Naturally enough, as an impressionable seven or eight year old, Penny Robinson (as played by Angela Cartwright) of TV show Lost In Space made far more of an impact on me than did her older, more glamorous sister Judy. I knew I shouldn’t like her – she was a girl, dammit! – but I did. She played her part so appealingly. And that voice – delivered with such perfect diction, so strangely alluring!
Looking back now at the episodes on DVD, it’s especially those old episodes that feature Penny that are my favourites. Not just because she’s front and centre, but because they’re quite good. Episodes like The Magic Mirror and Mr Nobody resonate with a combination of myth, fairy tale and metaphor that’s quite potent even today – at least, I think so.
Then in the early Nineties along came the comic book series of Lost In Space. It featured stories, sometimes written by original cast members, that moved the series further on from the three seasons that aired. One interesting develop was the revelation, early on, that Dr Smith’s ’16 Aeolius Umbra’ were actually aliens from Alpha Centauri trying to sabotage the Jupiter mission! Another development, denied us by the series cancellation, was getting to see Penny as she grows into young womanhood. To paraphrase Dr Smith: Oh the Pen’, oh the Pen’!