The Tracey clan and Captain Scarlett are banished to nostalgia as puppet maestro Gerry Anderson puts New York cops on an alien beat in Space Precinct. Alan Morrison went on location to Pinewood Studios to meet cast and crew. he enthusiastic PR people are trying to persuade me that I’m on an intergalactic shuttle to Planet Altor. but unless those
jets over Heathrow are a few light years off course and ready to touch down on " * Mars. this looks suspiciously like a bus ride out to the west of London on a wet Wednesday morning. Pinewood Studios may be situated in the middle of blandest Buckinghamshire. but once ‘5 through the security gates. a sense of anticipation hangs in the air. The huts.
I trailers and warehouse-like buildings ' , *1 proudly bearthe names oftheir current and " 54, future movie projects — Mary Reilly, a Mission Impossible and. in the. huge " hangar that has been the site of countless Bond adventures. Goldeneve. Close by are the stages where. for the past year. television legend Gerry Anderson has been mastertninding
his latest project. Space Precinct. Anderson's best known creations — T/Inmlerbirds, Captain Scarlet! and Stingrav — have entered into television history. now playing to a dual audience of nostalgic thirtysomethings and their media— Iitcrate offspring. For his new series. however. he has abandoned his ‘Supermarionation‘ technique in favour of a state-of-the-art mix of live action. computer animation. prosthetic make-up effects and model work. Space Precinct is. in essence. an American cop show set on the other side of the universe; a couple if NYPD officers find themselves posted to the crime capital of the galaxy, Demeter City. where they’ve got to deal with sundry transient scum (human and otherwise), as well as work alongside alien law enforcement
It’s one of the latter who’s first to meet me as I step into the studio reception. The starched blue shirt. breast pocket badge and epaulettes make up a familiar uniform that‘s been seen a thousand times in US police series; but the bug eyes and reptilian features of Captain Rexton Podly — a Creon. and so one of Demeter City’s dominant species — are a little disconcerting. However. it’s only polite to shake the mottled green hand he’s offering. After all. Kojak, Cannon and lronside didn’t exactly look cut out for the beat either.
‘So. how was your trip‘?’ asks the Captain. I’m glad to note that. like all the best New York desk sergeants and commanding ofﬁcers since stereotyping began, he’s got a nice hint of Irish in his accent. He may look like something David Attenborough discovered under a rock, but that twang sounds more like the real thing than a certain Sean Connery in The Untouchables. I wonder how I should answer the Captain's pleasantries; after toying with the idea of entering into the spirit of things and telling him how we just escaped an asteroid storm near the Ounamswoﬂdz. M4 junction for Uxbridge. l wimp out and sometimes "is ham to ten mumble some inane comment about the rain.
who the good guys are It’s at this point that we’re joined by Ofﬁcer
12 The List 7-20 Apr 1995