Space: 1999 and The Rules of Luton

Here’s a little home town related science fiction oddity.

Like many I have fond memories of scifi TV from my childhood. Those series from the 70’s and 80’s that I grew up watching have helped form a cultural backdrop and set of reference points that I have carried with me into adult life. Not least because so many of my friends are involved in Who or other fandom at one level or another.

I loved Doctor Who, Hitchhiker’s Guide, Blake’s 7 and of course Star Trek. But one series I couldn’t get into was Space: 1999.

It might have been the Kubrick influenced visuals or the sternness of the lead characters but I remember as a kid feeling that the series was cold and more than a little sinister. Also I didn’t really buy into the whole “moon knocked out of orbit” thing. This impression has put me off revisiting it as an adult. Although I have been told I am not missing much.

Yet this has also meant that until recently I was unaware of the curious Luton related fact that the town appears in one of the episodes. Well strictly speaking the name “Luton” features.

In an episode called “The Rules of Luton” broadcast in October 1976 the travellers from Moon Base Alpha come across a planet called Luton and fall foul of the laws of its inhabitants.

I am not sure whether any inference should be drawn from the fact that the inhabitants of “Luton” are intelligent plant based life forms!

Apparently the American writer of the episode saw the name on a road sign and liked the look of it.


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