Known and loved in the science fiction world, actor and writer Prentis Hancock took time out for an interview. Although one of the fan favorite characters is from Gerry Anderson’s 1975 spectacular show ‘Space:1999,’ Hancock has a long filmography including several ‘Doctor Who’ episodes, ‘The Protectors,’ ‘The New Avengers,’ ‘Chocky’s Children,’ and countless more television appearances. He is also the author of ‘Spaced-Out’, ‘Voltaire’s Candide’ Greenwich Playhouse Verison, and ‘HOTSHOT – A Chilling Tale.’ Loyal to his fans he keeps in touch through social media and attending conventions.
Colleen Bement: Are you currently working on any projects? Writing? Acting?
Prentis Hancock: Recently, there has been talk of doing Lear in King Lear at Greenwich Playhouse. This would be happening how but there has been a major problem. Without warning, when the lease was due to be renewed, instead, after 20 years, it was withdrawn. So, until they can get a new theatre, the idea is on hold. There are some mutterings about a film but that is in early days. Which leaves time to get on with the autobiography.
CB: As a steadfast and loyal fan to season one of ‘Space:1999,’ I’ve always been in awe of how well made the sets were. They were incredibly real in appearance and quite spectacular for 1975. What was it like to film on those sets?
PH: They were built to last! Main Mission inter-connecting with Koenig’s office was a large set which stood for the complete run of the show. Originally, this was to be 11 months, but in reality, turned out to be 15 months. Parts of the set, built to a modular pattern, could be removed to allow the camera access and to facilitate some permanent lighting. I made a remark on the first day to the effect we could be doing it in wheel chairs one day. We’ll see.
CB: Going way back to 1973 you had played a character named Vaber in Doctor Who, Planet of the Daleks. What was it like to play a part in such an iconic television show?
PH: Just before I started ‘Space:1999’ I played a character, Vaber, in ‘Doctor Who’. An episode of Colditz in which I guest starred opposite Robert Wagner. John and Katy had both seen and liked it, so it was a good day.
CB: Tell me about your books ‘Voltaire’s Candide’ and ‘Hotshot – A Chilling Tale.’ How long have you been a writer and what inspired you to write these works?
PH: I read Candide first while I was doing an Open University degree about 15 years ago. Apart from the sex and violence, I remembered the story as being full of movement, horror, and humanity. It stayed with me and sometime later I awoke one morning and thought to myself, this would make a play. I began work on the adaptation immediately and what emerged was a vehicle, a one-man play in which I played all the parts. After trying out and working it up, it played at Greenwich Playhouse for four weeks. A Time Out London review I got was “Prentis Hancock’s understate performance is infinitely watchable.”
Crazy but I started writing ‘Hotshot’ in 1989. I was looking for something interesting to read to my own daughter, Natasha, so I jotted down a few ideas and contacted a number of publishers. They were helpful but nothing was published. Some years later, out of the blue, I received a beautiful set of illustrations from Phillip Flockhart and began the process again. This time with Lulu, and I changed to Lightning Source who now distribute the books. One writer compares with Roald Dahl, which is very flattering.
CB: Is there any certain composer or type of music that inspires you?
PH: I have no particular composer of type of music that inspires me. I like many kinds. Once in a while I get in to YouTube and go where it leads. Willie Nelson, Nora Jones, Presley, and so on, until it gets to be after midnight.
Hancock’s books can be purchased
Spaced-Out, Voltaire’s Candide Greenwich Playhouse Verison, and HOTSHOT – A Chilling Tale ebooks can be purchased at LuLu.com
Original interview date 2014