Orion Group History
1 9 8 2 June. Joe Beedell goes to his local paper the "Evening Echo" about starting a Television Sci-Fi Club, the story hits the paper with the headline "Joseph Calling All Sci-Fi Fans" He gets 40 phone calls over six hours and a group first have a meeting on June 27th Joe Beedell the founder of Fandom in Southend 40 years ago. © Newsquest/Evening Echo 1982 July. The group attend the first showing of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan in costumes made by themselves Left to right, Joy Leonard, Sharon Davids, Joe Beedell, Phillip Birch and Danny Cohen August. Plans are made to hold a large meeting at Southend Library. We attend a book signing at Terry’s Bookshop September. A public meeting is held at Southend Library in the lecture room its advertised on Essex Radio, Sefact, Evening Echo, plus by posters around town the meeting is a large success for the group October. We attend our first Westminster comic convention the next day the group start to have weekly meetings plus later in that month, we put a video together which is still in existence today but is kept under wraps! SF In Essex, The Video ©1982 December. We have a small party the first of many as it would turn out! 1 9 8 3 January. The club has an open evening at Southend Library March. Plans are made to put a Fanzine out in June, Editors: Joe Beedell and Chris Deakins, the Fanzine is called EMINAR May. A new SF Bookshop, Perilous Dreams opens in Southend June. Our fanzine Eminar is out today at a page count of 40 pages, 70 issues are printed all together, we go to Southchurch Park and have a sales table. Our 1st Birthday party started 5pm and ended 2am all went well! June 28th Tuesday 7.00pm. The Cork and Cheese pub...The first meeting of the alternative SF group takes place, Joe Beedell goes along to meet Dave Harwood and Ashley Watkins the founders July. The Beccon Convention members of both groups go along and have a good time! September. It is decided that the name of the 1st group is to be changed to SF in Southend October. Chris Deakins starts work on the second Fanzine name to be decided. Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone begins showing on BBC2 from the 1959 1st season November. Sky TV starts broadcasting December. Mark Birch tells Joe Beedell that a new name and new direction might be just what the first group needs (the name ORION is picked) 1 9 8 4 January. Work starts on the new format for the new club ORION it will cater for fans of the following TV shows: Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Lost In Space-Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants “I know we had our critics and I and my co directors had to pull out all the stops to make things right, I was shocked at what we were able to do as a group in the United Kingdom, because we did stand out as something that had not been done before…..”Joe Beedell “Somewhere sometime on this planet someone in front of a television set will be enjoying the work of these men and the talent working with them for they have fulfilled their commitment to entertain and inspire us their audience. Their work will continue to entertain many generations to come, they will be much missed by all they entertain and their work will continue to touch someone’s life and enrich it” “No one in the United Kingdom had at that time ever ran a fan club for the shows that ORION covered” Joe Beedell Dec 1983 we found a gap in the market…..we were in the dark and there was not a lot of information about at that time apart from VHS copies of the shows so we took it from there……. February. The Co Directors are as follows: Joe Beedell, Sharon Davids, Mark Birch, Chris Deakins April. Orion’s first newsletter is released, Joe meets Richard Holliss at Forbidden Planet 2 in London and tells him all about the club, and Richard tells Joe that he will plug the club in a soon to be issued magazine Starburst in his TV Zone page May. Orion Fanzine No 1 is released, Joe and Chris are Co-Editors June. Orion 2nd newsletter is sent out, The Alternative SF Group 1 year old July. Chris Deakins starts work on Orion Fanzine No 2 August. Starburst No 72 is out with the plug for Orion, over the following two months we get loads of letters asking for details of membership! V starts showing on ITV September. Orion’s 3rd newsletter is sent out Orion Fanzine No 2 is done and sent out with a new cover by Paul Duncan and new logo by Sean O Sullivan October. Work starts on our 4th newsletter which will have Voyage fiction by Joan Hobbs December Orion 3rd Xmas party 1 9 8 5 January. Alan Sullivan becomes a co-director of the club Orion has an open day at Coleman St Day Centre Orion newsletter 4 sent out February. Orion Fanzine No 3 is completed and sent out April. Orion newsletter 5 is sent out June. Orion Fanzine No 4 completed A letter writing campaign is started to get our shows back on British TV The Alternative SF Group 2 years old July. Orion newsletter 6 completed Orion has it's 1st mini convention over 20 fans attend from all over the U.K. August. Orion No 5 Fanzine completed News is received from the U.S.A. that CBS have plans