designed in 1977. he’d re-worked the K9 prop for display. So we got
the mechanics of the prop as the series went on, It has new internal modifications, of course. And on to him, and we found the original K9 chassis in
because you couldn’t see what was under the the tail was re-made, because we were frequently his loft. So we re-united the parts.
chassis. So K9 went from being rear drive to front losing it. But, otherwise, it’s the same prop. It’s not “Me and Mike did all the work at my house. I
drive - I think we kept the motor the same. like Trigger’s broom... don’t quite know why - I think it was around the
“The speed controllers were always breaking, “The original lightweight prop became the rusty time the workshop was getting very, very crowded.
so Charlie built new speed controllers which version of K9 seen in the episode ‘School Reunion’. And so we got him back working, and he ended up
were a bit stronger, but even his ones broke. The The majority of the time you see that rusty dog, staying here. I thought if I took him back to the
battery packs changed. The radio control certainly the one that gets destroyed in the school, it is the BBC, and put him in the Visual Effects workshop
changed, which is where I came in. I changed it original dummy dog, but fitted out with a ‘fake’ store, a) they’d moan he was ‘taking-up space’,
from 27AM to 27FM - Amplitude Modulation to real interior. And, funnily enough, it runs on the b) they were always going around and clearing
Frequency Modulation - which made it a bit of a sort of chassis that the very first dog ran on, with out the store, and, c) I knew parts would be
cleaner signal. very, very small wheels, because all the workings cannibalised for other things. Mike also found the
“All the rumours about K9 crashing into had to be underneath the area you see on the original lightweight dummy prop, which was later
furniture in the studio, and interfering with the ‘fake’ real interior. The real K9 prop, the original adapted for the ‘School Reunion’ episode.
studio cameras, are absolutely correct. Because dog, turns up at the very end of the episode and “And then in 1999, I got a call from the prop
the cameras at that point had a lot of RF signals ‘walks’ off into the sunset with Sarah Jane. That buyer for a new Channel 4 programme called
floating around, and even though a TV studio is was the original K9, and I was controlling it.” Queer as Folk, which had been written by Russell
essentially a Faraday Cage, radio signals could So how did Mat end up becoming K9’s caretaker T Davies. The prop buyer wanted to know if the
leech in and out. But 27FM was a lot better, and and operator? “It all began in 1990, when I was original K9 prop still existed. I told him it did, and
eventually we moved to 40. And now, basically, asked to work on a School’s Programme called that it was sitting in the corner of my workshop,
he’s 2.4 Gigahertz - he’s Bluetooth! The radio and he asked to borrow it. I told him as
control is also locked worldwide. Probably long as he got clearance from the BBC,
GCHQ or the CIA could break into him, and the creators, Bob Baker and Dave
but otherwise I’ve got no problems with Martin, then yes, no problem. And so I
interference. went up and worked K9 for the filming of
“Ironically, the three original problems Queer as Folk. Russell T Davies, it turned
we had with the K9 prop are now resolved. out, was a fan of Doctor Who, and was
The batteries were always going flat, and it highly delighted, because he thought
caused a hell of a lot of problems to get them that one of the fan-built ones would
charged up in time without them melting. end up being used. But of course, he
The speed controller was always breaking, then knew that K9 still existed.
and we got interference on the radio control. “So when new Doctor Who started,”
Now K9 has a 2.4 Gigahertz Bluetooth Radio says Mat, with a huge grin, ‘well, the rest
Control, a Robot Wars speed controller built is history....”


Andrew Pixley
recalls the TV
adventures of The
Sentimental Agent,
aka Carlos Valera, a
suave Argentinian
businessman who
dispensed his own
brand of justice…

“Your other business interests. Would it be fair to
describe them as ‘elastic’?”
“More than fair.”

Carlos Thompson
as Carlos Varela,
with Diana Rigg
as Francy Wilde in
W ith a charming smile behind his elegant, long
cigar holder and a local currency bribe in
his inside pocket, charismatic import-export
agent Carlos Varela – President of Mercury International
– breezes into comical intrigue around the globe in a rare
departure for the familiar 1960s ITC adventure branding – a
‘A Very Desirable comedy-drama.
Plot,’ scripted by
Avengers man “In money matters you are always scrupulously honest,” “Haven’t we sent that back yet?” asks Carlos as he glimpses
Brian Clemens notes his friend Prince Mahmoud, and it is Carlos’ strong sense Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the Mercury warehouse,
of right on everything from moral responsibility to improving presumably in March 1963 as the iconic oil painting made
sloppy customer service that makes him a perfect accidental its way back to Paris from being on display in the USA.
hero under the appellation of The Sentimental Agent. Merchandise shipped by Mercury includes air conditioning,
“He has a certain charm,” concedes young Francy jasmine allergy remedies, tents, doorbells (sold to Arabs as
Wilde of the man who is possibly part of a con pulled on novelties for their tents), blankets, leather boots, film star
her retired father. And charm – plus bribes – gets Carlos photographs, cooking stoves, slot machines, roulette wheels,
effortlessly through most situations, from parking in illegal scotch, the work of Amedeo Modigliani, a 4½ litre 1920s
spaces to ensuring trade deals. Cool and confident, he can Bentley, cotton, rubber shoes, a magic memory course,
trick adversaries while they endanger his life and remains Webley revolvers plus an exclusive import licence on some
engagingly affable even when under threat. good brandy and some revolting ‘Good Morning’ coffee.
When flattery and schmooze are not enough, he fires The main office with its wall map tracking shipments
gentle warning shots of sarcasm and mockery. He’s smart – radiation outwards from the London base is the province
aware of listening devices in sensitive situations. And he’s fit of Carlos’ secretary, Miss Susie Carter (or Suzy – spellings
– he’d rather rely on charm and wits, but can handle himself vary). Miss Carter is ultra-efficient, frequently anticipating
in a fight when necessary. He’s also a crack shot with a requirements. Residing in a ‘Swedish Modern’ flat, Miss Carter
revolver and will threaten a miscreant with a live scorpion. has a firm understanding of how Carlos operates… and knows
Carlos’ key skill is getting people to do what he needs that if a young lady is involved, he will want her along for the
them to do. These persuasive powers encompass his sales adventure with him.
talents, still about to talk up everyday items as “magnificent” Carlos’ Chinese valet and chauffeur is Suma Chin Sun
as if pitching on a sidewalk, transforming the mundane in (meaning “Golden Age”), a judo expert… which he has
the exotic and acting as a dynamic auctioneer. And he can attempted to teach Carlos. Using the “wisdom of Orient”, Chin
use his powers of influence to generate mistrust against can play his boss while delivering useful Chinese proverbs
his adversaries. As a jet-setting bachelor who is often in the (some merely the musings of George Bernard Shaw) and
United States, a vaguely romantic approach to a woman like Carlos employs flattery as a hip vernacular. Immensely
involved in whatever events are surrounding him will often dexterous, he picks locks and pockets and conjures with
pay off successfully for Carlos; he flirts with influential ladies, cards. Chin too has extensive connections but via his family
can be caught removing lipstick from his face after a night – a nephew and a cousin both with sure-fire racing tips, a
out, and has gifts like South African orchids despatched to cousin who cooked for the Cyprus governor, another cousin
the previous evening’s companions. who is a croupier, a cousin-by-marriage who is chief steward
“Mr Varela knows all the right people”: Carlos’ contact book aboard the SS Albama and his Cousin Ling who is chief
includes the Yale-educated Prince Mahmoud of the Sheikdom mechanic to the Lotus Flower motor racing team.
of Al Dina, the Countess Rochefort (or “Lisa”) and Lady The valet has a perfect understanding of the etiquette of
Rosemary Graffham… but he’ll put a millionaire or Brussels a gentleman, covering everything from the Ascot culture to
bankers on hold to help a friend. the best buttonhole. An expert in champagne, he is also a
Carlos’ appearance is suave – often clad in cool white highly skilled driver. Often dressed in traditional Eastern garb,
suit fashioned by Willoughby of Savile Row, Parisian shirt, Chin is very image conscious and Carlos often spars with him
dark tie and light fedora, and sometime augmented against over his use of ‘pidgin English’ such as “Missy” or “Velly pletty
either equatorial sun or lingering hangovers by trendy lady”. However, this dialogue is purely a front. “He’s quite
wrap-around shades. He is a gourmet who can recognise paté capable of saying ‘Rolls Royce’ you know. But he thinks ‘Lolls
from Normandy, admires fine wine and is partial to a double Loyce’ makes him more inscrutable,” notes Carlos at one
brandy. History and architectures are also subsidiary hobbies. point, as Chin grins happily in agreement.
In America, Carlos took part in bombing raids in the Korean Made and broadcast in 1963, The Sentimental Agent grew
War. Over seven years he has built up Mercury International, out of a backdoor pilot in an earlier ITC film show entitled
initially trading with the kindly people of the small Greek isle Man of the World which had endured a troubled development.
Athos. This interaction taught him to respect local cultural Both shows were produced by Dubliner Harry Fine, a former
customs. Thus fees paid to mountain bandits are “a mark of actor who had become a casting director on film series such
respect” … never “protection”. as Adventures of a Big Man, HG Wells’ Invisible Man and
The main Mercury International premises are at the Pool of Danger Man before becoming associate producer on a new
London (telephone 6699) with a dockside warehouse – supervised ATV/ABC venture which entered production in March 1961 at
by Bill and Mac – and adjoining offices, plus Carlos’ bedroom Associated British Studios, Elstree. This was King of the Sea,
and the quarters of his factotum Chin. Other Mercury offices twenty-six swashbuckling escapades made by Transcon-
include Tangiers in Morocco and Athos in Greece with agents in tinental Film Productions… rapidly renamed Sir Francis Drake.
other territories such as Chicago in the USA plus dealings in Corfu Production of Sir Francis Drake wrapped in October 1961; a
in Greece, Nassau in the Bahamas, and Beirut in Lebanon. Sea month earlier it was announced that Fine would make Man of
freight and air express is insured by Truman-Jones of Turnball, the World. This was an attempt to revive an abortive ITC pilot
Bessing and Wiggins and the company reputation is built on – Sirocco, latterly Mr Riviera – made at MGM Borehamwood
one principle: “We always deliver freight undamaged.” However, in August 1960. The half-hour show starred American
Mercury is not a cheap outfit; Carlos remarks that “We’re not shy Charles Drake as photographer Neil McCrea, travelling the
when we come to billing our customers.” world aboard his yacht, the Sirocco. The series abandoned,

