ITV (ended 1973)



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Show Summary

Around 1970, the British and American governments receive incontrovertible evidence that aliens exist and are abducting humans. In cooperation with the United Nations, they set up a secret worldwide organization, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation), which operates in the 1980s. With resources and equipment under the seas, in the air, on land, in orbit and on the Moon, SHADO's purpose is to stop the alien incursions and find out why the aliens want humans.

SHADO is based in England, with headquarters beneath Harlington-Straker Studios, a working motion picture studio constructed purely as a cover for SHADO. Its uppermost echelon was made up of a commander and colonels.

Commander Ed Straker - SHADO's commander in chief, involved in the UFO program even before SHADO was formed. Formerly a USAF colonel, he sacrificed ten years of his life to get SHADO up and running. His cover is as chief executive of Harlington-Straker Studios.

Colonel Alec Freeman - A friend of Straker from military service. When SHADO was first approved, Freeman became its first recruit on Straker's recommendation.

Colonel Paul Foster - A test pilot who was nearly killed in a UFO incident, Foster impressed Straker with his resourcefulness, tenacity and unwillingness to accept anything but the truth.

Colonel Virginia Lake - A brilliant systems designer and technician, the beautiful Colonel Lake took the place of Colonel Freeman in the second half of the season.

The series was actually filmed in two blocks of episodes months apart because the original studio it was filmed at closed down. By the time production restarted, some of the cast was no longer available. Others had left soon after the series began either to avoid typecasting or because of dissatisfaction with very short-term contracts.moreless
Michael Billington

Michael Billington

Colonel Paul Foster

Wanda Ventham

Wanda Ventham

Colonel Virginia Lake

Ed Bishop

Ed Bishop

Commander Ed Straker

George Sewell

George Sewell

Colonel Alec Freeman

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  • At the time, this was great!!!

    Ok, so this show looks really dated now, but that's the problem with Sci-Fi. I loved this show, although I was only 9 years old at the time. The concept of aliens invading Earth wasn't new, but the whole idea of an organisation working below a film studio but fighting the darned invaders really caught my imagination. I'd walk down the street going to school thinking there maybe spaceships coming!!! Gerry Anderson was a true master (apart from that awful Terrahawks series!!!). Ed Bishop was truly believable, as was most of the cast, but did they really have to have a dancer on the show??? (Peter Gordeno)..... I don't think he did much for the programme, but hey, overall, I give this show 9 out of 10!!!moreless
  • Cool one!

    My relationship with the series has changed with each passing decade since it first screened. In my 1970s childhood, I found this series to be so well done, so well presented, so well spoken, so well scored, I was almost speechless in my love of this series. It then went off the air for a few years only to return in the 1980s when I was now in my more educated young adult years. In the 1980s, colour re-runs of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-68) had a timeless quality but Gerry Anderson's UFO (1970) just looked way too dated - and stiff - in the 1980s! Since the 1980s, I have had great delight in putting down the ultra-stiff acting in this series, but just days ago I took another look at UFO, and guess what, Straker is still as stiff as a board, but hey, I don't care anymore, in fact I like it. Sci-fic TV has changed so much in the last 20 years, now our sci-fic heroes have gone from being stiff to almost being soap opera figures! Private lives are exposed in every boring detail. Help! Straker is oddly welcome in 2007! However, I have an ear, a love, for an unusual voice, and Straker has a pleasingly odd voice. But Straker is only 50% of this series. This series is about mind blowing outer space/underwater miniature effects filmed with wonderfully loud Barry Gray music pumping away. If you want to know how important the music is to this series, watch the re-edited/re-scored UFO TV movie called - Invasion: UFO. Within minutes the horrible replacement music will have you running to the DVD store to see and HEAR the real UFO series.

    The three episodes that really stand out in my memory are: Identified (episode one), Conflict (special effects, drama, music) and Close Up (music, the final scene and Straker's final words are very memorable). The UFO series has some episodes that are simply not worth watching in this century, too dated or too dull, but I say that about nearly every sci-fic series. Television is television. After watching UFO, you must watch the first season of Gerry Anderson's Space 1999 (1975) which began production as early as 1973. Episode one of Space 1999 - Breakaway - is Anderson's best non-puppet hour! In fact, I even compare Breakaway to Kubricks's 2001 (1968) and Breakaway comes out on top!moreless
  • The people of earth are in danger! Aliens are coming to our planet to use humans as unwilling organ donors. SHADO is formed to protect the planet.

    This was a cutting edge sci-fi show of its time and to this day is a testament to the creative genius of Gerry Anderson. Driven by the fascination with sightings of UFOs reported on mass between the Late 40s and the1970s and with innovative use of models and real actors this series brilliantly illustrates the problems, defeats and victories connected with setting up and running a secret organisation covering global and personal costs to people both in charge and on lower levels of the organisation. It is also action packed and exciting, in all it has something for everybody. UFO is still unsurpassed, it was ground breaking when it was made and is still watch able now.moreless
  • The show of the future ahead of its time. Very slick in style. Has not been duplicated since. Great scifi show.

    I was very young at the time this show I still enjoyed. More with adult themes. But the good guys are good guys who make sacrifices not for career but for humanity. I liked it very much. It still holds up with the writing and SE but costumes alittle dated but still cool. I thought this is cool next step a moon base with fighter space craft downing evil aliens. These aliens were not friends coming in peace. Star Trek os series is still the best then came this 2nd place. Until Babylon 5 no scifi came out with this a good a writing. 1999 was always to British for me. Firefly, SG1, STos, UFO, B5, X files and STvoy are the best ever aired. The future of a base on the moon in 1970 looked feasable at the time. I don\'t know why space exploration has took a back seat. We need good shows once again to move into our solar system. I still say way ahead of its time. UFO forever. Just the name UFO brings up all kinds of thoughts. What\'s out there. Great show.moreless
  • The predecessor of Space: 1999 it wasnt bad but it was kind of stale..

    The actors were very robotic and half of the episodes tended to be bland and boring. But there were some episodes that were fairly interesting. The Moonbase was way too small and why were there only 3 interceptors each carrying only 1 torpedo like weapon that appeared to be randomly fired hoping to hit something - they almost never did. How come the UFOs didnt swing back around and blow the intereceptors to smithereens? Along the same lines they could have easily destroyed the Moonbase any time they wanted to. Seems like resources would be better used building orbital defenses and ground launched weapons.

    Then as Earth last line of defense they had 1 submarine/fighter jet combo? Just one? Thats it? One would think a whole fleet of dozens of them would be plying the worlds oceans.

    In Space: 1999 that followed, the Moonbase became a huge complex - at least they finally got that part right.

    Though I would like to see Space: 1999 redone using new techonology and a more realistic way of getting the Moon out of orbit or perhaps placing it on a large asteroid as it was originally supposed to be, I really dont think of UFO in the same way. I think of UFO more as a historical curiousity.moreless

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