Scifibabes on television in the 1970s
The birth of the home computer, the first test-tube baby, video recorders, watches with liquid crystal displays and the first space shuttle flight took the 1970s one step further scientifically. At a similarly prolific rate, we find that the number of sci-fi TV series almost doubled in number over this decade. Here the babes started to build on their independence from the 60s and took on more serious roles, equalling the roles of their male counterparts, and in some cases surpassing them.
One of my favourite TV shows ever, and not just for the babes, although we have plenty of them to show. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of Thunderbirds, made this live action TV series about the constant threat from aliens in the 1980s (far thinking, eh?). We had moonbase, interceptors, great special effects for TV at the time and iconic cars and spaceships. We also had tight outfits, purple hair and lots of silver materials.
For me at least, the sexiest babe was Lt Gay Ellis, played by Gabrielle Drake, a Pakistan-born English actress. Is it the purple hair, the sexy costume of that cute face that does it?
Higher in rank was Col. Virginia Lake, played by Wanda Ventham. She only appeared in a handful of episodes which was a great shame. She played a romantic interest in the series, but also had the serious roles of leader of moonbase and first officer of SHADO, the acronym for the secret agency.
If it wasn't for the fact that she was based on the submarine, Georgina Moon would have been aptly named in this TV series. However, if she wasn't on the sub, then she wouldn't have to wear the standard underwater uniform. Here is Georgina as Lt Sylvia Howell.
Strangely, the IMDb lists Wonder Woman (1974) as Fantasy rather than Sci-fi, but the New Adventures does make it under sub-genres. I think with an invisible spaceship, it qualifies as sci-fi anyway. Lucky for us, too, because we can feast on the curvy Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, as played by Lynda Carter.
As a matter of interest, the idea for a TV series started in 1967, when a pilot called "Who's afraid of Diana Prince?" was filmed, or at least a 5 minute section. It was made by the makers of Batman and was a camp programme, with an unattractive Diana Prince, who saw herself as an attractive Wonder Woman in the mirror. The lovely Linda Harrision, of Planet of the Apes fame, starred as mirror image Wonder Woman. The pilot was never broadcast, quite rightly because it didn't do the character any credit, but Linda or Lynda as Wonder Woman? Hmmmm.. The video is on the internet but rather poor quality, but here's a picture of the mirror image version.
Hoping to follow on from the success of the earlier film, this TV series featured Heather Menzies-Urich as Jessica. Weird that we should be fantasising over someone from the von Trapp family (Yes you got it - she played Louisa in The Sound of Music). Personally I didn't really enjoy the TV series, but then it's up to you at the end of the day...
We met babes from Buck Rogers back in the 1930s, and 40 years on they have become a whole lot sexier. The character Wilma Deering was played by Erin Gray in the pilot Movie and returned to co-star in the TV series, even though she wasn't originally cast for it. Described as "Wonder Woman with brains", she was sexy, spunky and often came to Buck's rescue rather than the other way round.
Princess Ardala Of Draconia was Buck's arch enemy and the main villainess of the film and TV series, here played by Pamela Hensley.
Whilst Wilma appeared in most episodes and Ardala in 4, there were many babes to be seen throughout the TV series, feel free to use the links above for more.
One worthy mention is Miss Cosmos, who appeared in the last episode of 1979, "Cruise ship to the Stars". She was a genetically-engineered woman designed to be the perfect beauty queen. She was played by Dorothy Stratton, who, herself, was a playmate of the month for 1979 and for the year in 1980. She was murdered at the age of 20 by her estranged husband, and only appeared a few times on our screens. Luckily for us we will meet her once again in 1980, and you won't be disappointed, I promise you.
The original Jaimie Sommers was played by the beautiful Lindsay Wagner. Half woman-half cyborg, she worked for the US government after they paid to fix her body following an horrific accident. She has always had that girl-next-door look that I find so charming. Because of that she only just makes it as a "babe", but boy could she kiss ass! An offshoot from the six million dollar man, her value was never mentioned, though in the German version, she was said to be worth seven million dollars - a whole million more!
