Colin Prockter Infogive
We're delighted to present a statement from Mr Prockter, the other half of the two-Colin team that co-wrote Luna.
Well, Bennett's had his say, so I suppose I'd better have mine. This is how it all came about...
I met Colin Bennett when we worked together as actors in a touring stage show. As we were both determined to be writers and seemed to have a lot in common, we started to write together. We didn't sell much but we laughed a hell of a lot.
In the course of time, Bennett directed the Harry Nilsson musical 'The Point at the Mermaid' and the show starred Mickey Dolenz. Dolenz approached Bennett with an idea for a series, and Bennett approached me. Dolenz gave us a very rough outline, about a girl called Luna living on the moon some time in the future, and more-or-less gave us carte-blanche to develop it. We sat down to think about it. And we laughed a lot.
Writing, for us, was one big hoot. We'd sit and discuss ideas, then get our heads down on our portable typewriters and read back to each other. Every writing day contained at least twenty minutes of hysteria; laughing so much that we could hardly breathe, lying on the floor, kicking our legs in the air and beating the ground. However, we did find time between the bursts of helpless hysteria to come up with a few ideas. From the start, we wanted the show to be edgy and a wee bit dangerous; not just bland kiddies' comedy. We created a future world ruled, not by tyranny or dictatorship, but by pointless and blind bureaucracy. And then, in this worked-out, clapped-out, soul-less planet, we plonked a habiviron with occupants who retained at least some human characteristics - even if one of them was an android. Even the terrifying Bureaubeing breathily threatening Luna with obliviviron eventually took his Darth Vader-like helmet off to reveal that he was, in fact, a little hen-pecked chap called Sid. So that was the premise.
There were two other important elements to the show; firstly, the new language - techno-talk was our invention, and ours alone. Secondly (and most importantly) the cheap jokes. Now, Bennett and I have a deep love of cheap jokes; the cheaper the better and I can tell you that a good 75% of our writing time was spent creating (and, of course, hysterically laughing at) cheap jokes. (Andy: "Eat your greens; they're good for you" Brat: "But I've eaten all my blues and yellows...")
In the meantime, Dolenz set out to sell the show in the way that only Americans can. Where Bennett and I would diffidently (and English-ly) suggest that the producer might be interested in this little thing we happened to have run up in a spare half-hour, Dolenz would charge into offices telling producers how he was going to do the show...
It went the rounds. First of all, the BBC was going to do it, but terms couldn't be agreed. Then LWT (with whom Dolenz had made 'Metal Mickey') backed out, until finally Lewis Rudd at ATV showed faith in the show (bless him). I always had the impression that Lewis was slightly bemused by the whole thing, but although he probably didn't get it, he was astute enough to know that others might. It bought me my first brand-new car! By the time the deal was struck, Bennett and I had been devising the show for well over a year, so that when the commission came, the scripts virtually wrote themselves. We knew that world inside-out.
I had very little to do with production except to visit the set once in a while (where the fourteen-year old Patsy Kensit would call me Mr Prockter!). But given the state of TV technology at the time, I was delighted by the end result. In particular I loved the lazer-blazer-phaser scene with the 'Chariots of Fire' music.
We continued to write together - and still do, to this day, on and off - but our careers really went in different directions. Whereas Bennett went on to become a TV producer, I carried on acting. I've done a few classy things in the theatre, and I'm one of those people who keep popping up on your TV screen, whose face you sort of recognise, but can't quite put your finger on (inappropriate and confusing use of metaphor). Well, keep a look out. I've played four different characters in 'Coronation Street' (previous incarnations included running The Rover's Return for a bit and challenging Fred Elliot to a boxing match) and you would have caught me on 'Dr Who', 'The Bill', 'Doctors', 'Teachers', 'Casualty', 'The Alan Clarke Diaries', 'Heartbeat', 'Afterlife', 'My Family', Blah, Blah, Blah. I recently typed out all my appearances (one per line in twelve-point) and, do you know, I do have a list of credits as long as my arm. (See what I've done there - turned metaphorical into literal). Bennett is still one of my best buddies.
So that's how Luna came to be, and I'm immensely proud of the show. I think it deserves a re-run, but does ITV (Carlton), who now own the tapes, have a children's satellite outlet? Who knows, one day we may again laugh at those cheap jokes, many of which haven't been heard since their reprise on Red Dwarf...
See you; over.