Today Andy Starks, organiser of the upcoming Alpha 2014 convention shares some of his thoughts about what made Space: 1999 so great, and what the Alpha 2014 is all about!
Forty years ago, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson created Space:1999, a live action series that, in my opinion, changed the standards of television. From Friday 12th to Sunday 14th September 2014 we will be paying homage to the series.
Space:1999 changed the way sci-fi, and possibly drama in general, was depicted on television. There was none of the flower power images people were used to from Gene Roddenbury’s Star Trek nor the flimsy painted sets of lesser programming. Instead, the viewer was given an insight in to an almost clinical future, full of white gloss and utilitarian practicality. While that may sound dull, the way in which those aspects where created smacked more of the ‘big screen’ than ‘humble’ television. The production values are evident in every area – sets, models, cast and costumes. So much so it has become iconic.
I remember watching the series when it first screened. Yes, I am that old, but only just. It was inspiring. While the emphasis shifted from cerebral to action later in the series, the camaraderie between the characters and their resolute desire to find a new home as one unified group remained a constant throughout the show’s run. That was something that resonated with me even as a child.
Alpha:2014 – The UK Chrysalis is the first dedicated convention for Space:1999 in the UK this millennium. The event spans the anniversary of ‘Breakaway Day’, September 13th, and features people from many areas of the series, both in front of and behind the scenes. We are honoured to have Catherine Schell (Maya), Anton Philips (Dr Bob Mathias), Christopher Penfold (story consultant, scriptwriter) and Brian Johnson (model maker and designer) along with various actors from Main Mission and Gerry’s son, Jamie Anderson.
We are also having a banquet meal with the guests on the Saturday night and holding auctions throughout the weekend. There will be a dealer’s room, the premiere of a fan made episode and a display of original and replica costumes, sets and props by All Sections Alpha which will blow your mind.
All profits from the event are going to the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of Gerry Anderson. Without him, we would not have Space:1999 and all that it means to each of us.
The event hotel is Holiday Inn – Peterborough West, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough PE3 6SG and you can book on +44 (0) 1733 289988. The hotel offers a preferential rate to attendees, remember to use ALP1209 as the booking code. Rooms are £65 a night on Friday and Saturday and include breakfast and access to the pool, spa and gym. The venue is easily accessible via road and rail. Peterborough is on the mainline from King’s Cross in London, which itself links to Heathrow Airport and the Eurostar. The City is also on the A1, so driving is easy too.
Please check out www.alpha2014.co.uk for the latest and search Facebook for Alpha:2014 – The UK Chrysalis. We look forward to seeing you.