Monday, 1 August 2022

Profession: space hottie

 I was sorry to hear of the death of actress Nichelle Nichols, who is best know for playing Uhura in the early days of Star Trek. My condolences to her family, friends and fans.


Rest peacefully

I am not a Trekkie at all and have little idea of what happened to the show after the first couple of movie spinoffs (which were not very good, in my view). The earliest Star Trek series were revolutionary in conception, even though they usually involved Spock falling in love, Bones being controlled by alien forces, Scottie regularly informing that the engines cannae take any more and Captain Kirk being jovially called Jim by his crew once each adventure had been resolved satisfactorily. It was only later that I realised that casting a black woman as a main character with senior rank was a bit of a first in Hollywood. It seemed unremarkable when I was a kid in funky London, but what makes adults fret is often quite acceptable to children. 

Uhura was the best character, though, because she was intelligent and yet got to wear the daringest costume, even by '60s minidress standards. This gave her endless legs, with red undies on show and smart go-go boots... and yet also responsibility and respect. The future seemed so cool, in a groovy Sixties kind of way.

The space race was on when I was young and we were assured that by 2022 we'd be living in space colonies, Moonbase Psi or Mars Dome 14 or Alpha Centauri Penal Colony (for any remaining bad guys) so the prospect of getting a worthwhile job in space whilst looking hot in uniform seemed a fulfillable dream to an aspiring TGirl like me. And it wasn't just the Uhuras who promoted that notion but the other brainy space babes like Lieutenant Gay Ellis in the series UFO or Trillian in the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy or Jessica 6 in the film Logan's Run and many, many more such fantasies. Coupled with the glam rock era this had a very strong (bad?) influence on my feminine development. It's just as well that too much makeup, an unsuitable wig and an inappropriately short skirt is just not the transgender way, isn't it?!

Gay Ellis from UFO, played by Gabrielle Drake.


We seem to have lost something as a species these days, maybe a sense of purpose, a feeling one time that the future was progressive and attainable; now we seem to be just passive stay-at-home consumers, not aiming for anything specific any more. Maybe that's just my impression but I am genuinely disappointed that my career as a space hottie that seemed so assured can never be realised. Gene Roddenberry, Gerry Anderson, this is all your fault! 

Sue x


  1. Yes, we do seem to have lost something in the last few years.

    But you know, I was looking at some older articles on my computer last night. There was speculation in some that we should expect the reactionaries of the world to have a melt-down. Because they knew they were losing.

    I prefer to think they still know that. I think that's why they're fighting with such desperation.

    That doesn't mean they aren't scary, because they are. And that's what they want to look like. It just feels like a repeat of the late 1960s to me.

    1. Thank you, Christine, that's a reassuring comment as I have been feeling that what you say is true but needed a bit more backup. Sue x

  2. "The future seemed so cool, in a groovy Sixties kind of way."

    I think it was the late Ian M Banks who said of his Culture novels, they'd been written from the view that the good guys had won. The society was liberal, arts focused, and very accepting. If you've not had the pleasure, they're a good read and there's sprinkles of nods towards trans and gay characters.

    "...lost something as a species these days, maybe a sense of purpose..."

    I think Climate Change may wake a few folk up. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I haven't read Ian M Banks so he's now on my To Read list. And, yes, climate change continues to be ignored ... until one day it can no longer be. Sue x

  3. Gabrielle Drake. Be still, my heart...
    It wasn't until later that I learned she was also Nick Drake's sister.

    1. Well, I think young Gabrielle had a profound influence on a lot of young people ... and their dads! I had to look her family tree up just now and you are right, she was Nick's sister. Sue x