frequently asked questions
by Marc Martin, last updated 14 June 2005
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the 1970 British science fiction television series UFO. I have attempted to answer questions which are introductory in nature or come up frequently in fandom. If you have any comments or corrections that could help improve future versions of this FAQ, please contact me at email@example.com.
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute this FAQ, on the conditions that it not be altered or used for profit.
All updates from the previous version are highlighted in red.
- What is "UFO"?
- What is the basic storyline?
- What is the appeal of UFO?
- Is UFO available on video/DVD?
- What are some other ways I could see UFO?
- Why do the women on Moonbase wear purple wigs?
- What about Straker -- is that a wig or Ed Bishop's real hair?
- Is there more than one Skydiver?
- Why do the Interceptors have only one missile?
- What did the Aliens want?
- What can you tell me about those futuristic automobiles?
- Why does everyone drive on the wrong side of the road?
- Why do several of the regular characters suddenly disappear?
- Are there any bloopers in the series that I should look for?
- How can I get a UFO episode guide?
- What is the correct episode order?
- Why did UFO only last a single season? Was it poorly received?
- Is UFO related to SPACE: 1999 or any other Anderson production?
- What is "INVASION: UFO"?
- Whatever happened to the cast members?
- What kinds of UFO merchandise has been released?
- Where can I get UFO videos, merchandise, and collectibles?
- What fan activity has there been?
- Where are there UFO discussions & files on the Internet?
Questions & Answers
1. What is "UFO"?
UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (THUNDERBIRDS, FIREBALL XL-5, etc.), and would later create SPACE: 1999. UFO was filmed in 1969-70, and began broadcasting in September 1970 in England and September 1972 in America. The series ran for only a single season, for a total of 26 one-hour color episodes.
2. What is the basic storyline?
The series is set in what would have been ten years in the future -- the early 1980's. It had been discovered that Aliens are coming to Earth and kidnapping people for unknown reasons. A secret military defense organization named SHADO ("Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation") is set up and is just becoming operational in the first episode.
SHADO's main headquarters is secretly hidden beneath a London film studio, and many SHADO personnel double as film studio employees as a cover. SHADO also has a base on the moon ("Moonbase") and a fleet of submarines ("Skydiver"). Incoming UFO's are detected by an Earth orbiting satellite ("Space Intruder Detector", or "SID"). An initial interception attempt is made in space with three Interceptors launched from Moonbase. A second attempt is made in the Earth's atmosphere with a fighter plane ("Sky One") launched from Skydiver. Landed UFO's are tracked down with ground Mobiles.
SHADO is run by the extremely dedicated Commander Ed Straker. His seconds in command are Col. Alec Freeman, Col. Paul Foster, and Col. Virginia Lake. Moonbase is often commanded by Lt. Gay Ellis or Lt. Nina Barry.
The episodes are typically about SHADO's attempts to thwart the Alien's plans, and the Alien's various ploys to disable SHADO or kill its commander. Recurring themes include maintaining SHADO security, keeping SHADO properly funded, and the effect that the secrecy has on the personal lives of SHADO's operatives.
3. What is the appeal of UFO?
UFO appeals to different people for different reasons. Some fans love the hardware designs for SHADO's futuristic ground, air, and space vehicles. Others love the character of Commander Ed Straker, whose personal life became an important subject in several episodes. There are many other good reasons to like the series, including great special effects, creative stories, appealing lead actors and guest stars, catchy theme music, mysterious aliens, fun fashions, high production values, and sexy female operatives everywhere!
4. Is UFO available on video/DVD?
In the past few decades, various episodes of UFO have been released on home video in various countries. However, in 2002-3 UFO was completely remastered and released on DVD in England, America, France, Italy, and Japan! Plus during 2005, there are plans to release UFO on DVD in Germany and Australia!
In England, Carlton Visual Entertainment released UFO on DVD in two deluxe sets each containing 4 discs, plus these same discs were released as 8 individual volumes. The remastering job is stunning, and these episodes look better than ever. These DVDs also include a nice variety of extras, including animated menus, including a few short deleted scenes, episode commentary from Gerry Anderson (IDENTIFIED) and Ed Bishop (SUB-SMASH), lots of never-before-seen publicity and behind-the-scenes photos, merchandise galleries, and somewhat speculative information about SHADO and it's main characters. Although this is being marketed as a Region 2 DVD, the discs are in fact region-free, so they will play without problem in non-Region 2 countries with the PAL video standard (e.g., Australia).