to start a new Twilight Zone series September. Lost in Space starts showing on Sky TV from the second season colour episodes Orion newsletter 7 completed Work starts on Fanzine No 6 October. Channel 4 buys the rights to 52 episodes of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone to be shown during 1986 Carol Serling joins us as a Hon Member November. Orion newsletter 8 completed December. Orion Party 1 9 8 6 January. Orion newsletter completed February. Orion Fanzine No 6 completed March. Orion newsletter 10 completed June. The Alternative SF Group 3 years old & Rod Serlings Night Gallery Pilot is shown on Anglia TV July. Work starts on Orion Fanzine No 7 August. Land Of The Giants starts showing on Sky TV September. Plans are made to have an ORICON 87 October. Orion newsletter 11 completed December. Orion Party 1 9 8 7 January. Orion newsletter 12 completed February. The Time Tunnel Starts showing on Sky TV March. Orion newsletter 13 completed Channel 4 buy all 83 episodes of Lost In Space for showing from October 1988 also they get a option to buy all the Irwin Allen Series June. Orion 3 years old, the Alternative SF Group 4 years old September. Orion newsletter 14 completed October 5-7th. Miracle Con Takes place with Joe Beedell on the committee December. Orion Party 1 9 8 8 March. Lost in Space starts to air on Channel 4 its first showing on network television since 1965 April. Orion newsletter 15 completed July. Twilight Zone on Channel 4 August. The Invaders re-airs on BBC 2 September. Orion newsletter 16 completed October. Midcon 88 1 9 8 9 January. Twilight Zone 5th season on Channel 4 and Lost In Space getting 3.5 million viewers in the 1pm Sunday time slot August. Time Tunnel starts on TVS late at night October. Star Trek V Film, The New Twilight Zone Starts to air on ITV late nights Midcon 89 Night Gallery is shown in some ITV regions 1 9 9 0 January. Sky Lost in Space's 3rd re-screening Monday to Friday 5pm February. Spindrift Land of the Giants Society starts up March. Giants Log starts up April. British Satellite Broadcasting show Outer Limits uncut October. Midcon 90 BSkyB merger 1 9 9 1 Jonathan Harris comes to London on the 13th September Lost In Space on video, Lost In Space comic goes on sale with a circulation of over 60.000 Time Tunnel on Channel 4 6pm Thursdays Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea On Channel 4 from season 1 Midcon 91 1 9 9 2 Orion 10th anniversary meeting Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea is moved to the 10.45 am slot The Sea view crew starts up. The Astral Traveller starts up Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea finishes, it to be replaced by Land of the Giants starting in January 1993 Midcon 92 1 9 9 3 Land of the Giants 2nd showing on Channel 4, Outer Limits on Sky One, Star Trek TNG 4, 5, 6, seasons on Sky One, The Flash on Sky One, The Twilight Zone on Bravo for a 132 episode run from 4th October 1993 20th Anniversary Star Trek Con Midcon 93 1 9 9 4 Voyage 94 convention. The first Voyage three day event 1995 South Trek 95, 700 attend (See Also Southend Timeline Lost Events South Trek) 1997 Voyage 97 South Trek 97 held on Southend Pier over three days 3500 fans attend 1998 Voyage in Person, Lost In Space from New Line Cinema 2002 Orion’s 20th Anniversary 2500 meetings of the local group have now taken place since 1982 this includes the fannish alternative group meeting as well to that date 2004 Orion Party 2005 Orion Party 2008 Orion Party in Kings Lynn 2011 The Irwin Allen shows on DVD Joseph Beedell moves away from Southend-on-Sea in March to County Durham 2012 Orion’s 30th anniversary meeting is held in Southend 2015 All the series are all on DVD and Blu Rays are coming out now 50th Anniversary of Lost in Space 2016 Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s first live action TV show UFO now on Network Blu ray, Joseph Beedell provides an extra interview with Ed Bishop, first pressing sold out sales very good over 500 reviews give the thumbs up for this set and it’s been a best seller still seven years later 2019 Plans for Orion’s 40th anniversary Launch of the website orion@40.com 2022 Joseph Beedell returns to Southend-on-Sea from 21st-26th June for 1 week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Orion Group first meeting and his 60th birthday celebrations part 1 down South, part 2 is up North in August For more information visit www.orion@40.com

Southend Timeline Southend-on-Sea © 2009 - 2022. All Rights Reserved

Fanzine EMINAR Artwork Cover by Warren Ellis
Orion Fanzine No 1
Orion Fanzine No 2
Orion Fanzine No 3
Orion Fanzine No 4
Orion Fanzine No 5
Orion Fanzine No 6
Orion Fanzine No 7
Orion Fanzine No 9
Orion Fanzine No 8
South Trek 97
Photo June 1983 Top Row: S. Biggs, G. Storie, M. Birch, J. Murphy, P. Birch. Middle Row: J. Goldsmith, Chris Deakins, J. Beedell, J. Bishop, D. Marks
by Joe Beedell
Southend-on-Sea’s No 1 History Website! Documenting The Town & The Townspeople
Now Incorporating The Sea Of Change Website
Website Info:
Chalkwell ▪ Eastwood ▪ Leigh-on-Sea ▪ Prittlewell ▪ Shoeburyness ▪ Southchurch ▪ Thorpe Bay ▪ Westcliff-on-Sea