SF/horror/fantasy author Richard Matheson dies at the age of 87. His novels and short stories have been fodder for Hollywood for over half a century, including I Am Legend (which, in addition to the Will Smith adaptation, had also been translated into The Last Man On Earth and The Omega Man, and is often credited as a primary influence in zombie fiction), What Dreams May Come, Somewhere In Time (inspired by the story “Bid Time Return”), A Stir Of Echoes and Duel (which inspired a TV movie which was Steven Spielberg’s first major directorial effort). Matheson also wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone (including Nightmare At 20,000 Feet, which was remade for Twilight Zone: The Movie), Star Trek (The Enemy Within), Amazing Stories, The Outer Limits and The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler (the pilot movies for what became the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker). Other movies inspired by his work included Trilogy Of Terror and The Box.
A risky spacewalk at the International Space Station is called off hurriedly, with astronaut Mike Fincke already through the open hatch. The oxygen container on Fincke’s spacesuit is the cause for concern, as mission controllers in Russia note that its pressure is rapidly dropping. Fincke and mission commander Gennady Padalka were en route to replace a circuit breaker, but due to a variety of other problems aboard the station they were exiting the station via the Russian-built airlock at the opposite end of the station from the breaker’s destination, requiring a 45-minute journey from one end of the station to the other. The spacewalk, rescheduled for a later date, will leave the station unoccupied with its entire crew outside for only the second time since the station became operational.
The Soviet Union launches the Soyuz T-6 mission on a week-long flight into orbit, including a visit to space station Salyut 7. Cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov, Aleksandr Ivanchenkov and Jean-Loup Chretien – the latter being the first Frenchman in space – spend several days aboard Salyut 7 performing experiments. Chretien would fly on later missions aboard Mir and the American Space Shuttle.
ITV airs the seventh episode of the HTV West-produced children’s fantasy series Into The Labyrinth, co-created by Bob Baker (Sky, Doctor Who, K-9) and starring Ron Moody and Pamela Salem. This episode concludes the first season’s storyline, while leaving the characters open to further adventures.
The 168th episode of Doctor Who airs on the BBC. This is the second Doctor’s second and final encounter with the Daleks, and this story also introduces Deborah Watling as new companion Victoria Waterfield. This episode is now missing from the BBC’s archives.
British broadcaster ABC airs an episode of the play anthology series Armchair Theatre, Dumb Martian, adapted by Clive Exton from a story by John Wyndham. Originally intended to be the pilot of an all-science-fiction anthology called Out Of This World, this episode is aired as an episode of Armchair Theatre by a decision from producer (and future Doctor Who creator) Sydney Newman, whose protege, Irene Shubik, will be the new anthology’s story editor. Out Of The World begins its short run on ABC a week later. This episode no longer exists in the archives.