Corridor from the episode "The Impossible Planet", 10th Doctor, all rights BBC.

Corridor from the Doctor Who episode "The Impossible Planet"

Over at the Den of Geek, Martin Anderson once wrote of his love of Sci-Fi movie corridors, and mentioned that normally that sort of confession got him crickets and tumbleweed.

Well, Sir – I too love a juicy slice of sci-fi corridor!  Those seemingly inconsequential, often ignored, portals from scene to scene – that connective tissue that serves to further underline that THIS is actually connected to THAT, and not just two places lost in time and space (like London Underground stations).

More than that, though – a corridor tells you in a way that a room, or an outdoor scene cannot, what the day to day life of the characters in your universe are like.  They may decorate their bedrooms, they may have incredible holographic displays in their war rooms, they may landscape or leave wild their gardens and exteriors – but a corridor is usually utilitarian and raw.  It tells you “the people here keep things clean” or “this is a place where heavy objects are transported” or “we never had time or inclination to cover up the conduit panels”.

So here’s to the set designers, carpenters and dressers who spend a little more time and thought on the connective stuff – and the directors who let them.  People like Roger Christian, responsible for those unforgettable contrasts and gritty tactile natures of the Nostromo from Alien (as well as worked on Star Wars – the sci-fi that made clean-white 70’s corridors go out of fashion).

Lastly, a nod to the BBC, who have made probably more sci-fi corridors than any other broadcasting company over their long years – and many of them for Doctor Who.  They were often wobbly, made of plywood and paint, and lit slightly differently while pretending to be a completely different corridor, but I love them all anyway.  Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Blake’s Seven, and more.  They make me want to make my own slice of sci-fi corridor – for no reason than to just have one sat in my spare room.  Thank you, corridor crafters one and all.

(Corridor shown above is from the BBC Doctor Who episode “The Impossible Planet“, screen-cappped by Emma-Jane.)