Masters of Venus

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Masters of Venus is a 1962 [1] British science fiction film serial in 8 parts, made by the Children's Film Foundation for cinema distribution as a Saturday morning serial for children. It's directed by Ernest Morris, and stars Norman Wooland, Mandy Harper and Robin Stewart. [2] It was made in black-and-white.


The screenplay concerns two children who are accidentally launched into space in a rocket built by their father, and land on the planet Venus. It was distributed as a weekly serial for Saturday morning cinema clubs, presented in eight 16-minute parts, each of which ends on a cliffhanger. The complete serial has a running time of 133 minutes (2 hours 13 minutes). [3]

In the 1950s and 1960s this type of serial was common, as a 'B' feature shown before the intermission, which was followed by a full-length feature film. Many such serials were made, by the Children's Film Foundation among others.


The rocket Astarte is prematurely fired into space by Venusian saboteurs. On board are two children. When the rocket ends up on Venus, they experience a sequence of Flash Gordon style adventures, in a civilisation which consists of the super-advanced survivors of Atlantis. Ultimately, by their intervention, war between Earth and Venus is averted. Suspense is built up quite well in the early instalments, thanks to the mystery surrounding the motives of the saboteurs, and also because the rocket doesn't actually reach Venus until part 4. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Within the overall title of Masters of Venus, each of the eight parts also had an individual chapter title.

One of the regular characters, the Venusian girl Sunia (or Marla, according to other sources), was played by the 16-year-old [9] Zienia Merton, [10] who later in her career would appear on television with William Hartnell in Doctor Who (in the 1964 serial Marco Polo), and with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain in Gerry Anderson's sci-fi series Space:1999 (1975–77), as series regular Sandra Benes.

The plot revolved around two types of Venusians, a group of five-fingered ones and a group of six-fingered ones. All the actors playing the latter had to wear gloves, to simulate 6 fingers, and as a pair could not be found small enough for Zienia the Director simply told her to just keep her hands clasped, and not to point at anything. [11]


  1. Sabotage [12]
  2. Lost in Space
  3. The Men With Six Fingers
  4. The Thing in the Crater
  5. Prisoners of Venus
  6. The Killer Virus
  7. Kill on Sight
  8. Attack


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  1. @themindrobber (26 November 2018). "In case anyone is interested about the spurious claims that Masters of Venus was released earlier than 1962, it's r…" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  2. "BFI | Film & TV Database | MASTERS OF VENUS (1962)". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  3. "Captain Video". Archived from the original on 8 May 2001.
  4. [ dead link ]
  5. "Sixties City - Science Fiction Films of The Sixties - 1962". Archived from the original on 22 April 2001.
  6. "E! Online - Movie Facts - Masters of Venus (1962)". Archived from the original on 19 February 2001.
  7. "Science Fiction Films & Shows". Archived from the original on 6 September 2004.
  8. "Masters of Venus: Children's Film Foundation".
  9. @themindrobber (26 November 2018). "And I can also refute the claim that Zenia Merton was 14 during production. This article states she was 16, which s…" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  10. "The Zienia MERTON WEB page - Biography". Archived from the original on 12 April 2000.
  11. "Zienia Merton Interview part 1". Archived from the original on 24 October 2000.
  12. "Masters of Venus". IMDb .