Captain Zep – Space Detective – Terrible TV

Wow… easily one of the worst kids televisions programs of the 80’s.

It almost remains unique it that it manages to be dire, poorly acted, cheap, stupid AND patronizing – all at the same time.

I watched the first show, aged 12, in almost utter disbelief. This is a show that was so spendthrift that it only have three actors (term used loosely) and the rest of the “stories” protagonist are made up of cartoon characters; in the style of 1970’s French sci-fi art. The results are best savored ever stone cold sober as a warning or drunk, for amusement.

It was so terrible that the BBC appear to have deleted it from history; or at least it looks that way. The only mentions on the BBC.CO.UK website are from forum posts of people saying how terrible it is.


  1. This program wasn’t any where near as bad as said, it was quite deliberately tongue in cheek, it wasn’t deliberately cheap either, and visually it looked spacey and very futuristic for being filmed late 82′, the space model flying scenes of zeps ship were easily the best, and most fluid looking, And modern sequences the bbc had ever shot at that time, think the much later red dwarf who took that kind of model filming on, and it was a quirky good progressive idea at the time, i know folk who really liked it fine, it was good enough storytelling, and the detective element was fun with audience participation, and i would watch it if a dvd release ever happens

    • Hi Sarah and thanks for your point of view. I wonder, if it’s not too rude, if I could ask how old you were when the show was on? I think that might be a major factor as to how fondly you remember it.

      I will agree with you on the actual flow of the spaceships. They were quite good. But what I could never understand is why

      a) The show wasn’t entirely animated
      b) Why choose those three actors.

      You say the actors played it “tongue in cheek” but that’s not the way it was talked about and it’s certainly not how Paul Greenwood talked about the role; going even as far as announcing it was a hit before the second show hit the screen. Oops.

      It was cancelled at just 12 episodes and many couldn’t believe it made two seasons.

      But then again, not many shows can claim a total re-cast and re-boot after only six episodes. Greenwood was canned and replaced by Richard Morant, Tracey Childs replace Harriet Keevil and only Ben Ellison remained… and he was the worst actor of the lot!

      My point is that while the premise is fantastic, the execution on the whole was dreadful and worst of all, treated the audience like idiots. Each “mystery” had one obvious problem to solve and the script dragged on and on with mock heroic bullcrap as shown in the clip.

      It had the potential to be ground breaking, clever and thought provoking and it was none of those. Which is why I seriously thought it was terrible then and still do.

  2. I was 17 when the show first aired, and I have all of it on video from the time it was shown perfectly preserved on scotch video tape.
    I Feel that it Seems to me (only my gentle humble opinion as a female) that you take it analytically far too seriously.
    Fine, the show isn’t for you, and as we are both different it is fine to disagree don’t you think?
    But I and others (folk that I know, and whom I recently showed it to) who read your response to me, well they see it rather differently.
    They didn’t think it perfect, but agreed that it was an interactive tv concept and had more going for it as such and it puts it as ahead of the rather dull child times of 81-82.
    You are pulling it apart rather much!
    For a man who says he does not like or ‘understand’ the show in ways for your reasons? You sure have Rather a Lot to say about Something you Don’t Like?, so perhaps to make you less stressed, best not to watch it or talk of it I feel?
    Perhaps it is response and the chatting that you wish to avail of? Lonliness perhaps? I may be wrong, but hey I am very happy, than right, any day..
    I like its whole style, I take the show as it is, I don’t compare it to today, it wasn’t made today, I like the inventiveness And lol, the scorpio seats recovered in that fabric! Haha I just enjoy it, I don’t agonize over its verity’s or percieved lack off?
    Its just good colourful futuristic fun to me, simple harmless plots, its relative calmness to todays drivel, and it IS tongue in cheek in ways wether admitted or Not.
    Hope you are well
    Saran zioux.

    • Just a few thoughts on what you wrote. So because we don’t have the same opinion I’m therefore lonely and should not say how I feel. Well, that’s rude :P.

      I mean everybody is welcome to their opinion, it’s just that yours is wrong. 😉 he he he

      81-82 isn’t an excuse for this show to be terrible either. But as for the tongue in cheek nature, I’m not sure Paul Greenwood is taking it that way.

      All is well 😉 Hope you’re having a fun time.


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