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UFO (ITV 1970, Ed Bishop, Wanda Ventham)

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Back in the late sixties Gerry Anderson was king of the TV puppet show genre and despite his shows being amongst the most sophisticated on the box and made for a general audience, he was disappointed. As good as shows like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet were they were classed as children’s television, his solution was to appy the same technical skill and top special effects to a live action series – UFO was born.

Ed Bishop, an American based in England, starred as Ed Straker, who uses the cover of a film studio, Harlington-Straker, to run an organisation called SHADO (supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation). An outfit who, like Torchwood today, are responsible for keeping the Earth safe from Alien attack. For what most humans don’t realise is that we are being targeted by an alien race who have an urgent need for human internal organs – nice!

UFO

Gabrielle Drake as Lt Gay Ellis.

Set in the nearish 1980s future this is a fantastic series full of outrageous and sexy costume design and some top notch special effects, Anderson able to utilise many of the props and vehicles from his earlier “supermarionation” shows.

The show itself falls into two quite distinct parts, the first upto the closing of the Boreham Wood studios belonging to MGM which meant a major halt in the production whilst a new location was found. When Pinewood became available a couple of things had changed, George Sewell who had one of the lead roles as Colonel Alec Freeman was no longer available, his place was taken by Wanda Ventham who had featured only briefly at the start of the series.

When a planned second season of UFO fell through Anderson ended up using many of the ideas and themes for his later series Space:1999 but UFO is a wonderfully camp and retro vision of the future that is must see television.

UFO

production details
UK / ITV – ATV – Century 21 / 26×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 September 70- 24 July 1971(with two final episodes being broadcast 8-15 March 1973)

Creators: Gerry & Sylvia Anderson / Music: Barry Gray / Script Editor: Tony Barwick / Special Effects: Derek Meddings / Producer: Reg Hill / Executive Producer: Gerry Anderson

UFO

cast
ED BISHOP as Cmdr Ed Straker
GEORGE SEWELL as Col Alec Freeman
GABRIELLE DRAKE as Lt Gay Ellis
WANDA VENTHAM as Col Virginia Lake
PETER GORDENO as Capt Peter Karlin
MICHAEL BILLINGTON as Col Paul Foster
GRANT TAYLOR as General Henderson

 

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29

cast
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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TV

Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.

cast
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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TV

Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.

cast
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989

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