Images courtesy of Network Distributing INFINITY 53

Thompson to revive his role and reports
defining his base of operations as San
Francisco. Thompson arrived from his home
at Goldingen in St Gallen during March,
embarking on a series of transatlantic-fo-
cused publicity appearances around London
including the US Embassy on Grosvenor
Square, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square,
the Abraham Lincoln memorial in Parliament
Square, Berwick Street Market and the
appropriately named Carlos Place! As well
as being snapped at a fitting for his suits,
Thompson posed alongside a silver 1962 Aston
Martin demo vehicle for their DB4 series.
Born Juan Carlos Mundin-Schaffter Man of the World came to a premature
in Santa Fe, the good-looking end after twenty episodes, and was replaced
on the Shepperton sound stages from April
Thompson had planned to follow by its successor, made for ATV by Transcon-
his journalist father in being a tinental Films. Thirteen one-hour episodes
were initially scheduled, with Carlos Barella
writer, but a screen test suggested of Panama City becoming Carlos Varela of
by a friend concurrent with his the London-based Mercury International,
aided by Miss Susie Carter and Chin. The
studies at university in Buenos budget was set at around £22,500 per
Aires led him into acting in films episode, some £4000 less than Man of the
World. While Strait had enjoyed extensive
during the 1940s. continental location shoots, the cost-effec-
tive Carlos would largely see through the
world through a haze of library footage…
Above: McCrea’s sole escapade was screened by ATV journalist father in being a writer, but a Chin – originally called ‘Chin Chin’ and
Carlos with London in June 1962. screen test suggested by a friend concurrent described by Ian Stuart Black as ‘a sort of
Burt Kwouk and
Suzanna Leigh in Retooled as the one-hour show Man of with his studies at university in Buenos Limehouse “Jeeves”’ – was played by 32
‘Never Play Cards the World, ATV contracted another American Aires led him into acting in films during the year-old Burt Kwouk, a Chinese actor born in
with Strangers’
star to play photojournalist Michael Strait – 1940s. A meeting with star Yvonne de Carlo Warrington who had been raised in Shanghai
Opposite: Craig Stevens, star of the US gumshoe show at the Uruguay Film Festival in 1952 landed and studied in Maine in the USA before
Sue Lloyd and
Dennis Price in
Peter Gunn, whose name would theoretically him a lead role in the film Fort Algiers and abandoning a diplomatic career for an actor’s
‘The Height of generate lucrative US sales. Production of the soon he was under contract to MGM who life. Following roles in episodes of Danger
Fashion’ planned 26 episodes would be undertaken sent him to London to make Flame and Man, Kwouk had filmed an edition of Man of
by Pimlico Films at Shepperton Studios with the Flesh. However, as the 1950s wore on the World (The Frontier) the previous summer.
plans to shoot a colour pilot in Madrid from he turned his back on Hollywood, settling To play Miss Carter, the production team
January 1962… designs thrown into chaos by in Germany where he made numerous, recalled 26 year-old Australian actress
a strike by the actors’ union Equity. As with often romantic, comedies. In 1957 he Clemence Bettany who had featured as a
Sir Francis Drake, ITC’s Head of Production married Prussian actress Lilli Palmer who model in A Family Affair, a Man of the World
Leslie Harris – a former CBS President of had featured in Theatre Royal, a filmed shot in late 1962. A former secretary in
Sales – was executive producer, with Ian anthology distributed from 1955 by ITPC, the Sydney, Clemence had danced and modelled
Stuart Black – Danger Man’s associate antecedent of ATV’s distribution company before focusing on acting. By the late 1950s
producer and experienced on film series back ITC. The couple then settled in Switzerland. she had relocated to England and was
to Fabian of the Yard – as story editor. The Man of the World episode was a rare appearing in revues, rep, and had recently
Shooting finally resumed in April 1962. TV appearance for the former film star. It was featured in Associated-Rediffusion’s satire
The eighth episode – The Sentimental directed by Charles Frend, with composer show What the Public Wants.
Agent by Jack Davies filmed in August Ivor Slaney contributing a distinctive score Music for the new series was composed
– was structured as a ‘back door pilot’ to of Henry Mancini-like strings and a catchy largely by Ivor Slaney who had scored much
allow a new character to take centre-stage maraca beat conjuring up the charm and of Man of the World. Slaney revisited his
while Strait was incarcerated of-screen. mischief of Carlos Barella. ATV reacted backdoor pilot score for many melodies.
Imprisoned for snapping shots in an well to the episode; by late September Drawing upon the bossa nova beat – a
“unauthorised area” by Havana’s police, the trade press was reporting that one of samba/jazz blend emerging from Brazil in
Strait’s release is arranged by his assistant the company’s forthcoming film series recent years – Slaney developed the catchy
Miss MacFarlane who is put in contact with would be Sentimental Agent ‘based on an signature tune of ‘Carlos’ Theme’ which
an Argentinian businessman in Panama City: import-export house in Tangiers’. was recorded with vocal backing. Other
‘CARLOS BARELLA – Import-Export Merchant pre-existing cues were the work of Edwin
– PANAMA CITY & HAVANA’. The suave, ARRIVAL OF A HEART-THROB Astley who had contributed to ITC shows like
mischievous businessman has high-up Man of the World debuted on ITV at Danger Man. The first episode, Jazz Festival
friends in the new Cuban regime, keeping 7.25pm on Saturday 29 September 1962 (latterly All That Jazz), also included key plot
in with the authorities via bribes. Using while shooting continued – after another elements written by jazz composer Frank
currency, charm and daring, Carlos rescues a industrial dispute – with the twelfth episode Horrox; these and the theme were recorded
missing scientist and secures Strait’s release in November. The Sentimental Agent was on Wednesday 17 April.
prior to the group’s departure aboard one of screened in most areas on Saturday 3 Filming on The Sentimental Agent
his cargo ships. November, with the initial thirteen episode commenced on Sunday 21 April. The
With a quip even when threatened and run concluding just before Christmas. ‘Carlos show’s opening credits were shot as part
a handy hiding place for microfilm in his Thompson […] took the leading role of an of the minimal London footage filmed for
cigar holder, the romantic Carlos was a role import/export man and lent some panache the series. Carlos drove the loaned Aston
created for 39 year-old Argentine actor to an otherwise dull piece,’ noted Television Martin demonstrator across Tower Bridge,
Carlos Thompson. Born Juan Carlos Mun- Today on Thursday 8 November. arriving along Shad Thames to the Mercury
din-Schaffter in Santa Fe, the good-looking Production on Sentimental Agent was International warehouse where, upon
Thompson had planned to follow his confirmed in early March 1963 with Carlos alighting, his gaze was caught by a passing


lady; clad in his light suit, this matched perfectly CONTINENTAL INCIDENTS Strangers). When Carlos hears that the elderly
to his star-billing close-up abstracted from Man of The last seven editions of Man of the World Colonel and Mrs Dewar have been swindled out of
the World. Shots of a taxi at the docks turned up appeared rather haphazardly from Saturday 4 $2,000 by a pair of card sharps on a cruise aboard
in Meet My Son Henry and Not Quite Fully Covered. May, screened by ATV London in the later slot of the SS Albama booked via Mercury International,
Other footage of Carlos driving the Aston around 9.10pm. Meanwhile, the press confirmed that its he takes Chin and a copy of Cheating at Cards and
roads such as Queen Victoria Street and Great spin-off would air on ITV later that year. boards the cruise at Marseilles to take on Elmer
George Street later featured in Never Play Cards Julian Bond’s second script, The Beneficiary, Adams and his sister Mamie of Omaha at their
With Strangers. was directed by John Paddy Carstairs as a own game…
Initially, two directors were to alternate: Charles largely studio-bound affair with exteriors largely This is one of the best instalments, in which
Frend (who entered the industry in the 1940s and assembled from stock of Lisbon, Monaco, Madrid Chin steals many scenes, as Carlos and his cohorts
had worked on numerous film series including and Algeciras – again including material shot are always be one step ahead of the bad guys. The
Man of the World) and John Paddy Carstairs (a for Man of the World. This escapade in Lisbon episode – resolved by a Pan paperback edition of
movie writer/director since the 1930s who Ian Fleming’s Moonraker – featured minimal
after helming numerous Norman Wisdom location shooting with an establishing
comedies transitioned to film series via The shot of the Claude Gill bookshop on Oxford
Saint). Frend directed Jazz Festival written Street alongside lots of Mediterranean
by Julian Bond, a contributor to Man of the library footage.
World but best known for his work on ATV’s The fifth show, The Return of the Wanderer
Probation Officer and ABC’s Police Surgeon. (retitled May the Saints Preserve Us) was
Each adventure was scheduled for a nominal an excellent farce crafted by the 3rd
two week shoot. Baron Glenavy, Patrick Campbell – an Irish
The first filmed venture for Mercury humourist who had contributed odd scripts
International concerned the arrival of the to shows like The Avengers and Ghost Squad.
Arthur Rogers Modern Jazz Quartet in London Miss Sheila Connery wants to export Connery
for performances arranged by the ‘Friends Castle – the birthplace of her great-great-
of Progressive Culture’. Replete with hip great-grandad – from near Dundalk in Ireland
vocabulary as they bemoan their “kook” back to her home in Dallas, and her landing
arranger who “blew his stack”, the musicians with Carlos at Dublin airport coincides with
are immediately held as undesirable aliens the arrival of Sylvester O’Toole, a Brendan
by the MI5 and immigration because they Behan-style alcoholic Irish playwright who
are somehow involved in the trafficking of has been deported to Ireland the week before
US secrets … something which the cool cats his new play opens in London’s West End. A
concerned are unaware of. With the group complex tale of misunderstandings ensues,
released into his custody, Carlos’ musical skills involving a plot to blow up General de Gaulle,
reveal Pentagon data being relayed by the the law-breaking activities of the League of
vibes melody and decoded on a specially retuned commences when Carlos receives an envelope Irish Writers, and an illicit still apparently being
1781 clavichord. containing “short-snorter”, half of a $100 operated close to the border at the supposedly
The episode saw location filming at London occupation bill from the Korean war days – this cursed castle. The show benefited from outdoor
(now Heathrow) airport, augmented by stock informs him that his old bomber crew buddy filming – using Littleton Park’s gazebo and a
footage of the Beaulieu jazz festival and Osterley Richard Farell is in trouble… moments before second unit shoot at Donnington Castle in Newbury
Park in Isleworth (from Man of the World’s Portrait Farell is fatally shot. Arriving in the Portuguese – augmented by the usual library material.
of a Girl). A Shepperton stage exterior was dressed capital, Carlos is bemused when everyone from Film producer Jack Davies – who originated
as the ‘other’ entrance to the Mercury warehouse casino owner Anna Lindl through to Colonel Vasco Carlos in Man of the World – penned Scroll of
which would feature regularly in the series, while da Gama Santos knows who he is … and that Islam, directed by Carstairs, his old associate
a backlot featured in a kidnapping scene. The he must be after the contents of Farell’s safety from numerous Norman Wisdom flicks. In this,
seventeenth century manor of Littleton Park deposit box which are somehow connected with Americans Professor Steven Fletcher and Mr
House in the studio grounds became the backdrop a metallurgical process pertaining to lasers. With Ed Shaw purporting to represent the Institute
to the tale’s concluding festival. echoes of The Maltese Falcon, Carlos encounters of Archaeological Research Foundation at a US
“We are introducing new talent. This is a the cummerbunded Baron Klaus and the university, request that Carlos uses his influence
deliberate policy to give viewers the chance to see incompetent allergy-suffering embassy attaché with the insular Moroccan Sheikdom of Al Dina to
fresh players and to give important opportunities Henry Rattan. allow them to photograph a sacred Mohammedan
to unknowns,” declared Harry Fine of the series’ Australian novelist and BBC thriller writer scroll from 2300 BC to decipher its hieroglyphics…
casting. Indeed later episodes would carry a Lindsay Hardy had written the debut episode but actually to plan its theft.
formal ‘introducing’ credit for newcomers Stephen of Man of the World and now offered the deft With second unit filming of a helicopter at some
Loegering (who apparently never appeared again), railway farce of Express Delivery, which featured sandpits, the Al Dina terrain was evoked with
Susan Clark, Carol Cleveland, Sue Lloyd, Annette only Carlos of the regular cast. Location work at varying quality library footage of Cairo and
André and – most notably – Diana Rigg. Chobham Common saw Carlos driving an Alfa its surroundings.
This opening show immediately demonstrates Romeo Guilia 1600 Spider, with other inserts shot A third director joined the team in July to stand
the format at its best. The dialogue sparkles, at Royal Windsor Station and augmented by stock in for Charles Frend on A Little Sweetness and
allowing Carlos to exude charm contrasting to the depicting Waterloo Station and Vienna. Light; former actor Harold French had entered
eccentricities around him and engage in interplay In Express Delivery, Carlos is opening up movie production in the late 1930s and was new
with Chin. While English was not Thompson’s East-West trade at a Warsaw trade fair but to TV films. Written by Tudor Gates – who had
native language, his command of it is perfect, runs into trouble on the border near Waldov, contributed to Sir Francis Drake and Man of the
with exquisite comic timing. There is also the first becoming the innocent cover for an overly World – this saw the Mercury trio fully working
of numerous comical characters encountered by complicated defection-cum-espionage-cum-dou- together for the first time, investigating the death
Carlos – in this case Tony Quinn as a luckless Irish ble-cross-scheme surrounding one Katrina of the company’s local agent on the Greek island
piano tuner horrified at being asked by Carlos Sikorski whom both the Polish authorities and US of Athos – a territory dominated by a gangster
to de-tune a Steinway. Slaney’s rich score of intelligence want to reach Vienna on the Vienna called Mr Patrides – a rude, swaggering, sly,
cascading strings and soulful Gershwin-like brass Express. With his car impounded on a trumped-up arrogant bully who is simply asking to be taken
adds an exotic atmosphere, enhanced by stylish charge, Carlos accompanies Miss Sikorski in down by the Mercury team. Pre-credits were
scene transitions (such as fan-like wipes in Meet a cramped compartment also inhabited by a introduced for this episode which employed
My Son Henry). The animated closing credits take Russian Red Army captain, a sinister trenchcoated Algeciras footage from the Man of the World
the Man of the World shot of Valera, warping and man and a burping, gun-packing Jesuit priest. episode Blaze of Glory along with similar stock of
distorting it in a rather disturbing manner as it Shooting from early June was Julian Bond’s Hydra and Athens plus limited location work on
flips around aside the cast and crew listings. Redouble and Quits (latterly Never Play Cards With Squire’s Bridge Road in Shepperton.

