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UFO

1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
26 x 60 minute episodes

The year is 1980 (The future!). The place is Earth. Aliens in spinning, pyramid-shaped UFO’s are raiding the planet for human body parts to maintain their sterile race.

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Trying to stop them is SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation), a secret international outfit with a base under the Harlington-Straker TV studios in London

The boss of SHADO is divorced ex-USAF pilot, Ed Straker (pictured below left) – played by Ed Bishop who supplied the voice of Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. His chief aides are Colonel Alec Freeman (George Sewell) and Colonel Paul Foster.

In order to combat the UFO’s, SHADO has an impressive line-up of vehicles and hardware. A satellite early warning system called SID (Space Intruder Detector), a submarine/aircraft called Skydiver and tank-like SHADOmobiles to pursue any UFO’s which land on Earth.

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The rarely seen alien pilots of the UFO’s wear helmets filled with green washing-up liquid.

UFO was Gerry Anderson’s first TV series using real people instead of puppets and the first explicitly aimed at adults. Unfortunately, the TV stations did not like it and played it in “sleeper” spots late at night (they even withheld the episode ‘The Long Sleep’ because of an LSD sequence).

Season Two of UFO was eventually cancelled to make way for Space: 1999. In retrospect, this was extremely unfortunate as UFO was superior space drama with tension and excitement a-plenty.

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The scriptwriting was imaginative, thought-provoking and entertaining. At times the acting was on a par with the marionettes of Anderson’s previous series, although Space: 1999 would prove worse.

There were some interesting cast members, including Peter Gordeno (better known as a TV dancer) and Ayshea Brough (host of the TV pop programme Lift off with Ayshea). Actor/writer Steven Berkoff even turned up in one episode.

ufo_022A great attraction to the show were the purple-haired women of Moonbase, including the gorgeous and pneumatic Gabrielle Drake (pictured at right) who went on to play the manager of the motel in Crossroads.

TRIVIA
The Harlington-Straker admin block is, in fact, Neptune House, part of the BBC Elstree complex (formerly ATV Elstree) confusingly NOT located in Elstree but in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

These days the building is better known as the home of Holby City Hospital.

Cmdr Ed Straker 
Ed Bishop
Col. Alec Freeman 

George Sewell
Col. Paul Foster 

Michael Billington
Capt. Peter Carlin 

Peter Gordeno
Lt. Joan Harrington 

Antoni Ellis
Lt. Gay Ellis 

Gabrielle Drake
Col. Virginia Lake 

Wanda Ventham
Lt. Nina Barry 

Dolores Mantez
Lt. Ford 

Keith Alexander
SHADO Moonbase operative 

Ayshea Brough
General Henderson 

Grant Taylor
Miss Ealand 

Norma Roland
Dr Jackson 

Vladek Sheybal
Lt. Mark Bradley 

Harry Baird
Miss Holland 

Lois Maxwell
Voice of SID 

Mel Oxley
Capt. Lew Waterman 

Gary Myers
Dr Shroeder 

Maxwell Shaw
SHADO radio operator 

Anouska Hempel
Skydiver engineer 

Jon Kelly
Skydiver operative 

Georgina Moon
Skydiver navigator 

Jeremy Wilkin

Episodes

Identified | Exposed | The cat with ten lives | Conflict | A Question of priorities | ESP | Kill Straker! | Sub Smash | Destruction | The square Triangle | Close up | The Psychobombs | Survival |  Mindbender | Flight Path | The man who came back | The Dalotek Affair | Timelash | Ordeal | Court Martial | Computer Affair | Confetti check A-OK | The sound of silence | Reflections in the water | The responsibility seat | The long sleep

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