In America, A&E Home Video released UFO on DVD in two large sets, and then later repackaged these discs in a "UFO Megaset". These sets use the same superb transfers seen on the British set, and also include the same Gerry Anderson & Ed Bishop commentary tracks. In addition, they include commentary from Mike Billington and director Alan Perry on KILL STRAKER and Sylvia Anderson and Wanda Ventham on TIMELASH. They also include the few short deleted scenes from the British set, plus additional goodies -- raw audio from the SID recording sessions, original set audio from KILL STRAKER, and a demonstration of day-for-night filming on TIMELASH. However, it does not include many of the extras found on the British set, like the behind-the-scenes photos, script excerpts, merchandise galleries, and character bios. It does include some photo galleries, but unfortunately these are all just frame captures from the episodes!
In France, TF1 Video released all 26 episodes of UFO in one large box set containing 7 discs. This set can be viewed in English with French subtitles or dubbed in French. Unfortunately, the video & audio quality is rather poor -- only 4 of the episodes are the remastered versions, and the MPEG encoding has far too many artifacts. This set does not contain any commentary tracks, but it does feature some unique extras, including short interviews with Ed Bishop & Sylvia Anderson (both from 1992), a trailer for INVASION: UFO, and merchandise galleries.
In Italy, Cult Media released UFO in two large sets. The episodes are all the high-quality remastered versions, with the audio switchable between English mono, Italian mono, and Italian 5.1 surround. Extras include animated menus, behind-the-scenes photos, commentary from Gerry Anderson and Ed Bishop (subtitled in Italian), merchandise galleries, and trailers for the Italian UFO compilation movies. The first set came in two different versions, a standard and a deluxe version. The deluxe version included an extra disc with the compilation movie INVASION:UFO, a 34 minute interview with Ed Bishop, and 5 minutes of footage from Italian UFO conventions.
In Japan, Tohokushinsha released UFO in two large sets. The episodes are all the high-quality remastered versions, with either Japanese or English audio. This set is unique in that the English audio is a processed "pseudo-surround" 5.1 (the original mono is not an option). Each set comes with a small color booklet. Unique extras include a 30 minute documentary called "SHADO Secret File" (in Japanese), a 60 minute Fanderson "UFO Documentary" (English with Japanese subtitles), and the graveyard sequence from THE SQUARE TRIANGLE without the closing credits overlayed. They also include some of the deleted audio/video from the other sets, but do not have any commentary tracks or photo galleries.
Prior to the DVD releases, episodes of UFO had been released on home video in England, America, and Japan. In England, many of the episodes were released in the 1980's and 1990's on VHS tape, and all 26 episodes were finally released in 2000. In America, only 8 episodes were ever released onto VHS tape in the 1980's. In Japan, several episodes were released on VHS tape in the 1980's, and all 26 episodes were released on laserdisc in the early 1990's.
See FAQ#22 for suggested sources.
5. What are some other ways I could see UFO?
In the 1990's, there were isolated instances of UFO being broadcast around the world -- it has shown up on BBC2 in the UK, the Sci-Fi Channel in America, and also on channels in Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand. However, there haven't been reports of UFO being broadcast in the past few years, so the DVDs appear to be the only option for seeing the series these days. Besides, with the DVDs the episodes are uncut, and the picture quality can't be beat.
6. Why do the women on Moonbase wear purple wigs?
The purple wigs were simply part of the women's Moonbase uniforms. Wigs were very popular in the late 1960's, and Sylvia Anderson envisioned that wigs might someday become part of a uniform. Sylvia designed the Moonbase outfits and the wigs, and has been quoted as saying that the purple wigs came about simply because she liked them!
There have been attempts to give the wigs some sort of scientific explanation, like they protect the wearers from electromagnetic fields caused from the Moonbase command sphere equipment. However, besides being rather farfetched, these explanations always fail to explain why Col. Foster never needed any protection while he was in command of Moonbase!
7. What about Straker -- is that a wig or Ed Bishop's real hair?
Ed Bishop has dark hair, so his hair was initially bleached for the first few episodes. However, to prevent damaging his hair with repeated bleachings, he was given a blonde wig, which he wore for the remainder of the series. Ed Bishop owned the Straker wig after the series ended, and sometimes brought it with him to science fiction conventions. To get a better idea of what Ed's real hair looked like at the time UFO was made, watch the 1968 movie DOPPELGANGER, aka JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN.