Andrew Pixley

Journalist Tony Gruner had heard ‘excellent Carlos with Miss as her ‘going away outfit’ at the forthcoming
Carter, his ultra-
reports’ about The Sentimental Agent when efficient secretary
Wedding of the Year.
writing in Kinematograph Weekly (11 July 1963); played by With Bill taking over, the comedy became
word was that the ‘scripts are a hundred per Clemence Bettany broader… and despite his ongoing romance with
cent better than any other ITC show and that in Susie Carter it was clear that he would happily
Thompson, ITC has a great television star.’ Things wine and dine any other attractive lady as well.
were looking good for the show, and so the seventh The opening credits were revised to replace Carlos’
episode appeared to be created as another close-up with a new billing telling viewers that the
‘backdoor pilot’. subsequent show was ‘This Week Starring John
Taking on the bulk of the narrative after the Turner’ while the disturbing animated Carlos was
opening scenes was a European manager by replaced in the final reel with a background of Tower
the name of William (‘Bill’) J Randall. Bill was Bridge. Meanwhile, Diana Lancaster recounted her
played with transatlantic tones by 30 year-old meeting with Carlos Thompson at Shepperton for
Londoner John Turner, a RADA-trained star of the ZING went the strings of my heart in the TV Times
Shakespearean stage who had made his mark on (22-28 September 1963). ‘I can now tell you he’s
television as adventurer Adam Knight in Granada’s the Most Unassuming Guy In The World, even if he
Knight Errant ’59 and more recently played the does have the devastating effect of a Force 9 gale,’
Cockney layabout title character of BBC TV’s she wrote, recounting how the actor saw himself
Corrigan Blake. as “a loneist”, happy in seclusion in his mountain
Future Randall
Bill accompanied Miss Crater on the latest and Hopkirk star
home. Later that week, on Friday 27, Ivor Slaney’s
Mercury assignment in Lindsay Hardy’s script, Annette Andre in recording of ‘The Carlos Theme’ was released by
Meet My Son Henry, a fun road-trip in which the ‘Finishing School’ HMV the day before the show debuted.
pair flirted with each other while escorting the While The Sentimental Agent made its debut on
bookish, bespectacled American schoolboy genius the ITV network on Saturday 28 September, it did so
Henry Peabody Jr from London to Lausanne. The at different times. Most stations opted for 7.15pm,
plot also involved the theft of air compressor while in the south ATV London placed it at 7.30pm
blueprints from the Space Development for relay to Southern, Westward and Channel.
Corporation, and their secretion by a generally Grampian and STV were still airing new episodes of
incompetent gang in the pages of the obsolete Man of the World at 8.55pm… while later that night
mathematics volume Basic Calculus by PH Bardell the country could tune into the return of ABC’s
which is left in a bookstore for collection by a The Avengers starring Patrick Macnee and Honor
contact posing as a customer. Junior buys the book Blackman. Carlos’ early adventures were scheduled
first, and a chase across to the continent ensues … in production order, commencing with All That Jazz.
Specially filmed footage of the bookshop in While Steed and Mrs Gale made the TAM Network
London’s St Martin’s Court plus the Dorchester Top 20 for the week, the same wasn’t true for Carlos
Hotel in Park Lane standing in for Imperial who was scheduled against the popular western
Towers was undertaken, along with travelling Wells Fargo on the BBC.
shots around Richmond-upon-Thames, while the At Shepperton, production continued with
grounds of Shepperton posed as a French eatery Finishing School, another script from the Lambdas
and the international flavour was augmented by directed by Harry Fine himself. The catalyst for
Parisian stock. John Glyn-Jones made a second on The Sentimental Agent was temporarily this tale was the apparent kidnapping of Betsy
appearance as a prissy bookstore manager, suspended… with nine of the initial thirteen Ann Duren, the daughter of a Texas Oil Man, and
reprising his role from Redouble and Quits. episodes filmed and the ITV debut just weeks demands for a paltry £2000 ransom from the
away. In the build up to the new season, the first Graffham Park Finishing School For Young Ladies
AN UNDESIRABLE ILLNESS commercial recording of ‘Carlos’ Theme’ appeared of which Carlos was governor. With Carlos in New
At the end of July, ATV announced that The from Humphrey Lyttelton on the Columbia label at York, Bill was now living in Carlos’ apartment
Sentimental Agent would air at 7.30pm on the end of the month. and looked into the incident with Chin’s help.
Saturdays as part of their autumn line-up. The The romantic misadventure saw another dubious
next show into production was A Very Desirable NEW BROOM dalliance for Bill with schoolgirl Philippa Brown
Plot by Brian Clemens, a contributor to Sir Francis With Thompson indisposed, the series was who – in a nice tie-up to the preceding episode
Drake and Man of the World who had cut his teeth revamped to complete its commitment, and John – owed money to the Victor Frey fashion house.
on Danziger shows such as Mark Saber. This was Turner was quickly reintroduced as Bill Randall Hand-me-down Man of the World footage of
helmed by Harry Booth, a former editor who had in mid-September. The next script, The Height Brands Hatch motor racing circuit (from Blaze
graduated via second unit duties to direct five of Fashion, was written by Peter Lambda – a of Glory) and Oatlands Park Hotel (from The
examples of Man of the World. contributor to shows as diverse as Probation Officer Runaways) augmented the location shoots close
A Very Desirable Plot sums up Clemens’ fine and Granada’s sitcom Bootsie and Snudge – in to the studios at Squire’s Bridge Road and St Mary
script, in which Carlos’ entirely innocent actions conjunction with his wife, actress Betty Paul. Magdalene’s church in Littleton.
are misread as something more sinister by the Charles Frend returned to direct the show (with With an audience of just under five million
bad guys… and thus turn into a ‘con’ that Sergeant the pre-credits now abandoned) which included a homes, The Beneficiary was the twentieth most
Bilko would have been proud of. The dubious fashion shoot staged around London in venues such watched show of the week when it aired on
Robert Lamont of the Trade Winds Construction as Victoria Tower Gardens and St James’ Palace. Saturday 5 October. The reviewer ‘Otta’ of Variety
Corp has sold building land in Nassau with In The Height of Fashion, Carlos is away in delivered a verdict on All That Jazz on Wednesday 9
Mercury offering to erect prefab houses as the US and has left Miss Carter in charge; she is October noting that Thompson ‘was more dashing
retirement homes… with Lamont using Mercury’s delighted when Bill turns up to continue their in his looks than his gabbing. He played it cool,
name on the brochure without permission. When romance. Bill then takes charge of a warehouse and, at first, seemed to throw too many lines away,
the land turns out to be too swampy to build on, crisis when 30,000 specially made blankets for but the quiet irony became quite fetching before
the investors will lose their life savings and Carlos the small horses of Transturkemania’s cavalry are the end.’ Although the tale was ‘highly improbable’
will be unable to sell the prefabs. Carlos summons returned by a new regime which has dissolved and hampered by ‘beat lingo’ the ‘production was
both academic Alfie Prentice of Houston and Chin the regiment. elegant [and] direction competent’.
– playing a businessman from Trinidad – and goes Unable to offload the unwanted equestrian Express Delivery failed to make the TV charts on
to great lengths to buy the ‘useless’ land … gear, Bill markets them as high fashion, entering Saturday 12 October, but scraped a review from
Then, in late August, Carlos Thompson was a partnership with model Jackie Frazer to promote Ursula Powys in Television Today (17 October). Film
taken ill. Returning to Switzerland, he was the ‘South American Poncho Ranch Coat’ by series were not beloved by the journal’s critics ;
admitted to a nursing home and production having one worn by a female royal personage she had guessed the twist of the ‘impossible story’.


