SCI-FI BOLDLY GOES INTO REALM OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

DAVID LISTER ON A TV SERIES WITH HIGH MORAL TONES
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The Independent Online
The most expensive series made for British television, and the most technologically advanced, will be the most politically correct yet seen.

Space Precinct, from Gerry Anderson, creator of the massive cult success Thunderbirds, will have a multicultural society in outer space with a deliberately correct ethnic mix among the aliens.

The Creons and Tarns on planet Altor will also display concern for the environment. The creative team admits that science fiction has now boldly gone into dimensions of political correctness where it has never strayed before and say there can be no looking back.

Space Precinct, the result of a decade's work by Mr Anderson, has cost £22m. It will be shown on Sky Television later this month and on the BBC in the autumn. But it has already been sold to virtually every country in the world.

At its core is Mr Anderson's brilliantly simple, but original, idea of combining two of the most popular television genres; the American cop series and the outer space series. Two New York officers are seconded to the other side of the galaxy to continue their police work in a city where many of the residents have ET-style heads, but the dialogue and situations are uncannily similar to New York.

At Pinewood studios yesterday, Mr Anderson, 65, co-producer, was supervising the final stages of filming of what looks an inventive and witty series with much of the humorous charm and potential for cult characters that Thunderbirds had. The technology has moved from the "supermarionation" of the Thunderbirds marionettes to what Mr Anderson calls "Galatronics", animation make-up with actors wearing a latex prosthetic which involves both make-up and fully workable animatronics. The series also features state-of-the-art electronically controlled cameras and the very latest in digital graphics. But it also has a concession to late 20th-century political and social attitudes.

Richard Gregory, who designed the Tarns and Creons, said it was important to give the feeling of "a fully integrated multicultural society on Altor so each script could easily be viewed by the audience in human terms". According to Mr Gregory, science fiction "has to be politically correct now. That's the way it's going".

The series aims to be morally correct. Mr Anderson said they were careful to have all races represented. "Even with the aliens we take care to show that they come in all shapes and sizes... We certainly don't say all humans are good and all aliens are bad. They share the crime across the board."

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