And Ed Bishop was not the only male wearing a wig on UFO, as George Sewell (Col. Alec Freeman) and Michael Billington (Col. Paul Foster) also wore wigs. Several episodes were made before Michael started wearing his wig, so you can spot his real hair in the early episodes where he has rather large sideburns and a receding hairline.
8. Is there more than one Skydiver?
Yes. Skydiver 3 and Sky 4 are featured in the THE PSYCHOBOMBS episode. However, this episode and a statement in CONFETTI CHECK A-OK about a "fleet of submarines" are practically the only pieces of evidence in the entire series that there is more than one. Skydiver One is often referred to as simply "Skydiver", implying that there is only one. Of course, one might suppose that there was only one Skydiver in SHADO's early days and more were built later, the fourth being operational by the time frame of THE PSYCHOMBOMBS. However, this was never mentioned in the series.
9. Why do the Interceptors have only one missile?
The one-missile Interceptors have been criticized by many fans as not being very practical, but these criticisms overlook what may have been a primary motivation for their design -- it allows an opportunity for the UFOs to make it past Moonbase, which in turn allows for much more interesting stories!
Incidentally, while the series was in pre-production, the original intent as described in pre-production memos was that each Interceptor missile would break apart into ten smaller pieces and then create a blanket detonation which the UFO would hopefully pass through. However, the special effects in the series do not really support this description.
10. What did the Aliens want?
The reason the Aliens kept coming to Earth pretty much remained a mystery. In IDENTIFIED, Straker theorized that the Aliens might be a dying humanoid race which had become sterile, and are coming to Earth to extend their own lifespans using human organs for replacements. In ESP, one of the characters who seems to be speaking for the Aliens confirms that their planet is dying, and they mean no harm to the people of Earth.
However, in THE CAT WITH TEN LIVES, some doubt is introduced as to whether the Aliens are humanoid at all, as the remains of an Alien body appears to be 100% human in origin. Dr. Jackson theorizes that the Aliens may not be humanoid at all, but are merely taking over the minds of humans and using the bodies as "vehicles". This theory backed up in this episode as the Aliens appear to have taken over the mind of a cat.
However, the Alien's behavior in some episodes remains confusing. Like when they planted bombs in THE LONG SLEEP, or tried to wipe out all life on Earth in DESTRUCTION. This is simply not consistent with their previous statements that they wish no harm to the people of Earth, nor is it consistent with a race that requires a large supply of healthy human bodies.
11. What can you tell me about those futuristic automobiles?
Straker's and Foster's futuristic automobiles were originally designed by Derek Meddings for the movie DOPPELGANGER (aka JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN), and were redressed slightly for UFO. Life-sized clay models were built by German auto manufacturer designers, and then racing car driver Alan Mann built the cars for 8500 pounds each. The cars were constructed using beaten aluminum on top of a Mark 4 Ford Zodiac chassis (predecessor to the Granada). The gull-wing doors didn't actually work, so someone always stood off-camera to raise or lower the doors. The actors reported that the cars were very unpleasant to drive in, as there was not enough headroom and the engine exhaust fumes spilled into the interior. Also, the cars could not move very fast, so many scenes were sped up to simulate a fast-moving vehicle.
In the years since UFO was made, the cars have changed hands a number of times. Straker's car was owned by Radio One DJ Dave Lee Travis in the 1970's. In 1980, the car was bought by someone in Birmingham who had it repainted with scenes from UFO, and then let it sit in a warehouse for years. He eventually gave it away to one of his employees, who in turn has let the car rust away in his back yard. To make matters worse, he eventually built a garage next to his house which prevents the car from being removed without a crane, and has no particular interest in ever restoring or selling the car to someone else!
After UFO, Foster's car was originally sold to a film company which removed the scoops and slats and painted it red for a futuristic porn movie. It was later purchased in 1982 by film buff who made the car driveable and actually used it as his personal transportation for 18 months! It was then damaged in the front and ignored until 1993, when it was purchased by UFO fan Tony Read.
12. Why does everyone drive on the wrong side of the road?
In England, 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 England, both of these have been reversed. Although I am not aware of an official explanation for this, it seems likely that UFO's creators were simply going along with what was being predicted at the time, which was that England would switch their driving system sometime in the near future. It's interesting to note that other Anderson series like CAPTAIN SCARLET also show reversed driving in futuristic England, and that UFO's several flashbacks to 1970 shows normal English driving and cars.