William Sylvester
‘One doesn’t deny that this type of play appeals to in the ‘Scroll of
substituting much dash and fire.
a section of the viewing public, but need the plot Islam’ episode ‘Carlos’ Theme’ proved very popular, being
be so excessively complex, and couldn’t we have published by the Robbins Music Corporation as
some suspense somewhere?’ she asked. sheet music with Carlos adorning the orange cover
Meanwhile, the twelfth episode was Not of Theme from ‘Sentimental Agent’ Carlos’ Theme.
Quite Fully Covered, a script by Leslie Harris in Cover versions followed from Johnny Keating
association with Roger East who also adapted via Piccadilly (adopted as the theme to Radio
tales for the BBC’s detective show Maigret. Set in Invicta’s Pot Luck) in January 1964, while lyrics
March 1964, Bill was now “regularly employed” were added for jazz singer Joy Marshall’s recording
and had recently joined Mercury to take charge of entitled ‘When You Hold Me Tight’ from Decca in
its Mediterranean Division while Carlos was away. March 1964. Ivor Slaney’s theme won the Year’s
Charles Frend directed the largely studio bound Outstanding Orchestral/Instrumental Composition
episode drawing upon library footage of Beirut and Award at the Ivor Novello Awards in late April and
an establishing shot of Apsley House on London’s was followed by Columbia recordings from Manuel
Finchley Road. The purchase of a rug sought and the Music of the Mountains on the Columbia
by Carlos at the start of Not Quite Fully Covered LP Mountain Fiesta! and Judd Solo and the
gets Bill tied up with the transporting of missing Italiano Quartetto on From The London Hilton.
art treasures on a visit to Beirut. The priceless April 1964 saw the start of repeat runs on a
collection of French antiques and furniture was split with the Midlands area shifting The regional basis, kicking off on Sunday afternoons in
assembled the late Constantine Bassiliades had Sentimental Agent to 6.35pm – swapping places the Grampian area, returning to London at 2.35pm
been confiscated by the Georgian government with Comedy Bandbox. John Turner’s debut on Sundays from the start of July. By now, it was
but had been smuggled to Beirut by his daughter, failed to chart. Production wrapped on Friday 8 airing in Australia, followed soon after by Canada
Nikola, who is now struggling with the expensive November, and the next day A Little Sweetness and (in French as Ce Sentimental M Varela) and then
problem of insuring the supposedly non-existent Light saw Carlos return in the tenth-most watched the USA. In March 1965, ITC also offered North
items for shipping to a territory where they can show of the week thanks to almost seven million America ten ‘full-length action-adventure feature
be auctioned off. Sensing a good slice of lucrative homes… and the scheduling of the British Legion films’ assembled from episodes of Man of the
action by knowingly under-insuring the items, Festival of Remembrance on the BBC. Ratings were World and The Sentimental Agent.
Bill is drawn into an insurance con being operated back to 5.7 million and seventeenth position for ‘Carlos’ Theme’ was further covered by James
by Nikki and her cohorts. An estimated 5.4 million Bill’s The House of Fashion the following weekend Wright and his Orchestra on the Embassy LP Top
households took Never Play Cards With Strangers – despite the TV Times promoting the episode TV Themes and the Capitol Showband on Pye’s The
into the sixteenth position nationally on Saturday somewhat misleadingly with a billing topped by Many Faces of Ireland’s Capitol Showband in 1965,
19 October. May the Saints Preserve Us then netted the absentee Carlos and a photo of the missing and in 1968 by the Les Reed Sound on Deram’s
5.5 million homes on Saturday 26 October, securing star with Clemence Bettany from The Beneficiary. New Dimensions. Off-peak ITV reruns continued,
twentieth place in the charts. ‘Pretty poor stuff’ was the verdict of Television concluding a few months before the launch of
Today critic ‘Silentio’ on Thursday 21 November a commercial colour service with a late night
IT’S A WRAP as they condemned the ‘light-hearted story of Saturday rerun by ATV – now operating in the
Ian Stuart Black assembled a wrap-up script skulduggery in the fashion world’ as ‘slow and Midlands – from February to August 1969.
entitled Bribery and Corruption (latterly A Box corny’ saved only by John Turner. Carlos Thompson only made one further film,
of Tricks) directed by Harold French with further Westward and Channel took the 7.15pm the French romcom La Vie de Château, shot in
use of the Algeciras stock plus limited exteriors feed from A Very Desirable Plot on Saturday summer 1965. Instead, he turned to writing
at Littleton Park House and Chobham Common. 23 November, with the Bahamas con ranking and dedicated two years to researching The
‘Starring Carlos Thompson and John Turner’ twentieth via 5.8 million homes. The next issue Assassination of Winston Churchill, a 1969 work
promised the opening credits of the instalment, of the TV Times promoted Finishing School via in which he refuted suggestions made about the
carefully assembled around the availability of Diana Lancaster’s chat to jazz-loving John Turner late wartime Prime Minister. Thompson never
footage depicting Carlos from the Man of the World at Shepperton in That Other Sentimental Agent… recovered after Lilli Palmer’s death from cancer
episode (augmented by dockside double shots and (24-30 November). With ABC again unified at in January 1986; he shot himself in the head in
Sheree Winton superimposed over Shirley Eaton 7.15pm, this attracted an audience of 5.9 million, Buenos Aires in October 1990. John Turner’s acting
for the opening scene) plus inserts of the Mercury equivalent to The Avengers in joint fifteenth career continued to the 1990s with appearances
executive on the phone from Scroll of Islam which place. By the end of November, it was clear that in series such as Nana, Lorna Doone and Jeeves
could be intercut with the show’s coda. regardless of Carlos Thompson’s health, The and Wooster, while Clemence Bettany moved onto
With Carlos departing London aboard an oil Sentimental Agent would not be returning. A the BBC sitcom Marriage Lines before departing
tanker, it is up to “junior partner” Bill to aid the Canadian sponsor had expressed interest in an acting to teach dance and physical education in
work of the Dollars For Europe Development Trust hour-long revamp of Danger Man which ATV hoped London and writing books on this subject as well
Fund which will finance an electrical scheme for to sell to CBS; this would be made by Pimlico Films as the D’Oyley Carte Opera Company. Burt Kwouk
the country of Palabria and inject eleven million at MGM Borehamwood and involve many of the became world famous as Cato in the Pink Panther
pounds into the economy – a venture which will crew from the Transcontinental series after Harry comedy films as well as working on series such as
ultimately benefit Mercury. However, Palabrian Fine’s next series, The Further Adventures of Tom Tenko and Last of the Summer Wine prior to his
customs dictate “individual percentages” to Jones, failed to enter production. death in May 2015.
the deciding committee … and while Bill has Scroll of Islam, Not Quite Fully Covered and A Unavailable to view for many years, The
thousands of dollars to give away for this very Box of Tricks all failed to enter the TAM charts as Sentimental Agent was released as a four disc
purpose, the country steadfastly refuses this the series continued up to Saturday 21 December DVD set by Network in May 2010, following on
because the committee is currently under the – Scroll of Islam was hampered from the issue of Man of the World
scrutiny of Signor Dali, a ministerial inspector on by BBC TV’s It’s the Beatles! at the previous July. The full set is still
the look-out for back-handers. 8.10pm and the slot was effectively available. Often forgotten alongside
Following the brilliantly structured pay-off, a handed over to the return of ATV’s the likes of Simon Templar and John
delighted Bill phones Susie back in London where Victorian detective Sergeant Cork. Drake, Carlos Varela’s short tenure
(despite his various dalliances) she declares ‘Otta’ tuned in for The Height of as the head of Mercury International
that she loves him. “I’ve got a very important Fashion, telling readers of Variety offered much delight and laughter,
partnership to propose,” says the delighted Bill, (25 December 1963) that the show served up in an elegant cocktail of
as the credits roll on the final venture for The was ‘a neat example of making the charm and misadventure.
Sentimental Agent. best of a bad job’; Turner ‘lacked
To seed Bill with the viewers at an early the glamorous gimmicks and With thanks to Julie Rogers,
juncture, Meet My Son Henry aired on Saturday missed out on the panache’ but Anthony McKay, Steve Rogers
2 November; from this weekend, the ABC region ‘could hardly be blamed for not and Anneke Wills

Images courtesy of Network Distributing

t usually went – Space Patrol had returned!

something like this: Produced in 1962 in association with
two grown adults the ITV franchise ABC (Associated British
are talking about Corporation) as 39, 25-minute black and
the TV shows white films, Space Patrol (retitled Planet
they loved as Patrol in the US to avoid confusion with a
kids in the 1960s. 1950s show of the same name) was the latest
Sooner or later, and most ambitious puppet concept from
having covered all the prolific novelist turned-TV producer,
the usual suspects Roberta Leigh. Today, rather unfairly, she is
(Gerry Anderson, Land best known for her pivotal role in launching
of the Giants, Hanna the careers of Thunderbirds legend Gerry
Barbara, Doctor Who et al) one Anderson and his partners at AP Films, who
would say to the other: “Do you remember she hired to make the first two of her series,
Above: Space Patrol? It was sort of like Fireball XL5, The Adventures of Twizzle and Torchy the
Captain Dart
and the Space
same sort of puppets. And it had this weird Battery Boy. A one-woman media magnet,
Patrol crew., spinning spaceship that sounded like this Leigh authored a mountain of romantic
including their (hums a very strange melody). Or did I just novels and children’s books, created and
garrulous pet
Martian “parrot” dream it?” produced eight television series for children,
(a Gabblerdictum At this point, one of two things would was an award-winning documentary
bird). The only
music involved happen. The other adult would either smile filmmaker and even wrote and narrated a
in the series was nervously and begin backing very slowly merchandise and a few Super-8 films, the ground-breaking sex education LP under the
the theme being
away with one eye trained on the exit. Or, show really did seem to have disappeared banner ‘The Wonderful Story of How You Were
made by Roberta more positively, their eyes would suddenly behind the rings of Saturn. Negatives of the Born’ (“the record that solves the problem of
Leigh herself light up, their brow would furrow, and from original 35mm episodes hadn’t been archived answering your child’s questions about sex”).
using electronic
equipment she somewhere deep in their childhood memory for safe keeping as so many other filmed When AP Films parted ways with Leigh
bought from the following words would escape their lips: series were. It seemed that this fascinating following the first series of Torchy (the
a local store
after asking an
“Gamma rays…ON, Yobba rays…ON!” mash-up of sophisticated puppetry, hard second series was produced by Pathé),
assistant for Between its final screening in 1968 and science, classic SF design and remarkably Leigh gained a business partner in Arthur
anything that rediscovery 30 years later, Space Patrol’s off-colour humour was destined to live on Provis (the ‘P’ in AP Films) who jumped
made interesting
noises! Yobba rays remained resolutely off, only in hazy, alcohol-fuelled conversations ship to her company National Interest
leaving a generation of 60s kids seriously until one day in 1997, out of the blue, a Pictures, considering it to be a more viable
doubting their own sanity. What was that complete set of 16mm prints turned up in long-term business prospect than Gerry
strange puppet show? Bar a tiny amount of the garage of its creator. Miracles can happen Anderson. Provis’s partnership with Leigh



Michael Coldwell joins Capt. Dart, Slim and Husky as they patrol
the solar system in their Galasphere 347!
proved very fruitful, but he could never
have imagined that within a few years they
would be making a series largely inspired by
the successful puppet sci-fi formula of his
erstwhile partner.

