Bristol sci-fi series gets its premiere at Cabot Circus
The year is 3034 and the human race, devoid of all emotions, is battling alien beings – in a warehouse in Bristol.
The 15,000sq ft warehouse contains the bridge of a spaceship, a medical bay, crew quarters and 150m of corridors among its 10 stages.
Filming of Starhyke, a six-part science fiction series guest-starring Sir Patrick Moore, took five weeks, but it has taken four years for more than 1,000 special effects to be added at Light Worx, a post-production and effects studio in Kingswood.
It has taken so long because the six episodes of Starhyke had a combined budget of just £800,000 – unlike Doctor Who, which is thought to have a budget of more than £1 million per episode.
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A hefty sum of money came from Starhyke's producer, Jonathan Brown, and its writer and director, Andrew Dymond, who 20 years ago won a national award for a 30-minute short film called Starhyke on which the new series is based.
Andrew, Jonathan and Starhyke's other backers are hoping is they can sell the series to a television channel and make money from DVD sales.
Fans have been waiting a long time for Starhyke to appear. Many have seen parts of episodes at sci-fi conventions and 600 lucky fans will be at the premiere of the entire series at Cinema De Lux in Cabot Circus tomorrow.
They will see exterior shots filmed across Bristol, including Oldbury Court Inn and Dangerfields fish and chip shop in Fishponds and Central Chambers gentlemen's club in St Stephens Street in the city centre – where the alien race goes to relax.
"Filming was certainly a lot of fun," said Andrew, who has worked on television programmes and films including House of Elliot and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
"We have brought a little bit of Hollywood to Bristol. We have got a whole sci-fi set in Fishponds, of all places. That's quite remarkable.
"We have got an international cast, good sets, good comedy. We have given it a really good shot. It looks good, it sounds good, it's a wild ride.
"It also had to be made in Bristol. Bristol is my home and it's here where I started my career as a runner on Casualty. That's why I felt so strongly doing everything here and involving people from the city."
More than 150 people worked on the Starhyke project as actors and crew, including volunteers who signed up after seeing a plea for help in Forbidden Planet shop.
Former Forbidden Planet manager Simon Gilvear played the lead alien with established actors such as Danny John-Jules (Cat in Red Dwarf), Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett in Star Wars) and Brad Gorton (Dan Barratt in London's Burning).
There is also an appearance from Sir Patrick Moore as 'The Oracle', who provides learned advice to the human race dressed in an Ali G-style yellow tracksuit.
Andrew, 38, from Downend, said the completion of Starhyke, proves that hard work and perseverance can yield results.
"We wanted to do something that is different. So many people talk about doing something, but we actually decided to do it and now we have done it," he said.
Producer Jonathan Brown, 37, from Kingswood, formerly a patisserie chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant said four UK channels are discussing broadcast rights for the series.
"Every single day was a struggle but it's now been worth it," he said.
"Starhyke was started at a time when UK channels wouldn't touch a sci-fi project with a very long stick, at a point when new shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica hadn't even begun development.
"Money problems held us back a little along the way and meant that these other shows overtook us, but we're still here and can't wait for the premiere on Saturday. It's about time."
Starhyke is set on Earth in 3034, with humans having wiped out all alien species as a result of a molecular compound which destroys all human emotions, which was designed to stop anger, fear and envy.
Humans begin to threaten the last alien race, the Reptids. But the Reptids develop a biological weapon to re-awaken human emotional consciousness and release it on an Earth time-travel ship.
The crew awaken to find themselves orbiting Earth in 2008 and experience emotions for the first time while trying to get back to their home – and capering around Bristol.