Space:1999 was one of the more memorably scary Anderson shows (at least in its first season), and many of these scares came from the various horrific deaths endured by multiple unfortunate guest Alphans. From being eaten alive by a fire-breathing alien dragon, to sudden instant freezing, and an inordinate amount of brain damage, the show pulled no punches in presenting some extremely unpleasant ways to go out – but just how many Alphans did die (or otherwise depart the base) during the course of the series?
In this list we’ll examine that question, starting with the first season and with the number of Moonbase Alpha personnel given during the post-Breakaway newscast in the show’s first episode; 311. This figure almost certainly reflects the last personnel total released to the public rather than a truly accurate reflection of post-Breakaway survivors (since the pre-Breakaway ‘virus deaths’ were clearly not public knowledge and Alpha lost all contact with Earth following the explosion so weren’t in a position to report anything) – but it’s the only figure we have to work with!
Nuclear waste disposal area worker Jim Nordstrom is the first on-screen casualty of Space:1999, although we soon learn that eight other men have already died from the condition that drove him fatally insane.
Eric Sparkman and Frank Warren, pilots assigned to the Meta Probe project, later die of the same causes during the episode.
Eagle pilot Collins, who also succumbs to the same brain damage, is not actually seen to die on-screen but we can safely assume he did not survive long, giving us a dozen men killed by the effects of magnetic radiation.
Additionally, four Eagle pilots are shown to be killed during the Breakaway explosion itself; we can assume there were more, but no precise numbers are given.
This episode also features two arrivals on Alpha and one departure; although not confirmed on screen, we can safely assume that Anton Gorski returned to Earth soon after the arrival of John Koenig since had he remained he would undoubtedly have had some prominent role in Alpha’s command structure post-Breakaway.
Commissioner Simmonds later visits the base to oversee the dispersal of nuclear material and is stranded there when the Moon is blown out of orbit. For the purposes of this list, we’ll assume that the crews of the Eagles that ferried these personnel to and from the Moon were also on Alpha during the Breakaway event.
From the starting figure of 311 we can deduct the 12 magnetic radiation victims, the 4 exploded astronauts and the 1 departed Gorski, bringing Alpha’s population down to 294. Adding the arrivals of Koenig and Simmonds brings us up to 296.
Eagle pilot Mike Ryan is killed when his Eagle strays too close to the black sun and is destroyed.
Moonbase Alpha population = 295 (-1)
Ring around the Moon
Ted Clifford is taken over by the Tritonians at the beginning of the episode, but his brain is soon overloading to the point of fatal meltdown.
Eagle pilot Donovan is also killed during an ill-fated attempt by he and Carter to land an Eagle on the Tritonian energy sphere.
Moonbase Alpha population = 293 (-2)
Commissioner Simmonds departs Alpha aboard the Kaldorian spaceship as it resumes its journey towards the Earth – and pays a memorably terrible price for forcing his way aboard the craft. While Simmonds almost certainly died aboard the ship, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he was rescued off-screen – especially considering two of the actors playing Kaldorians are seen reacting to his frantic screams for help! Regardless of whether Simmonds was released from his tomb or not however, the Kaldorian ship was clearly out of Eagle range so his departure still meant one fewer mouth for Alpha to feed.
Moonbase Alpha population = 292 (-1)
Another Time Another Place
Regina Kesslann grows a second brain during the Moon’s encounter with the spatial anomaly that duplicates it, and is killed by the resulting physical and mental trauma.
Moonbase Alpha population = 291 (-1)
Guardian of Piri
Arriving in Medical Centre for a simple blood transfusion, Sarah Graham dies when Piri’s disruption of Alpha’s Main Computer interrupts her blood supply.
Moonbase Alpha population = 290 (-1)
Force of Life
Possessed by a force from space, technician Anton Zoref is transformed into a energy-draining entity that is soon wreaking deadly havoc on Alpha.
His first victim is a colleague, Mark Dominix.
Victim #2: medical orderly Hilary Preston.
Victim #3: an unnamed guard.
The creature Zoref has become is eventually driven off the base once it has consumed enough energy, although it is technically possible to count this as a departure rather than a death; the man himself is gone, but what he became lives on elsewhere.
Moonbase Alpha population = 286 (-4)
This episode focuses on the first birth on Alpha; Jackie Crawford, son of Jack and Sue. We’re told Jack Crawford died “seven months ago”, and without a wider frame of reference it is possible that he died before the Moon left orbit, although that would presume that Sue Crawford would choose (or even be permitted) to raise a baby on a pre-Breakaway Alpha. Since that seems unlikely, we’ll assume that Jack was an off-screen post-Breakaway death.
