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Counterstrike (BBC Scifi, Jon Finch, Sarah Brackett)

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In Counterstrike aliens from a dying planet are planning to take over Earth in order to provide a new home for themselves. When the Inter Galactic Council find out what the Centaruans are up to they send their own man Simon King (Jon Finch) to Earth to try and stop them. King is helped by a doctor, Mary (Sarah Brackett).

Each episode focused on King uncovering a plot by the Centaurans and trying to stop it.

Created by Tony Williamson, Counterstrike is similar in idea to the US series Invaders. It’s not a series of big budget special effects as the invading aliens are more about stealth than outright warfare.

Guest stars included the likes of Clive Merrison, Robert Beatty, Barbara Shelley, Bruce Boa, David Jason, Nina Baden-Semper, David Jackson, John Abineri, Maria Aitken, Sonia Grtaham, Carole Mowlam, Roy Boyd, Morris Perry and James Beck.

Scripts were contributed by Patrick Alexander, Ray Jenkins, Max Marquis, Anthony Skene, David Cullen, Cyril Abraham, Paul Wheeler, Adele Rose and Dick Sharples.

One episode, Out of Mind, has never been shown and is believed wiped or lost. It was due to be broadcast on Monday 13 October 1969 at 9.10pm but there was a late scheduling change. A documentary about the Kray Twins was aired instead. The brothers, who were jailed in 1969, had just had an appeal turned down.

The BBC had also previously tried out the idea in 1966 and got as far as to film a pilot which was never transmitted. Barrie Ingham took the title role as a character called Martin Cain. Counterstrike just missed out on being filmed in colour, in November 1969 the BBC made the decision to begin filming all new dramas in colour.

Opening quote: ‘A distant star. A dying planet. A race of desperate men seeking another home, another world to take over. One man is trying to stop them. A man not of this world…’

Cast: JON FINCH as Simon King; SARAH BRACKETT as Mary; KATIE FITZROY as Control

Creator: Tony Williamson / Script Editor: David Rolfe / Producer: Patrick Alexander

UK / BBC One / 10×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 8 September – 10 November 1969