International Women’s Day has inspired us to remember some truly great women and their space (television) programmes…
The Jetsons (1962-1963, 1985-1987)
Essentially Hanna Barbera’s The Flintstones set in a space-age future rather than a prehistoric past, gadget-loving Jane was the matriarchal voice of reason in your typical (post?) nuclear family of husband, wife, a daughter, a son and a dog. That’s quite a job, especially when your husband in George Jetson. Still, with all that tech to help you around the home – including a robot named Rosie, of course – things are going to run fairly smoothly. Right?
Doctor Who (1963-1989)
The first ever companion for the good Doctor, Susan was actually his granddaughter. Known variously as ‘Susan Campbell’, ‘Susan English’ and ‘Susan Foreman’ (hmm, what was she hiding?), it has also been said that her birth name was actually the Gallifreyan ‘Arkytior’. We’re not expert enough in Whovian lore to say that with any certainty though, so please feel free to correct us. Susan – or whatever her name is – appeared in 53 episodes of the sci-fi classic.
Lost in Space (1965-1968)
Being goodness knows where in space is an incredibly long way from New York City, but this is where Dr Maureen (she was a qualified biochemist) found herself – physically, not spiritually. It was supposed to be a relatively simple prospect – colonising Alpha Centauri with hubby John, their three kids, a robot and a pilot – however nobody counted on Dr Smith (cue green alien girl) sabotaging the 84-episode mission. Nice one, you bumbling booby!
Star Trek (1966-1969)
If we were looking for a brilliant comms officer we’d find it hard to go past Uhura (whose name was derived from the Swahili ‘uhuru’, meaning ‘freedom’). For 70 episodes she wasn’t just a wiz at her listed gig, she could also take over the helm in times of need – and, as Captain Kirk would likely attest, she was a wicked kisser. After the success of the series, NASA successfully employed Nichols to help recruit minority and female personnel for their Space Shuttle program.
Space: 1999 (1975-1977)
Possibly attracted to the awesome Eagle spaceships, initially icy American Dr Helen Russell was assigned to Moonbase Alpha as the head medico. Once there she was also attracted to the base’s Captain Koenig, and they started bumping uglies. Considering that the moon spun out of orbit and started shooming through space, it’s surprising how her cold demeanour thawed over the 48 episodes. Hmm, reminds us of a teacher we once had who got married over the break and changed completely…
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1981)
Having ditched Arthur Dent at a party in Islington, Tricia – or ‘Trillian’, which she adopted as it sounds more space-like – heads into space with two-headed, three-armed hoopy frood and former President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox. A wickedly smart astrophysicist, one might wonder what Trillian saw in the totally self-possessed Beeblebrox, but ah, good girls dig bad boys. Luckily, she could tell the difference between him being genuinely stupid and just pretending. Well, most of the time…