|Georgina Moon as Lt. Sylvia Howell|
With a CG reboot of Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds on the horizon, I began to wonder what had happened to the update of his live-action show UFO that was in the news a few years ago. Sadly, all seems to have gone quiet on that front, though I can't quite imagine how a reworked version of the show would look anyhow. Having briefly worked on the first cancelled version of the Thunderbirds movie myself, (mentioned here) I know that certain aspects are changed to make them more contemporary, but the things that make them appealing in the first place are the things that would probably be first out of the window. Would anyone in their right mind apply for a job to work on the moon, where purple wigs and silver mini-skirts were compulsory attire? I mean, c'mon! How could a government agency enforce such a strict dress code on their operatives. String vests for our submarine division? White slim-fit catsuits for our ground staff? Makes total sense - not! And yet this was all part of the appeal of the show and what made it look so friggin' cool in the 70's.
|Oat Krunchies cereal box from 1970|
My first sighting of UFO on the telly was during a childhood trip to Ipswich, where for some reason it was being aired way ahead of London. The fact that packs of Oat Krunchies, my favourite breakfast cereal had begun to feature a guy called Ed Straker on the box suddenly all made sense.
I was chatting to my Marvel UK and 2000AD colleague, John Tomlinson the other day about his favourite recollections of the show, and I'll quote him here... JT: "That was one of the best things about Gerry Anderson's stuff. No matter how outlandish and preposterous the concepts he flung at you, they were executed with such style and slickness, such cool costumes and visuals that it didn't seem to matter. Absolutely nothing in UFO really worked from a practical point of view (three measly interceptors with ONE cumbersome missile each? Gedouddahere! And how come the UFOs weren't constantly blowing that orbital snitch SID out of the sky?), but it looked fantastic."
|Ed Bishop as Commander Ed Straker with Ayshea Brough as Lt. Ayshea Johnson.|
|Dolores Mantez as Space Tracker, Nina Barry and George Sewell as Col. Alec E. Freeman; Straker's right-hand man.|
John has pretty much the same childhood recollection that I had as a kid, regarding the Moonbase operatives that I mentioned in an earlier post about my own top secret organisation SPI, operating out of a coal-bunker in my friends back garden (The Far-Flung Future of 1980). Anyway, I digress... John continues... "No memory of UFO could ever eclipse the image of Gabrielle Drake in her bacofoil bikini. But I also liked the grim scenes between Straker and Freeman in which one would say to the other 'Anything?' and the other inevitably replied 'Nothing.' Seemed to happen every week. I still do that with people now!"
Gabrielle Drake as Lieutenant Gay Ellis.
Lt. Gay Ellis was most often seen as Moonbase Commander in the first half of the series.
JT: "Straker was such an old sexist. He never seemed to know what to say to women, except demand that they perform menial tasks or fix him a drink. If he ever did get the helmet off a female UFO pilot he'd just smirk and ask 'how about a nice cup of alien cworfee?'"
|Wanda Ventham as Col. Virginia Lake with Commander Ed Straker.|
|Virginia Lake with Paul Foster's car. Straker's car was discovered rusting away in someone's back garden and is now being renovated (see comments).|
|Wanda Ventham with THAT Gull-Wing car.|
|Sylvia Anderson's on-trend Alien fashion.|
|Identified Flying Object.|
|Col. Alec E. Freeman and Lt. Gay Ellis.|
|The Lunar Module approaching or leaving Moonbase, can't tell which.|
|Lt. Ellis gets out of her work clothes and into her civvies, which look almost identical.|
|UFO 2KX: Moonbase Duo by Arcas|
Opening titles for Gerry Anderson's 1970 tv series in high definition with classic music by Barry Gray.
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