Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun [aka Doppleganger] – Rare Original Photographs And The ‘Real-Life’ Connection To The Cambridge Science Instruments Co. [1969]

Picture above: Ian Hendry (left) and Roy Thinnes (right) in the spaceship from Journey To The Far Side of the Sun (released as Doppleganger in the UK).

Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun – aka Doppleganger [1969]

We start off the new year with an article on some recent finds, this time three original black and white promotional stills – discovered in Belgium – from the Gerry and Aylvia Anderson cult movie, Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.

The film was released as Doppleganger in the UK – which perhaps from a marketing viewpoint was not the most accessible or easily understood title!

Also, have you ever wondered where film-makers source their sci-fi futuristic gadgets, machines and gizmos from for filming? Well the fascinating story below of the ‘real-life’ connection with the Cambridge Science Instruments Co. helps to explain some of the story behind the making of this film.

See also:

Doppleganger in Wikipedia

Ian Hendry, Roy Thinnes and Lyn Loring – Promotional Pictures – Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun

Ian Hendry and Loni Von Friedl – Beach Promotional Picture – Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun

Picture: Ian Hendry in Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun – a serious contender for a caption contest!

Picture: Patrick Wymark stands over an injured Ian Hendry in intensive care.


Cambridge Science Instrument Company – Cambridge News

Some more background on the making of this film came to light recently. In a couple of fascinating recent article in the Cambridge News, the connection between the film and the Cambridge Science Instruments Company was discovered.

Patrick Wymark who played EUROSEC director Jason Webb (Patrick Wymark) convinces NASA representative David Poulson (Ed Bishop) that the West must be the first to send a mission to investigate a mysterious planet located on the same orbitalpath as earth. During the film he is seen in a medical facility with some very futuristic looking machines and gadgets.

The Cambridge News published a picture taken when Patrick Wymark visited the Company and was obviously given a briefing on the machine and it’s various knobs and dials!

Picture: Patrick Wymark looks intense as he is briefed on the machine at the Cambridge Science Instruments Company. Photograph courtesy of Cambridge News archives.

See also:

Cambridge News – Science Fiction and Science Fact

Cambridge News – Cambridge Science Instrument Company and Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun

The first article suggested that the machine was a dummy, made by the company for filming purpsoes. Not so. Alan Osborne saw the article and came forward with the full story about the machine and the film.

The following extract from the second article explains more:

One of our archive photos a few weeks back showed British film star Patrick Wymark being shown some fancy-looking equipment produced by the firm, which was going to be used in the movie Doppelganger, also known as Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun, produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson of Thunderbirds fame.

The company, renowned for making medical gadgets such as electron microscopes, had been drafted in to lend veracity to the 1969 film, a sci-fi story about two astronauts whose mission to a planet beyond the Sun ends in disaster. One of them (played by Ian Hendry) is killed, and the other (Roy Thinnes) survives, only to discover the planet is a mirror image of Earth, where everything is back to front.

We assumed the equipment shown in our photo was just a mock-up, but Alan Osborne, who was one of CSIC’s top designers, has been in touch to explain that it was a genuine piece of medical kit and that the picture of Wymark, in which Alan is the CSIC representative, was taken at Pinewood Studios, where the movie was shot.

Alan Osborne explained:

“The MCPR was a very successful cardiac monitoring instrument which I sold all over the world, even to Dr Christiaan Barnard, the heart transplant pioneer, in the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, who was very much in the news at the time.

Alan said: “It was actually taken as a publicity still on the film set. I spent a week operating the machine, called a multichannel physiological recorder, for them on the set. It was certainly not a dummy, but very much a working production instrument. I remember teaching Cy Grant, the calypso singer and actor who played the technician, how to operate it. In fact one of the consoles was damaged by a stage hand who managed to push it over by catching the wheels in a drain cover. It cost the film company their insurance no claims bonus to fund the repairs.

“Sylvia and Gerry Anderson where still together at this time and I’m afraid the space ship launch shots were very much akin to Thunderbirds production standards and not a patch on today’s CGI techniques.”

Picture: Roy Thinnes and Cy Grant and the machine! Photograph by Alan Osborne

Alan sent in a photo of Roy Thinnes hooked up to the machine (above), with another actor, Cy Grant, operating it.

Alan said: “Cy was also popular at the time as he had a daily slot on TV singing calypsos about current news items. I remember he was desperate to become accepted as a serious actor.

“I initially worked in research and development, helping to design electrocardiographs and similar patient monitoring equipment including the MCPR which featured in the Doppelganger film. Somehow Cambridge Instruments found their way onto the BBC and film company files and it wasn’t just Doppelganger that featured Cambridge medical instruments as props. I was often called to the BBC studios in Wood Lane to provide and operate our medical equipment as practical props for plays and movies. I think over the years I did about five Dr Who episodes, several late night horrors and some Doomwatch programmes.”

Thanks to Cambridge News and Alan Osborne for bringing this story to light.

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute to Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

More From Ian Hendry