First broadcast in the UK on Sunday, 7 April
1963, Space Patrol is the story of the crew
of Galasphere 347, one a fleet of ships in
the service of Space Patrol, military wing of
the United Galactic Organisation (UGO), a
tri-planetary peacekeeping force comprising
operatives from Earth, Mars and Venus.
Star of the show is the heroically bearded
Captain Larry Dart, who was voiced by
UK-based American actor and satirist Dick
Vosburgh. With him are Slim, an elfin,
squeaky-voiced Venusian and Husky the
Martian, he of the “Gamma Rays on…” patter.
Slim and Husky were both voiced by the
actor Ronnie Stevens who also provided the
eccentric ‘Orish’ lilt of Earth-based scientific
genius Doctor Haggarty who is much prone
to shouting “Don’t call me Pop!” every time
we meet him, the dotty old fool.
In charge at New York HQ is Control-
ler-in-Chief Colonel Raeburn, very much in the
Gerry Anderson style of square-jawed bosses, fairy-tale quality, but there was something species, the crew would dial into a special Above:
Roberta Leigh
voiced by the Canadian actor Murray Cash. very Anderson-esque in its multi-purpose translating device. Kids were impressed: here and some of
Raeburn has a slinky, tiny-handed Venusian ability to roam underwater as easily as it was a space show that sort of made sense her puppet
assistant named Marla, who looks suspiciously sped into space. When it came to the science (accepting the talking space parrot). creations.
She also
like Slim in a platinum blonde wig and isn’t of space travel, Leigh instilled a remarkable Given this degree of futuristic veracity, it created Sara
averse to throwing her boss’s tea-ordering degree of authenticity into the series. Every was no surprise to discover Roberta Leigh had and Hoppity
(1962-63), a
sexism back in his face (“On Venus, there is no time they take off, the crew undergo a enlisted some expert advice, as she explained 50-episode
such thing as a dumb blonde!”). decontamination process to protect other to The Stage and Television Today in January television series
Marla was voiced first by Murray Cash’s species from their potentially harmful 1964: “Oh yes, everything is completely about a little
girl and her
wife Libby Morris and in later episodes Earth germs. The Galasphere’s ‘Meson accurate, as far as anyone can possibly know, mischievous
by radio legend Ysanne Churchman, then Power’ Interplanetary Overdrive engines because we have Colin Ronan, Vice-President doll with one leg
shorter than the
famous as diseased Grace Archer in The sounded fantastical (and suspiciously like of the British Astronomical Society, as our other
Archers and later known to Doctor Who fans the inspiration for the 1967 Pink Floyd hit scientific adviser. I postulate certain theories
as the voice of big-eyed alien Alpha Centuri ‘Interstellar Overdrive’) but took inspiration and he decides whether they are possible or
in the Pertwee and Capaldi eras. Libby from real, hadronic subatomic particles that not. I believe in making everything scien-
Morris also voiced the obligatory cute alien transmit a nuclear force. tifically accurate, because I’m sure you can
creature in the form of Husky’s pet Martian Long-distance travel to outlying planets make a series interesting while at the same
sort-of-parrot Gabbler (of the ‘Gabberdictum’ like Neptune or Pluto necessitated the 347 time leading children to absorb facts.”
species), who frequently becomes very crew to lay down in a spooky cryogenic Great TV title sequences were breaking
flustered and flies just above the ground, sleeping chamber, soon to be de-rigueur out like hives in the 1960s and Space Patrol
waving his little wings ferociously. thanks to the movies Planet of the Apes was no different. We open on a close-up of
Each week, the Galasphere crew journeyed and 2001: A Space Odyssey (both 1968) a very angry looking, beautifully animated
within our solar system on a variety of but making a pioneering appearance right sun, accompanied by a cacophonous roar of
dangerous missions, fearlessly upholding here on UK kids telly. Once the crew were distorted noise strange enough to cause Dad
the peace on behalf of the UGO’s proto-Star asleep, a team of highly-skilled not-at-all to lunge across the sitting room and yank
Trek federation of planets. The Galasphere’s paranoid robots took over operation of the the volume knob off the TV. A cross-fade
spinning-top design gave it an almost ship and when communicating with alien to Saturn is accompanied by the haunting,

guardians of peace.” convinced that manual mouth operation
Although necessitated by budget, the also added a greater level of character to her
sparse electronic soundscapes of Space puppet cast, explaining to TV Times in April
Patrol were a unique and memorable part 1963: “Machines and electronic devices are
of its off-kilter personality. While Fireball wonderful aids, but they just don’t work with
XL5 was zooming spaceward to the heroic, the mouth. They give a movement that is too
widescreen orchestrations of composer repetitive and automatic looking””
Barry Gray, Space Patrol, with its clanging, By 1962, Gerry Anderson was evolving a
industrial drumbeats and other-worldly ‘house-style’ for puppet movement, a set
electric melodies embraced musique of rules that was rarely transgressed in an
concrète. In fact, it is believed to be the first effort to make characters appear to move as
UK television series to use an all-electron- realistically as possible. Under the direction
ic score - its first episode screening seven of established puppeteering duo Heather
months ahead of the much-vaunted Delia and Martin Grainger, Space Patrol took a far
Derbyshire arrangement of the Doctor Who more dynamic and adventurous approach:
theme. The music was entirely dreamed up you were never sure what the puppets were
by the ever-resourceful Roberta Leigh who going to do. Walking was generally far
sung, whistled and hummed it to electronic better accomplished than at AP Films and
music pioneer Frederick Judd, who then puppets were also seen running around
recorded an interpretation of what he’d heard. and fist-fighting. Even Husky’s pet Martian
bird Gabbler wades into the fray, taking
SPOOKY SPACE DOLLS down a three-eyed space cat by using a
The puppets of Space Patrol were a step up bum-rushing technique later perfected by
in quality from Roberta Leigh’s previous English football hooligans. All in all, it made
series Sara and Hoppity, while not quite for a refreshing and less inhibited style of
matching the visual finesse of Steve Zodiac puppetry from a production team clearly less
and crew in Fireball XL5. They do look very hung-up on achieving ‘realism’.
familiar, however, and it’s easy to imagine Because Space Patrol was Leigh’s first
how viewers back in 1963 must have foray into futuristic science fiction (if
assumed Larry Dart and friends were yet you discount Torchy’s sparkler-powered
another Anderson cohort, so similar was spaceship), they needed to ‘crew-up’ from
the caricatured facial style, the ‘big head’ scratch in key departments. This put them
proportions, even their uniforms and the jet very much on the back foot compared to
bikes they rode about on. Fireball XL5, which retained the talent of
Mouth movements were achieved through Derek Meddings’ fast-evolving SFX unit
activation of an electronic mechanism in and a host of other talented technicians.
This page: four-note series signature ‘theme’ as the the body of the puppet, with exact syn- Undaunted, Leigh enlisted the services of
A Space Patrol
comic and more
Galasphere 347 flickers into view, blurred chronisation to the pre-recorded dialogue a mostly-young crew who would go on to
images from like a spinning top within its gyroscopic axis. controlled manually by the crew using have distinguished careers in film and TV.
the show. It was A cymbal crash heralds the title card which a remote control trigger. It is usually Model-maker Derek Freeborn would later
believed that
the entire series zooms out like a left hook. We then move on assumed that Gerry Anderson’s ‘Super- work on Alien and become the UK’s go-to
had been lost, to that luxury item of 1960s UK genre telly: marionation’ process improved on this by man for miniature museum exhibits; Film
but in 1997, after
Roberta Leigh
the secondary title sequence (see also: The having dialogue automatically translated Editor Roy Hyde became a Hammer films
was approached Prisoner, The Champions, Captain Scarlet into pulses down the supporting puppet veteran; second Film Editor Len Walter and
about a possible and UFO). To a montage of views across a wires into the head. But in reality, it was a soundman John Beaton would go on to work
DVD release,
she found a rather lovely model of futuristic New York deeply unreliable system prone to frequent for Gerry Anderson’s re-named Century 21
complete set and further, pulsing metal machine music, failure, meaning that on many occasions, to studios on the cream of their later output;
of 16mm prints
which she had a strident American voiceover intones: keep the production of shows on schedule, Lead puppeteers Martin and Heather
stored away in a “This is Earth. The year 2100. This is the pre-recorded dialogue would be manually Grainger had performed a highly-celebrated
lockup decades
earlier and
headquarters of Space Patrol, and men from ‘keyed in’ by the Anderson crew in the same puppet cabaret since the 1950s and their
forgotten Earth, Mars and Venus live and work there as manner as Space Patrol. Roberta Leigh was colleague on the gantry Joan Garrick later

