Lost in Space (documentary)

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Commentary
Title: Lost in Space
Commentator:
Date(s): 1998
Medium: television show
Fandom:
External Links: here
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Lost in Space was a series of BBC documentaries about genre televisions shows.

The Fourth Episode: "The Fandersons: Gerry Anderson"

The Fifth Episode: X-Files: "The Truth is Out There"

The Sixth Episode: Blake's 7: "Zen and the Art of Fan Fiction: Blake's Seven"

It was about fifteen minutes long.

Some topics discussed Blake's 7, Lysator, and the webzine/website The Aquitar Files.

The show included some interviews with Blake's 7 fans, including Judith Proctor, Una McCormack, Reba, and Pita.

Reactions and Reviews: Blake's 7

I thought it was treated very fairly indeed, i had horrible visions of you all being portrayed as some sort of sad bunch whose only interest was watching a sci fi program from 20 years ago but it was nothing like that. For the BBC it was more than average and defiantly the best of the series. [1]

Excellent. Remarkable that a 15 minute programme can get across so much so well. The interviewees said just the right things, the appeal of the original series was succinctly conveyed with appropriate clips (though they didn't really show Avon's reaction to the "I have always trusted you" line) and the references to fan fiction showed that Blakes 7 is still very much alive and developing.

The only thing I think they missed was how well attended conventions are, not just by fans but by cast and production staff, and consequently how many of those involved in making Blakes 7 are still very committed to the programme. I didn't quite understand the shots of people standing outside their doors...... [2]
Well, I can't speak for everyone else, but I never mentioned slash at all and was never asked about it, though I think I mentioned in passing when he wasn't recording that adult fiction existed. I figured we were getting enough by having a sensible treatment of fandom. No point in muddying the waters when it was being shown in an early evening time slot. [3]
I didn't mention slash at all. We did most of our chatting before the filming as they set the lights up first, so in that sense it was harder to say things off the record that might not have come up during filming... I suppose I was even more cautious because I'm a slash publisher. Also, you tend to feel a sense of responsibility. Non-fans coming across slash for the first time tend to have a rather negative reaction and TV is such a visible medium. [4]
Judith, I can't believe you didn't mention slash! I am sure that Andrew's editing was entirely intentional. We all said quite a lot 'off the record' because we had them around for quite a long time after the actual interview whilst they set up the lighting for the internal tracking shots. We also had quite a few moments when they were recording, when planes would go overhead and so that had to stop recording, or at least couldn't use what we said then. Some of the stuff we said when we knew they couldn't record was NOT suitable for broadcast (heh heh you know what I am talking about Una, Reba!) but my business partner, who was watching, said that it was the most interesting part of the interview. I must admit, I did begin to worry that he might have been sneaky and used some of it but phew, he didn't. Say no more.

Actually, we found that at the end of the interview, Andrew (director), the camera guy and the sound guy Gary started to sound genuinely interested in the show. Andrew was a Dr Who fan but a bit too young for B7. They started asking us which clips to use, which were good episodes to watch to get into the show, then we talked about things like the development of rel;ationships etc.

One of the things I told him was that there was perceived to be a homoerotic relationship between Blake and Avon and that you could see elements of that in certain episodes (told him which ones). Andrew seemed quite interested in that. So I don't think it was an accident at all.

The other thing is that Reba told Andrew a good deal about that book about fan fiction by that MIT media studies guy ( I forget the title and his name, help me out Reba?) and he told us that he'd ordered it. So I think it likely that he knew all about slash, but was smart enough to know that some things (like our conversations when the planes went over) and slash were not fit subjects for his show.


Like everyone else, I think he did a really good job with the editing. Judith, I thought you were great, so passionate and enthusiastic, as well as saying some very interesting things about Avon and Blake and Avon and Servalan and the doomedness of it all!

My business partner, who is not a fan at all, watched the show with us and when they started the section about fan fiction, he suddenly said "Oh no, now its gone too far! You were getting away with it up until then!" I also got a phone call from my sister in law, in fits of laughter saying that it was great but that we were all very sad!

So I wouldn't say that we can say we didn't some across as saddoes, obviously not to non fans, but what both these people said was that even though they felt that they had TOO MUCH information about what B7 fans get up to, they DID find it fascinating. Another friend (again, not a B7 or media fan) pointed out that anything that gives you an insight onto a subculture can be interesting. It needed that kind of detail that Judith and Andrew gave in the later section (about the fiction) of their interviews, to really let these people into the world of B7 fans.

Btw, all three people in the crew were REALLY impressed with how popular Avon was! When we started to talk about him and basically what HOT STUFF he is they kept saying "What is it about this Avon guy!? Everyone has been going on about him!"

Since the show, I have noticed record levels of interest in The Aquitar Files...lots of new registrations (about 20 - usually it is about five per week) ) and all saying that they had seen 'Lost in Space'and were amazed and delighted to know that there was so much on the Internet about B7! So lets hope that we can soon welcome some new members to the list! [5]
You all came across as intelligent and articulated people. I could imaging that non-fans who may have been watching would have started off by expecting a bunch of propeller-heads but by the end may have felt that they really wanted to watch some of this B7 stuff. The one thing that surprised me was Judith revealing that she had only been involved for the last five years. As a relative newbie myself and a regular visitor to her page I had imagined she had been involved for years. [6]

References

  1. Lysator, Wendy, 1998
  2. Lysator, Anne, 1998
  3. Lysator, Judith, 1998
  4. Lysator, Pita, 1998
  5. Lysator, Pita, 1998
  6. Lysator, Julie H, 1998