MOMENT OF DOUBT flashed across Vincent Regan's mind when he was
first invited to audition for Invasion: Earth, the BBC's new
big budget Science Fiction thriller. "I thought Sci-Fi?"
he says dubiously. "Because one keeps thinking of wobbly sets,
running around in dodgy costumes with funny space guns, but then I
got the scripts and I thought this was brilliant. They're written by
an intelligent writer. It's not a straight rip-off of Independence
Day, there's more to it. There's an emotional context to it, the
characters have emotional groundings, they're not just cut-outs,
like Starship Troopers where they're just bodies to be
blasted by aliens, there's more to it than that."
plays Flight Lieutenant Chris Drake, an RAF pilot sent to intercept
an unidentified object seen in the skies over Britain. When his
aircraft is buzzed by a UFO, there is no doubt in his mind that it
is of extraterrestrial origin. Other members of the military scoff
at his suggestion, but Drake stays true to his conviction and soon
it becomes clear that Earth is caught in the middle of war between
two conflicting alien races. "To do something like this I
thought it was like your childhood dream," he says. "It's
like, 'What do you do for a living, Vincent?' 'Oh, I run around with
a gun chasing aliens'. I've always loved Science Fiction. My
favourite movies are Solaris by Tarkovsky, I liked 2001,
Dark Star by John Carpenter. I've always been a Sci-Fi fan,
but intelligent Sci-Fi, not your usual run of the mill zapping
people. I remember going to Star Wars as a kid, it blew my
mind away, I thought it was fantastic."
list of television credits include some of the most popular
television dramas of recent years, including London's Burning,
Between the Lines, Peak Practice and The Bill.
He is perhaps best known for Call Red, ITV's
highly-publicized, but short-lived emergency drama in which he
co-starred. Despite his relative success in tv, he was not confident
about getting the role in Invasion: Earth. "There must
have been a hundred or so actors up for the part, so I thought I
ain't going to get this, this is a big part. Then I got very scared
when I got this job because it's a big job, carrying a lot of stuff
on my shoulders."
Earth is a major production for the BBC, taking the British
Science Fiction genre as far away from the 'wobbly sets, dodgy
costumes and funny space guns' tradition as possible. It is reported
to be the most expensive series the corporation has ever mounted and
most of the money is on screen. CGI effects inevitably play a big
part in this, notably where the nDs - one of the alien races - break
into Earth's dimension with a burst of energy that presents itself
as a swirling yellow vortex. This is, of course, all added by
computer long after the actors have gone home. "You get four
actors standing together looking at a blue screen and it's very hard
to keep a straight face and you have to act like you're being
attacked by inter-dimensional beings. It was a tricky one, but I
think we pulled it off okay."
Vincent Regan talks more about Invasion: Earth inTV
Zone #103, available now.