worked on Jim Henson’s The Great Muppet
Caper, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. By
way of a contrast, the wonderful repository
of information that is Shaqui le Vesconte’s
Space Patrol website reveals that script
assistant Denise Kaye wrote the screenplay
for the 1958 nudie flick Nudist Paradise.
Variety is the spice of life!
The quality of special effects in Space
Patrol vary wildly. Many of them were
remarkable for their time and easily the
equal of anything seen in Fireball XL5;
the all-important Galasphere in-flight
shots were very effectively achieved
using a combination models and, for the
title sequence, 2D cut-outs on a space
background (a technique later employed
for the title sequence to the BBC’s Blake’s
7). The optical addition of the Galasphere’s
trademark ‘spinning top’ gyro makes for a Goulding, fresh from Leigh’s previous series shots when a dramatic close-up or dynamic This page:
disarming effect that was arguably more Sara and Hoppity, was the sole director. camera movement is required. He also has a Another rare
colour image
successful than a number of the XL5 space According to Roberta Leigh, all of the tendency to use high angles on the puppets, from the show
model shots which were, at this stage in Galasphere interior sequences for the entire fundamentally undermining our ability to and the kind of
Derek Meddings’ learning curve, still prone to run of 39 films were shot in one go in order suspend disbelief. promotion
visible wires and wobbling. to save the cost of reconstructing the ship’s Roberta Leigh’s plots are breezily you certainly
wouldn’t get
More ambitious was the United Galactic Flash Gordon-influenced interior, which was engaging, making good use of the 18 or so these days.
Organisation HQ and New York metropolis packed with dancing lights and complex minutes of screen time available (once stock Capt. Dart, Slim
of the year 2100, assembled for the pilot instrumentation panels. If this is indeed the footage and titles are taken into account) to and Husky
patrolled the
episode by Derek Freeborn. Festooned with case, it must have been a herculean task to deliver fast-paced hokum usually wrapped solar system in
towering art deco skyscrapers, walkways and create all scripts in advance, record all the around a moral message reflecting her their Galasphere
347 (above)
Elon Musk-style Hyperloop vacuum tubes, it Galasphere dialogue out of sequence and real-world concerns. as part of the
was an intricate marvel harking back to the shoot the whole lot as single block. Also Opening episode ‘The Swamps of Jupiter’ peace-keeping
architectural prophesies of Metropolis (1927) filmed in one go at the start of production hits the ground running by sending the force, the
United Galactic
and Things to Come (1936). Intriguingly, the were the various model shots of New York Galasphere crew to sort out a pair of Jovian Organisation
futuristic vista it most closely resembles and Space Patrol HQ. scientists who are slaying the indigenous
came later in the movie Logan’s Run (1976), The high percentage of stock footage population of bizarre talking aliens for
which opens with cityscape sequence that every week obscures a subtle evolution in their skins. It’s a surprisingly affecting
looks for all the world like an expensive the quality of Space Patrol’s visual look over tale, telegraphing a concern for animal
re-make of Space Patrol. the course of its run. Guest planet settings cruelty that recurs across the run. With
become more expansive and finely detailed, every episode written solely by Leigh, the
TOO TIGHT TO MENTION instrumentation panels and lighting were subsequent 38 instalments are nothing if not
The budget Roberta Leigh and Arthur Provis more subtly rendered, costumes were consistent, offering up no outright duffers or
secured from ABC for Space Patrol was far improved and the main cast of puppets ‘City on the Edge of Forever’-style style peaks
below that afforded to Fireball XL5 by ITC have a more ‘finished’ appearance than in of genius. But the quality of her storytelling
main man Lew Grade. Important executive earlier episodes, when it wasn’t uncommon makes them a pleasure to dip into, if not
decisions needed to be made; not for them for a regular to be rushed onto the set with binge-watch.
a dedicated studio complex like the one AP a half-carved hand missing the required Highlights include ‘Hairy Men of Mars’,
Films had established on the Slough Trading number of digits. one of the daftest 25 minutes you’ll ever see
Estate; for Space Patrol, read a chilly church Goulding’s direction, it has to be said, is about a war between twin tribes of neurotic
hall in Harlesden. Their production company very pedestrian and lacks the cinematic Martian hipsters; ‘The Telepathic Robot’
- now known as Wonderama Productions - finesse Gerry Anderson’s Director of is a particularly well-written tale in which
converted this far from ideal space for the Photography John Read was by then Professor Haggarty invents a robot that
filming, including installing an overhead achieving by lighting and shooting puppets can be controlled by the human mind (to
puppet gantry. Leigh, as was her habit, wrote exactly as one would real actors. Too often surprising dramatic effect when it goes off
every one of the 39 episodes, and Frank Goulding settles for unadventurous wide the rails) and ‘Time Stands Still’ is a smartly

whose franchise to provide
programming to the ITV
network in the London region
ended in 1968, to be replace
by Thames TV during the week
and LWT at weekends. After
a final screening on the very
last day of ABC’s franchise on
Sunday 28 July 1968, it was
never repeated.
Some classic UK shows
are luckier than others when
it comes to the business of
rediscovery. At the top end
of the scale are the filmed
adventure series produced by Lew Grade’s
ITC organisation from the mid-1950s to the
early 1980s for ‘World-Wide Distribution’
(as he proudly proclaimed). Most of these
shows – including The Saint, The Prisoner,
Department S and ten Gerry Anderson
series from Supercar to Space:1999 - were
maintained in an original master negative
archive. Having lost its ITV benefactor, Space
Patrol had no such umbrella of protection.
For many years it was believed that the
entire series had been lost, even by Roberta
upside down!” and “I wish you’d send me to Leigh, so its discovery in a dusty lock-up by
Uranus, Colonel!”. Was Liverpudlian funster Leigh herself made a lot of 40-somethings
Stan Boardman another closet fan? very happy indeed. After an initial release
Despite having all the trappings of 1960s on VHS in 1998, the series was remastered
toyshop catnip, very little merchandise for onto DVD and in 2018 re-emerged on Blu-ray,
ludicrous caper wherein the crew recover This page: Space Patrol was produced. The highest looking better, and weirder, than ever.
Though the
the stolen Mona Lisa and other loot from a models and
profile item was a storybook called Space At the time of its original broadcast, it
fiendish Venusian using a ‘time watch’ from puppets in Patrol and the Secret Weapon although really did seem as though Leigh and Provis
Professor Haggerty that speeds Dart up sixty Space Patrol rumours persist that an annual also were set to rival Gerry Anderson with their
were not quite
times normal speed. as impressive as appeared, with some fans swearing blind own run of futuristic SF series, but plans
The most celebrated episode of the Gerry Anderson’s they used to have it. In the UK, World quickly stalled after two colour pilots – a
series is ‘The Robot Revolution’, one of work, the show
Distributors published a comic based on the puppet secret agent concept called Paul
only two instalments that remain on was - and is - still show as part of its Super Mag series in the Starr (1964) featuring the voice of Ed (UFO)
original 35mm and also one of the few widely loved by mid-sixties and Mountain Films, a UK-based Bishop, and live-action space opera The
a generation of
that somehow managed to surface as a 60s children home movie company and distributor, Solarnauts (1967), with, er, Jan Leeming -
very poor-quality bootleg VHS on the fan released four cut-down episodes on Super failed to make to a full series. Both films
collector black-market a few years prior to 8mm which remained the only viable way to (which can be viewed on YouTube) are a
the full-series turning up in 1997. A parable revisit the series between its disappearance flawed but fascinating glimpse of what might
about progressive technology getting the from UK screens in 1968 and its eventual have been for Wonderama Productions.
upper hand on mankind, it sees an undersea re-emergence on VHS, courtesy of Network Turning her back on TV in the early
explosion affect the brains of a swarm of Distributing, in 1998. 1970s, Leigh returned to writing, eventually
robots operating the underwater Atlantic One of the frustrations of hunting down clocking up upward of 150 novels. Pinning
Sea Farm. Soon enough (Space Patrol rarely Space Patrol merchandise is that it is down a complete bibliography is nigh on
paused for breath), five thousand of the arguably the least exposed of four series to impossible due to her sheer prolificacy - she
buggers have risen and are marching rather carry the name. The first was a smash-hit also wrote as Janey Scott, Rachel Lindsay,
menacingly upon UGO HQ in New York. 1950s US radio and TV space opera starring Rozella Lake and Roumelia Lane. In other
When Space Patrol was first released on Ed Kemmer as the intrepid ‘Buzz’ Corry. In words, whenever you cast your eye over
VHS, Babylon 5 guru J. Michael Straczynski 1962, the year before Larry Dart took to the those endless shelves of paperback fiction
popped up between episodes to enthuse heavens, the Japanese did likewise with a in a second-hand bookshop, she’s probably
upon the mind-expanding effect the series cult anime SF called Uchu Patrol Hopper looking back at you, in one guise or another.
– his favourite as a kid bar none - and this (Space Patrol Hopper). In the mid-60s there A true polymath, she passed away in 2014
episode in particular, had on his young mind. was six-part German series called Raumpa- aged 87. Her website indicates she was still
Given the evident moral core to her work, trouille (aka Space Patrol Orion) which was writing at the time.
it’s surprising and rather delightful in these much-repeated and is well worth seeking As this article has demonstrated,
overbearingly PC times to find Roberta Leigh out in a subtitled version (think Star Trek comparisons between Space Patrol and Gerry
frequently inserting politically incorrect photographed by Mario Bava). Add in a host Anderson’s more celebrated Fireball XL5 are
jokes and blatant double entendres of contemporary space toys that unavoidable, so similar was the approach
into Space Patrol. Exhibit A: ‘The appropriated the name and even a taken. Yet to many kids of the 1960s, Space
Dark Planet’. This starts out Lebanese compilation film of Gerry Patrol - with its eerie electronic score, quirky
with a dig in at the Irish at the Anderson’s UFO series and you’re characters, dynamic puppetry, grounding
expense of Haggerty (“You are left with a real detective job on your in real scientific theory and progressively
so un-scientific “/“It’s the Irish in hands. And if you do find that annual, hopeful vision of the future - had the edge.
me!”) before thoroughly outdoing please let us know! Perhaps you were one of them? It certainly
that notorious episode of Rainbow is a unique and fascinating series, reflecting
with its gleeful indulgence in the LOST AND FOUND the personality and storytelling skill of its
unacceptable pronunciation of Space Patrol’s seeming disappearance creator, Roberta Leigh.
‘Uranus’, including (among many was tied to the fate of its backer Space Patrol is available now on Blu-ray
examples) “everything on Uranus is Associated British Corporation, courtesy of Network Distributing.