The original series was such a Star Wars rip-off that it led to many battles in court. The makers counterclaimed that Star Wars had ripped off ideas from them as early as Buck Rogers in the 1930s and the two companies spent many years (and much money) in court. There has been a cult following ever since, and a much bigger section on babes since the reimagined 2003 series was created.
Serina, played by English rose Jane Seymour, was a news reporter-turned pilot. She only appeared in 4 episodes and unfortunately didn't reappear as a character in the later series.
Lt. Athena, played by Maren Jensen, was the only daughter of Commander Adama and sister to Apollo. Her character was both as a bridge officer and pilot. She had few appearances elsewhere and is best known for Battlestar.
Two more characters worthy of mention are Lt. Sheba, played by Anne Lockhart (daughter of June Lockhart of Lost in Space fame) and Cassiopeia, played by Laurette Spang. Sheba was the daughter of the commander of the Pegasus, and following its destruction, she transferred to Galactica as a viper pilot. Cassie, as she was often called, was originally a prostitute who turned into a medtech later in the series and was the romantic link with Starbuck. Since Starbuck became female in the reimagined series, the character didn't survive. I'm sure you will agree that they both look hot in this picture.
It's not often we get a successful sci-fi comedy TV series, but this certainly was. I liked Mindy McConnell, played by Pam Dawber in this show, and found her character to be full of fun. Sure, Robin Williams was the star, and he didn't let you forget that at any time, but Mindy was just sweet - a bit like an older sister, so I'm not sure I can include her.
However, it does give us an opportunity to see the lovely Raquel Welch again. Here she is as the Queen of the Necrotons.
Now I never saw this series, but after researching it, found out that it starred the famous Barnstable twins, Patricia and Cyb. They played Betty and her clone. There are plenty of clips available on the WWW if you want to see more, but I think this picture is pretty sexy anyway (sorry don't know which is which).
In 1977 the Doctor was joined by a new companion, a native barbarian woman called Leela, who has been banished from her tribe. Played by Louise Jameson, Leela helped the Doctor and decided to remain with him where he became her mentor. She was a native warrior with very simple ideas but a willingness to learn and underlying intelligence. Oh..she went around dressed in animal skins...
Probably better known for her role in Dempsey and Makepeace, Glynnis Barber played Soolin, later in the series. She grew up on a lawless planet and killed her parents' murderers at the age of 17. A mix of beauty and ruthlessness, and a sharpshooter trained by the best guns in the galaxy. The only babe I can think of from the series, but if you disagree, please let me know.
This was a classic English TV series with the typically English Joanna Lumley starring as Sapphire, a non-human being with the ability to manipulate time. I remember it being quite radical at the time, but the very gorgeous Joanna, with her English public school accent blew me away. Probably better known for her comedy role or even her support for the Ghurkas, she played this character with confidence and style. Sapphire was an "element" from a different dimension who travelled through corridors of time to ensure that time remains intact. There is something incredibly sexy about her voice that makes her a particular favourite of mine.
Gosh - I can just about remember this TV series, but recall James Doohan (aka Scotty from Star Trek) being in it and that's about it. After some research I rediscovered the lovely Captain Nicole Davidoff, played by Susan Pratt. For all those like me who can only just remember it, feast on this clip from the first episode...
Along similar lines, this is a distant memory, but the starring chimpanzee did ring a bell. A group of scientists travelling to the planet after a terrible eco-disaster due to excessive pollution, oh and of course, nuclear war, aimed to seek out pockets of survivors and help them out. One of these scientists was Ruth, played by Jean Marie Hon.
Time to say farewell to the very busy 1970s. As a young man growing up in the 1970s this was my favourite decade and I am sure that this section can be added to, so I will continue my research when I have free time to make this even bigger and better....
TV series list
Ace of Wands
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Children of the Stones
Doctor Who (1963)
Jason of Star Command
Land of the Giants
Out of the Unknown
Planet Earth (1974)
Planet of the Apes
Sapphire and Steel
The Godzilla Power Hour
The Immortal (1970)
The Man From Atlantis
The Omega Factor
The Star Wars Holiday Special
The Tomorrow People