In the year 1980 the Earth is threatened by an alien race who kidnap and kill humans and use them for body parts. A highly secret military organization is set up in the hope of defending ... See full summary »
In the year 1980 the Earth is threatened by an alien race who kidnap and kill humans and use them for body parts. A highly secret military organization is set up in the hope of defending the Earth from this alien threat. This organization is named SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization) and operates from a secret location beneath a film studio. They also operate a fleet of submarines and have a base on the moon as well as an early warning satellite that detects inbound UFOs. UFOs can be destroyed in space by Interceptors which are launched from Moonbase. If one gets through it can be attacked in the Earth's atmosphere by a high altitude aircraft launched from one of the submarines. If a UFO also avoids this and manages to land it can be tracked and destroyed by a number of Mobiles (armored vehicles) which are deployed throughout the world. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
In the UK, people drive on the left side of the road and steering wheels are on the right side of the vehicle. However, in UFO's version of 1980s Britain, both of these have been reversed. The show's creators were simply going along with what was being predicted at the time, which was that the UK would switch its driving system sometime in the near future. That change never happened. See more »
Although set (and filmed) in England, all the futuristic cars are left-hand drive, and everyone drives on the right-hand side of the road. Several other series by the Andersons featured the same driving system, presumably because England was predicted to switch over sometime before the future events depicted. Flashback scenes showed the "normal" English driving arrangement. See more »
Lead actor credits are not shown during the opening theme music; instead, these credits appear just prior to the guest star credits at the beginning of episodes. Only lead actors appearing in a particular episode are credited. See more »
Gerry Anderson was the creator of 'The Thunderbirds' and several other hugely successful children's SF/adventure puppet shows that enthralled generations of British and Australian kids and kept them glued to their TV sets. Anderson eventually grew tired of the format and wanted to branch out into live action drama. He made the hugely underrated movie 'Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun' in 1969, and used several members of the supporting cast in his next project 'UFO', most notably the super cool Ed Bishop. Bishop had a small role in Anderson's movie, and had previously had a bit part in '2001', but he became the central character of 'UFO', playing Com. Ed Straker leader of SHADO a secret organisation fighting a group of mysterious and hostile aliens. Anderson believed the series would lead on to bigger and better things for Bishop and make a major star, but sadly this was not to be. Watching 'UFO' now is a very strange experience because it combines lots of hilarious kitschy moments with some quite serious dramatic touches e.g. characters actually die, even children, and many episodes have very downbeat endings, something not all that common in say, the usually optimistic (original) 'Star Trek'. Despite being continually told we are watching events set in 1980, there are many bits of 1960s fashions, hair style and attitudes on display. This is particularly amusing in one episode where Col. Foster (Paul Billington) is on leave and goes to a party where everybody is frugging and grooving to The Beatles 'Get Back', or another great episode where two hippies take acid and meet a couple of spacemen. The whole series mixes and matches styles from the time it was made with ideas of what it was going to be like ten years in the future , which of course, is now over twenty years ago... This means that 'UFO's 1980 is very unlike OUR 1980! So the show has a unique retro-futuristic feel, quite unlike anything else before or since. Another odd thing about the show was that the supporting cast changed back and forth without a word of explanation. Early on the extremely foxy Gabrielle Drake (sister of doomed cult singer Nick Drake!) is in charge of the moonbase, then it's Foster, then someone else. And Straker (Bishop)'s second in command changes from the craggy faced George Sewell (Col. Freeman) to the more aesthetically pleasing Wanda Ventham (Col. Lake), and nothing is mentioned about it. Fans of British TV and movies from the 1960s will see several familiar faces as semi-regulars or guest stars, including David Warbeck, Steven Berkoff, Anoushka Hempel, Lois Maxwell, Shane Rimmer, and others. Also keep an eye out for 60s cult babe Ayshea, who is in just about every episode but hardly says half a page of dialogue throughout the whole series. She mainly wanders around holding a clip board and looking beautiful. The real sex symbol of the show however was the utterly gorgeous Gabrielle Drake, complete with silver jumpsuit and purple wig. Hundreds of middle aged men around the world are still in love with her I'm sure. I know I am! The early episodes of the series are sometimes a bit uneven, but the quality improved as the series went on. Unfortunately the series didn't continue, but Anderson went on to make 'Space 1999', a more commercially successful series, but not necessarily a better program. 'UFO' is highly recommended to all SF fans, especially those that dig the 1960s. It is by no means as mind-blowing and innovative as 'The Prisoner', or as consistently enjoyable as 'The Avengers', but personally I still prefer it to original Trek.
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