Robert Fairclough looks back at
The XYY Man, a compelling, hip
mixture of crime, realpolitik and
strangeness, which launched the
career of police officer George
‘GBH’ Bulman, one of ITV’s
longest serving detectives…

Images courtesy of Network Distributing

he pop art cover design of the Room 17) (1967) and Spindoe (1968). In 1966,
1970 Hodder and Stoughton Everitt went to a wild, surreal place far beyond
edition of Kenneth Royce’s The Avengers when he produced The Corridor
thriller The XYY Man features People. Featuring characters such as Inspector
an overhead view of a black and Blood (Alan Curtis) and Sergeant Hound (William
The XYY Man white chess board. In one of the squares, Maxwell), the series broke television’s ‘fourth
began life as a
series of novels
a man clutches his head and screams wall’ by allowing its characters to speak directly
by Kenneth through a bombardment of psychedelic to the audience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even
Royce, featuring colours. This vintage design would prove for the mid-1960s, the series was cancelled after
the character
of William (or to be a neat visual summation of the only four episodes were made.
Willie) ‘Spider’ bizarre series based on the novel, which
Scott, a one-time
cat-burglar who
began transmission on the ITV network on TREACHEROUS POLITICS
leaves prison Saturday 3 July in the long, hot summer Everitt’s unusual touch made Granada TV’s
aiming to go of 1976. The initial three part serial was adaptation of Royce’s first-person spy-crime
straight but finds
his talents still successful enough to get a second, ten part novel into something special. Spider was a
to be very much series commissioned. Based on the follow man with an extra ‘Y’ chromosome, which
in demand by
both the criminal up books The Concrete Boot (1971) and The apparently made him prone to acts of violence
underworld and Miniatures Frame (1972), it was transmitted on Monday nights in 1977 against property. In the book, he’s pressurised, on behalf of British
the British secret
service. Scott
during the high summer of punk rock. intelligence, into stealing an incriminating photographic negative
has an extra Y The tone is set by the opening sequence in the first episode, when from the Chinese embassy in London. The TV version was embellished
chromosome that cat burglar William ‘Spider’ Scott (Stephen Yardley) is released from considerably by incorporating as the political background the 1976
supposedly gives
him a criminal prison and is given a lift by his journalist friend Ray Lynch (Paul talks on majority rule by the black population in Rhodesia. South
predisposition – Freeman). Scott turns on the car radio and The Who’s anthem ‘Won’t African diplomats were central to establishing the principle of home
although he tries
to go straight,
Get Fooled Again’ blasts from the speakers, before morphing onto rule within two years; in The XYY Man, “a respected South African
he is genetically the TV soundtrack as the pair drive around London. As the story diplomat” is lured into sleeping with a black girl and photographed in
incapable of develops, it transpires that not only has Lynch been sleeping with flagrante. If the picture had been made public, the envoy’s credibility
doing so…
Scott’s girlfriend Maggie Parsons (Vivienne McKee), but he’s also a would have been destroyed – and the home rule talks wrecked – as
spy for the Rhodesian security service and involved in a plot that puts mixed race unions were illegal in South Africa in the 1970s.
Spider’s life at risk. Clearly, The Who song had been commenting on Contemporary politics were also to the fore in the three stories that
the forthcoming action; equally clearly, The XYY Man was no ordinary made up the second series. In the TV adaptation of The Concrete Boot,
television thriller. Major Laidlaw (William Squire, clearly channelling his characterisation
Producer Richard Everitt had a proven track record in combining of Hunter from Callan (1970-72) uses ECHO – the Ex-Criminals Help
crime and the quirky. In the 1960s, he had overseen the off-beat Organisation – to recruit foot soldiers for robberies, murder, espionage
detective series The Man in Room 17 (1965-67), in which criminologist and civil disturbances, in order to bring about a right wing coup (a
Edwin Oldensaw (Richard Vernon) and his assistant Ian Dimmock prediction not too far from reality, as Margaret Thatcher’s very right
(Michael Aldridge) – latterly Imlac Defraits (Denholm Elliott) – solved wing Conservative Party won the 1979 general election by a landslide).
baffling crimes without leaving the eponymous room; the series In The Miniatures Frame, Peter Thresher (Ronald Lewis), an
was popular enough to generate two sequels, The Fellows (Late of industrialist on the way to becoming “a power in the land,” has a

Name of feature

Who (1975). “Stephen

and I got along
famously,” remembers
Vivienne McKee today.
“He’s a great guy and
very attractive – I was
quite happy to have
love scenes with him!
Only kidding: he was
happily married and I
had a boyfriend. 
“Stephen was very
kind. On the first day
of our second series, I
drove up to Manchester,
parked in the Granada
parking lot and went in
to do the read through
with our new cast.
When I went back to character developed. “I asked the writers
my car many hours to please give me something more exciting
later, all my luggage to do and say. And they did! It was great!
had been stolen. I was I was no longer the subservient girlfriend:
devastated. Everything suddenly I was cheating on Spider, and
I had brought with me having even sexier scenes in bed with a
Above: dark past in art forgery and insurance fraud, for a two month period had gone – jewellery, new lover, and – what joy! – giving away
Stephen Yardley leaving him open to blackmail by his ambitious shoes, everything. I only had the clothes important information to the bad guys. In
as William
‘Spider’ Scott with personal assistant Brooks (Barry Andrews). The I was wearing. Stephen came with me to one episode (‘Whisper Who Dares’), I was
Vivienne McKee intelligence executive Fairfax (Mark Dignam) the police station and spent hours sorting even tied up and gagged in the back of a
Below l-r: manipulates Scott into attending a committee it out. The next day he made sure that the van. I found a photo of that scene. I look
Dennis Blanch on prison reform that Thresher is chairing, as Granada costume department gave me lots miserable, but it was still a lot of fun to do.”
as DC Derek
Willis and Don
he knows a forged miniature in his office will of gorgeous clothes to wear.” Although set in London where a lot of
Henderson as DS provoke Spider’s curiosity. Carol Wilks, who directed the television the location filming was carried out, many
George Bulman The last three-part story – an original version of ‘The Miniatures Frame’, remembers interior scenes, in the production style of
Ray Armstrong script by Edward Boyd – draws on the the cameraderie on the series was always the day recorded on videotape, took place
with Stephen escape from prison in October 1966 of the focused around Yardley. “Late one night, in the Granada TV studios in Manchester.
Yardley and Peter
Marinker from the
Communist spy George Blake, as well as after a very late night shoot, Stephen, Don, Like Vivienne, this meant a long stay away
‘Law and Order’ the international Marxist-Leninist terrorist Dennis and myself repaired to the local Press from their London homes for most of the
episode Ramirez Sánchez, nicknamed ‘Carlos The Club – the only place left open in the city actors. “On Monday morning we’d get our per
Jackal’ by The Guardian in 1975. Blackmailed for a drink that we could blag our way into. diem (expenses),” explains Brian Croucher,
by Fairfax, Spider assists the CIA agent Norton Stephen went to the bar to get a round in and who played the gangster Morris Riesen in
(Martin Fisk) in escaping from Strangeways a bloke, half-cut, approached him asking for the second series. “We used to call it our
prison in Manchester; British intelligence and his autograph. Stephen, unfailingly polite ‘Guinness money’. At the time, us London
Mossad, the Israeli secret service, wanted to the public at large, bent down – he was boys – myself, Stephen, Don Henderson
Norton sprung as he knows the identity of the very tall – to write. The guy suddenly floored (Detective Sergeant George Bulman), Dennis
international Marxist-Leninist terrorist ‘The him with a left hook out of nowhere, saying Blanch (Detective Constable Derek Willis) and
Fox’ (Chris Jenkinson). For its time, The XYY something like ‘So much for the XYZ Man!’ Johnny Shannon (‘art dealer’ Charlie Warren)
Man was a heady political brew. Stephen was the first to lead the laughter as – all drank Guinness. There was nothing else
he got up from the floor. to do in our time off so we used to go up to
A COCKNEY GIRL “That giggling tendency always travels the Granada bar.”
As played by Stephen Yardley (born 1942), fast in a company of actors so people, Disarmingly “soft as shite” in real life, by
Spider Scott was charming, athletic, amoral including guest artists, picked up on its 1977 Croucher was building a reputation for
and selfish, in a stormy, on-off relationship infectiousness very quickly and had a very portraying villains. “They have to be human,”
with his cockney antique dealer girlfriend good time laughing through the workload. he reasons. “If they aren’t, you end up with a
Maggie, as he tried (and mostly failed) to go It also meant, of course, that nobody took cartoon. As an actor, you’re always watching,
straight. Spider was the strikingly tall actor’s themselves very seriously. There were no listening and hoovering up bits of detail
first starring role, after years of supporting heavy duty egos thumping about.” to create characters. From what I knew of
parts in popular series such as Danger Man As the series progressed, Vivienne was criminals, they were like that because they
(1965), Crown Court (1973-75) and Doctor able to have more of a say in how her wanted nice things and didn’t want to work,
although they did
work on things, if
you know what I
took part in one
of the many
action scenes that
Scottish director
Ken Grieve staged
for his two stories.
“There was a scene
where Riesen
used a car to
knock Spider off

