Friday, 21 January 2011

Doomwatch: Re-Entry Forbidden (1970)

Re-Entry Forbidden is an episode from about half way through the first series of the BBC seminal sci-fi show; Doomwatch.  Each week the Doomwatch team investigated various technology-could-run-amok scenarios and cautioned us all to the perils of this brave new world in which we all found ourselves living.
The concerns of this particular story are quite simply that the pilot of a space craft could cock-up the re-entry coordinates and cause nuclear fuel to rain down upon the world below.  It’s not a bad episode but there are much better ones.
However, from the point of view of the Say; Hello Spaceman blog this is a really important entry primarily because it seemed to contradict a lot of what I thought I knew about a couple of other appearances of these suits.
Firstly as you will see from the picture of the crew of the Sunfire rocket ship, they are indeed wearing the same suits and helmets as seen in the film Doppelganger (Aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) which was released in 1969.
There for these must also be the very same helmets that would go on to be seen in Gerry Anderson’s UFO tv series.  That show would use a lot of the Doppelganger props, cars and costumes to add some big budget gloss to its small screen adventures.   UFO was in production from April 69 to September 70.  As far as I was aware the suits went from one Gerry Anderson production to the next.  They were sprayed yellow in between and there were only three of them.
And then I discovered the Doomwatch appearance and because the helmets seem not yet to have been sprayed yellow as they were for their run on UFO, I concluded that this episode must have been filmed between the two projects.   Indeed, Doomwatch aired 16th of March 1970 where as the first airing of UFO wasn’t until September of the same year.  All well and good except for the fact that this episode was filmed February 1970; which is slap-bang in the middle of the UFO production run.  And they are back to their Doppelganger colours!
I couldn’t post on this subject until I had solved the mystery...  and now I have....  and you can find out what the answer is on my UFO Post.
But we haven’t quite finished with Doomwatch just yet.  Following the two days of filming of these three on-loan-astronauts at their rather impressive rocket controls, the production crew vacated the set and after a tiny bit of tarting up, the Doctor Who production team came in, added an airlock, and stuck three entirely different spacemen onto it for their show.  And I’ll be looking at Doctor who and the Ambassadors of Death just as soon as.



  1. The capsule is not the only thing Ambassadors of Death shares with Re-Entry Forbidden!

    Here's the control room panels from the end of Re Entry Forbidden

    And here are the control panels from that set in Ambassadors of Death

    And here they are AGAIN in the previous DW serial The Silurians

    I've not spotted them anywhere else yet ..... unlike the ones from the Power Station that are in nearly every 60s story or the UFO ones which dominate from 73 onwards

    For appearances of both see

    1. I enjoy the recycling of such things. makes for a nice shared universe feel