Jackie eventually dies to be reborn as the alien Jarak, although he is reverted to a live baby following the defeat of Jarak and his followers. Jackie’s mother Sue Crawford is also killed by the aliens but resurrected by the end of the story, so neither deaths count towards the final total.
Moonbase Alpha population = 286 (-1) (+1)
Eagle pilot Steve Abrams is killed by the Queller drive powering the space probe Voyager 1.
The drive’s creator Ernst Queller later sacrifices himself in order to use Voyager to stop the Sidon fleet from destroying Alpha.
Moonbase Alpha population = 284 (-2)
The Full Circle
The dead caveman discovered aboard Eagle 6 is eventually revealed to be the craft’s original Alphan pilot, Sandos.
Moonbase Alpha population = 283 (-1)
End of Eternity
Eagle pilot Mike Baxter is driven insane by the visiting alien psychopath Balor, and dies while assaulting Commander Koenig.
Moonbase Alpha population = 282 (-1)
The Troubled Spirit
Doctor James Warren of Alpha’s hydroponics unit is the first victim of the vengeful future spirit of Dan Mateo, unleashed during a seance held among Mateo’s colleagues as part of an attempt to telepathically communicate with plants.
Laura Adams, also of the hydroponics department, is the second victim of the vengeful Mateo spirit.
Mateo himself dies while trying to fight off his own ghost at the end of the episode.
Moonbase Alpha population = 279 (-3)
Eagle pilots Wayland and Cousteau are crushed with their Eagle while investigating the space brain.
Their colleague Kelly later falls under the mental influence of the entity, and is unable to be saved during the Moon’s subsequent journey through it.
Moonbase Alpha population = 276 (-3)
Mission of the Darians
Security guard Bill Lowry is placed into the recycling plant of the spaceship Daria and disintegrated.
Moonbase Alpha population = 275 (-1)
Finally given a chance to face down the creature that destroyed his crew aboard the Ultra Probe, Tony Cellini puts up a brave fight but is ultimately consumed by the monster.
Moonbase Alpha population = 274 (-1)
The Testament of Arkadia
Influenced by unknown forces, Luke Ferro and Anna Davis abandon Alpha to begin a new life on Arkadia, the ancestral home of humanity itself.
Moonbase Alpha population = 272 (-2)
With the sole exception of Helena Russell, everybody on Moonbase Alpha is killed by the Moon’s explosive proximity to the anti-matter world of Terra Nova during Matter of Life and Death. This event is later reversed.
The John Koenig, Alan Carter, Regina Kesslann and Helena Russell of the duplicate Moonbase Alpha created during Another Time Another Place die during the events of that episode – but did they ever really exist?
128 Alphans (including Doctor Mathias) are confirmed casualties of the alien attack in War Games. Commander Koenig is killed but willed back to life by Helena Russell, while Alan Carter is also killed in an Eagle explosion. These deaths are all averted when time is reset and the Alphans are given a second chance to avoid making the mistakes that led to the conflict.
Several laser tanks and Eagles are destroyed during Gwent’s visit to the Moon in the episode The Infernal Machine. However, beyond the reasonable assumption that somebody must have been manning those craft, we can’t detract any number from Alpha’s remaining population since we don’t see their pilots.
Finally, we have a character who appears to have had a miraculous off-screen resurrection following the events of End of Eternity, in which a nurse seen working in the Medical Centre receives a fatal touch from Balor. Her death seems to be all but confirmed when Doctor Russell reports the incident to Koenig; “One of our orderlies…Balor is a cold-blooded killer!” However, since the same nurse (played by Judith Hepburn, wife of Anton ‘Doctor Mathias’ Phillips) returns in three subsequently filmed episodes she either got better, had only been injured, or reports of her death were greatly exaggerated.
As mentioned at the start of this article, Moonbase Alpha’s population is 311 according to the Earth news report in Breakaway; later first season episodes would give an approximation of either 300 or “more than” 300 people on the base. However, we end the first season with only 272 personnel left following 42 confirmed on-screen deaths or departures, again working on the safe (but not guaranteed) assumption that the radiation deaths in Breakaway never became public knowledge on Earth so the figure of 311 was out of date to start with. While this may unfairly boost the tally of confirmed deaths, this list is perhaps a best case scenario, since we’ll never know precise numbers of off-screen fatalities during the Breakaway itself, Gwent’s attack, or any other unseen incidents. That also works in reverse as well, of course, since we don’t (yet) know if any more births were boosting Alpha’s population count off-screen!
TO BE CONTINUED IN YEAR TWO…