The prolific author Kenneth
Royce Gandley was born in
Croydon in 1920. Variously a
recruit to the London Rifles
and the director of his own
travel company, Royce had
already written nine novels
before The XYY Man was
published in 1970.
During voluntary work
with the Bucks Special
Police, Royce met a cat burglar known as ‘Andy’
who had recently been released from prison. Their
friendship was the basis for five novels released
between 1970 and 1974. The first three – The XYY
Man, The Concrete Boot and The Miniatures Frame
– were adapted by Granada television, leaving Trap
a motorbike. We rehearsed it but I couldn’t trademark. The sex and crossword obsessed Spider (1973) and Spider Underground (1974) as
do it: I’m not a stunt man. I said to Ken, D.S. Willis, meanwhile, was Sancho Panza to purely literary adventures.
‘Get Rocky Taylor in. Give him a day’s work.’ Bulman’s Don Quixote, greeting every new Royce’s D.S. Alf Bulman was a minor character
He did and Rocky did it perfectly. He was a development or disappointment with his in the first novel, but it’s remarkable how closely
lovely bloke. He was in the football team I stoic response, “Oh yeah?” Royce’s initial description of him influenced Don
used to play in. I remember Tony Selby used Henderson’s casting: ‘He stood in the doorway,
to float about on the wing.” KARATE FROM WOOLWORTHS sharp-eyed, black hair short… His nose and mouth
Tim Aspinall and Ivor Marshall wrote the first were good and straight, and I suppose in a coarse
BULLDOG BULMAN seven episodes, delivering offbeat characters sort of way he was good looking. He had strong
Like virtually everyone in the cast, Croucher like Bluey Palmer (Leslie Schofield), a brows and a nice set of teeth if he ever got round to
has fond memories of the larger than life camp ‘glamour’ photographer with a keen smiling… He could have been an insurance man but
Don Henderson. “He had crinkly eyes, a eye on the economy, and hippy bomb to me he smelled copper and that meant trouble.’
funny, cackly laugh and always had off the maker Tony (James Coyle), who could build The XYY Man was translated into French and
wall stories. Definitely an eccentric. Don was explosive devices triggered by John Lennon German and published in America by Avon. Spider
the leader and Dennis was The Quiet One.” songs. It’s in Murray Smith’s adaptation of Underground was also released there, under the
Vivienne agrees: “Don was the nicest man. The Miniatures Frame, however, that the The Man from UNCLE-sounding new title The
He taught me a lot about how to work in the series keeps one foot in a recognisable Masterpiece Affair. Both Avon paperback editions
TV medium. I was in my early twenties, and at metropolitan 1970s setting while putting the were packaged with attractive, James Bond
that point had mainly been a theatre actor.” other somewhere altogether more surreal. film poster-style cover art. After the success of
Dennis Blanch, cast as Bulman’s sidekick To start with, Spider employs a violent Strangers, Royce revived his Bulman character in
Willis, found working with Henderson equally acquaintance called Knocker (Derrick five novels between 1983 and 1996, remodelling the
agreeable. “We were mates who had worked O’Connor), who dresses and speaks like a detective to fit Henderson’s TV version.
on an episode of the BBC’s Warship (‘The John Wayne-era cowboy. “Derek did a more Royce died in 1997 following a short illness.
Prize’, 1973) together prior to The XYY Man, than passable impression of The Duke,” says
so that helped. We would both study bits Wilks, “and in the third episode he, Ron Bain
of the script late into the night over a pint. and I arranged the fight scene between
I enjoyed playing the part of Willis mainly Knocker and Ron’s character Danny the
because Don was so relaxed.” Busker, a professional assassin disguised
A minor character in the novel (with the as a down-and-out. No fight arranger; no
Christian name Alf), on television the part health and safety rules either – happy days.
of D.S. “Bulldog” Bulman was expanded into Derek also came up with Knocker’s brilliant
Spider’s police nemesis. In an era of tough quote: ‘Where did you get your karate from,
TV cops defined by the macho exploits of The mate? Woolworths?”
Sweeney (1975-78) and Starsky and Hutch Elsewhere – for no discernible reason –
(1975-79), Bulman was a striking departure. Fairfax buys a laughing sailor automaton for
Although he was insubordinate and his office, a purchase that clearly worries his
independent like Jack Regan, Ken Hutchinson secretary. However, the most telling stylistic
and Dave Starsky, he was, significantly, a change is Spider talking to an impassive
working class intellectual. Bulman quoted Thresher late at night in his study, before he
Karl Marx, was taking an Open University realises the industrialist has been murdered
degree in politics and philosophy, read and positioned by a door to appear as if
about Extra Sensory Perception, was tight he’s alive. Such a scene wouldn’t have been
with money when it came to getting a round out of place in any series of the influential
in but possessed of, in the vogue of TV spy-crime hybrid The Avengers (1962-69).
policemen of the period, a passionate hatred Coincidentally or not, a 1970s revival, The
of criminals. Allegedly not above applying a New Avengers (1976-77), began screening
telephone directory to a villain’s midriff to on ITV three months after the first series of
extract a confession, he believed Spider owed The XYY Man ended, with the same mix of
him “20 years” for being “the longest serving the everyday and the unusual as its parent
sergeant in the force.” series. Dennis Blanch even featured in one
At the same time, Bulman habitually wore episode – ‘Target!’ (1976)
a pair of string gloves, even when – bizarrely These stylistic changes reflected the rise
– eating an egg and bacon sandwich or in prominence of Bulman and Willis. Starting
smoking. Henderson adopted the gloves out nearly always one step behind Spider, by
to hide his wedding ring, but they were the last story they have more screen time
so novel they quickly became Bulman’s than the title character, who’s in hiding

Name of feature

after a jail break. Sarcastically christened In the same story, the the characters of Bulman and Willis had been
“Laurel and Hardy” by Fairfax, the pair enjoy British intelligence agent gradually built up over The XYY Man, the
three notable comic scenes – trapped in ‘Dero’ (Norman Jones) announcement of a spin-off series took both
a lift with a cleaning lady, transporting a reveals his nickname of the actors who played them by surprise.
grandfather clock for Maggie and spending (a refers to a super race “We got good feedback,” reveals Blanch, “but
lot) of money on drinks for an Irish workman that lived in caverns I think we were both amazed when we got
to try and secure information. When the under the earth but our own series. There was no hint at all when
mood darkens in the last episode and a had degenerated into we were filming.”
British intelligence agent executes The Fox ‘robot’-like savagery – Overall, Vivienne found making The XYY
after he’s been disarmed by Spider, Bulman “detrimental robot(s)”. Man a rewarding experience. “I remember
even has the last line of dialogue in the Although Dero says enjoying learning the craft of TV acting from
whole series: “That’s just absolutely, bloody the source is “a science some excellent fellow cast members,” she
sick.” The XYY man himself has to settle fiction story,” the truth is smiles. “I remember two of the directors,
for a mute exit, angrily throwing down his rather more complex. Ken Grieve and Alan Grint, as being fantastic
gloves in disgust as he – the implication is – The writer Richard at their jobs and very supportive of me, a
contemplates giving up crime for good. S. Shaver claimed newcomer. I remember funny incidents
that the Deros were on the studio floor when we cracked up
DETRIMENTAL ROBOTS This page: real and he had been imprisoned by them laughing and then went back to playing our
The series’ pop culture references are a We knew we could underground; furthermore, they were serious characters. I remember many great
link The XYY Man
fascinating mixture of the up-to-the-minute to a sci-fi theme apparently responsible for mental illnesses evenings at a nearby watering hole called
and the obscure. The burgeoning UK punk if we looked hard like schizophrenia, as they were capable of The Film Exchange where all the Coronation
enough - it seems
rock movement is often mentioned, while in one character was projecting destructive thoughts into human Street actors and everyone else working
Boyd’s script, characters use photographs of inspired by a pulp minds. Shaver’s first account of the Dero at Granada would go for a drink. My good
sci-fi magazine!
the punk bands The Clash and the Ramones Other scenes
civilisation was published in the March 1945 friend, Michael Elphick,  held court there and
for target practice. The Clash had released show Stephen issue of the popular science fiction magazine bought everyone drinks to stop them from
their first single in March 1977 and their Yardley at work Amazing Stories, and his subsequent going home.”
and play…
debut LP in April, only three months before writings about the creatures were to prove The XYY Man shares similar creative
the second series of The XYY Man began as controversial as his first. The name was DNA with the BBC series Gangsters (1977-78),
transmission; on July 4 1976, American clearly deliberately chosen by Boyd – Dero in which serious contemporary subject
punks the Ramones had played an influential reveals himself to be a Soviet mole and matter – increasing crime in Birmingham’s
gig at London’s Roundhouse, an event which commits suicide. immigrant Indian and Chinese communities
members of the nascent London punk bands, – was approached in a sometimes highly
including The Clash, had attended. Someone SPIN-OFF stylised way.
on the production team clearly knew the Reflecting on how The XYY Man was received For such an oddball mixture of espionage,
contemporary music scene very well. at the time of its initial transmission, crime and popular culture, some episodes
Vivienne McKee says, “the series was of The XYY Man’s first series impressed the
very well promoted, given prime-time, audience enough to briefly knock the BBC’s
magazine articles, etc. I was interviewed Saturday night ratings juggernaut Starsky
by The News of the World (horror!) But was and Hutch off its pole position.
it popular? I don’t know. Personally, I think Not bad for a TV drama based on a
it was too wordy and laboured. The success modestly selling crime novel. At the end of
of any theatre, TV or movie is ultimately the second series’ ‘Whisper Who Dares’, Willis
based on the strength of the writing. The resignedly comments, “the Establishment
XYY Man needed more wins again, Sarge.” Strangers
action and more light would pick up that thematic
relief. It was relentlessly baton when the first series
serious and none of began ten months later, in
the characters – except June 1978. We will look at
perhaps Don Henderson’s that in the next issue.
– were remotely The XYY Man: The
sympathetic. Perhaps Complete Series is available
that’s why they continued from Network Distributing
with him as a detective in
Strangers [1978-1982] and Special thanks to Dennis
dropped the rest of us. It Blanch, Brian Croucher,
was a shame for Stephen.” Vivienne McKee, Carol
Despite the way the way Wilks and Garron Martin.







here did this year go to? It’s late October but already
beginning to cost a lot like Christmas. This may be
a lovely time of year, but it is also a bit of a stress,
just like your job. You do all the work and the fat guy with the
suit gets all the credit. Ah well, at least we can raise your elf
esteem by giving you a truly fabulous new issue of Infinity
magazine to settle down with in between arguing with the
annoying family members you thankfully only have to
see once a year.
Next time round we will be taking a cosy long look at
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, one of our favourite Irwin
Allen shows, and with Rondo-winning artist Mark Maddox
contributing the cover and centre poster we are sure this is
going to delight fans of this enduring favourite.
Of course Infinity is all about retro favourites, so those
who believe sci-fi started with Star Wars should maybe
look elsewhere. It is perhaps unlikely they will recall the
delights of Letraset, or indeed even know what this was,
but we have a fabulous feature on it, as well as a fun look
back at the legendary BBC Christmas tapes featuring
fluffed lines and cock-ups. Doctor Who features heavily in
this feature, along with Blake’s 7 and Fawlty Towers!
Christmas was also a great time for special
annuals of our favourite comics, and we will be
remembering some of the best of them, both sci-fi
themed and otherwise, plus our man Jon Abbott
will be delivering a history of comics - and we don’t
mean Bernard Manning (apologies to our American
readers for that, they may quite rightly think I have
taken leave of my senses). We will also be recalling
The Corridor People, a very odd series indeed, but
one we have fond memories of nevertheless, and
visiting The Land Unknown, a place where back-pro-
jected dinosaurs pose a very real hazard to model
There is a lot more too, including Italian sci-fi and
a previously unpublished interview with UFO’s Ed Bishop,
so prepare yourself for a feast of sci-fi nostalgia with our
Xmas edition of Infinity, taking you back to a time when
all food was slow and pizzas were not delivered to our
home, but milk was. We are on sale everywhere, but taking
out a subscription disrupts the space/time continuum and
gets your copy delivered a few days earlier.
The Fantastic
Some of the finest writers in the field of genre
cinema have been gathered together to take a
new look at one of the most exciting periods in
the history of fantasy. The Fantastic FIFTIES
explores every aspect of the decade in film, from

horror and sci-fi to adventure, westerns, noir, 64 pages . A4 format
rock ‘n’ roll and even Walt Disney! Hemlock Full colour throughout
Books takes you back to the future in the film
magazine with a difference. Colour and stereo
sound. Widescreen and 3-D. Just pop open a Plus P&P of £1.95
Kia-Ora halfway through...