13. Why do several of the regular characters suddenly disappear?
UFO was filmed in two shooting blocks at two studios, due to an unexpected closure of the first studio after 17 episodes had been filmed. There was a 6 month period spent waiting for soundstages to become available at the second studio, and since many of the actors were not contractually obligated to stay with the series, they went and found jobs elsewhere. The episodes in the second shooting block are missing many of the regular characters from the first block, including Col. Alec Freeman, Lt. Gay Ellis, Lt. Keith Ford, Capt. Lew Waterman, and Lt. Joan Harrington. Many of these characters were replaced with new ones -- Col. Virginia Lake was added to replace Col. Freeman, and Lt. Nina Barry was promoted to replace Lt. Ellis.
To determine which episodes were filmed in which shooting block, see the production order listed in FAQ#16 -- the first 17 episodes were filmed at MGM Borehamwood studios from May to December 1969, while the remaining 9 were filmed at Pinewood studios from May to September 1970.
There were a few other significant character/cast changes made while the series was in production. Capt. Peter Carlin was originally intended to be a main character, but was dropped early in the production because the actor's agent feared he would become typecast as a sci-fi television series actor. Col. Paul Foster was added after a few episodes had been made to give the series a more youthful and appealing male lead. Dr. Jackson was added because the producers liked the actor, and the actor playing Dr. Shroeder had become ill. And Interceptor pilot Mark Bradley dissappeared because the actor was frustrated by the week-to-week contracts for the minor characters.
14. Are there any bloopers in the series that I should look for?
There are a few. Probably the most noticeable is in THE LONG SLEEP, when Straker refers to a "Miss Ross". The original script gave Catherine a last name of "Ross", but this was changed to "Fraser" prior to filming -- unfortunately, one occurance of "Ross" managed to slip by everyone involved in the production!
In REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER, there is a major battle at the end, and 4 Interceptor missiles are shown to be fired, which is somewhat surprising, since there are only 3 Interceptors with 1 missile each!
In CONFETTI CHECK A-OK, there is a shot of Straker's futuristic car pulling up to General Henderson's office. The problem is that this is a flashback scene, and was long before Straker had a futuristic car!
In THE SQUARE TRIANGLE, an Interceptor attack on an incoming UFO is called off, yet when they show the Interceptors about to return to Moonbase, their missiles have already been fired!
In COMPUTER AFFAIR, Astronaut Mark Bradley and Gay Ellis have dinner together and are drinking a 1984 vintage wine. While not technically a blooper, many fans regard this as a mistake, as this episode seems to be early in SHADO's history, which would put it in the 1980-1981 time frame.
Also not technically a blooper, Lt. Ford's voice has obviously been dubbed over with another actor's voice in the episode THE SQUARE TRIANGLE. Actor Keith Alexander was often out of the country during UFO's production, and most likely another actor was brought in to redub his voice due to a problem with the original sound recording made on the set.
15. How can I get a UFO episode guide?
UFO episode guides have appeared throughout the years in several books and magazines, and now also on the various Internet websites. The "UFO Series Home Page" has two episode guides available online -- a single page, spoiler-free version at:
And a multi-page, spoiler-optional version at:
Or if you're looking for a book, I recommend "The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO" by Chris Bentley, which is still available and has a very detailed UFO episode guide.
16. What is the correct episode order?
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a widely agreed-upon UFO viewing order, so I've listed several below. Unfortunately, some of these orders don't make any sense if you analyze how the characters and situations progress throughout the series -- especially in cases where there are flashbacks to episodes which haven't been shown yet!
The Gerry Anderson fan club FANDERSON researched the original production order, which with a slight modification has been the basis for some of the DVD releases. In my opinion a little more modification is needed to introduce Paul Foster's character better, so I've added my own personal recommendation.
Also note that the production order does not match the order in which the episodes were filmed when it comes to the episodes TIMELASH and MINDBENDER. That is, TIMELASH had an earlier production code, but was filmed after MINDBENDER.
UFO EPISODE ORDERS
M = Marc Martin's recommended viewing order
F = Fanderson suggested order used on British DVDs
P = production order (reverse episodes 24 and 25 for filming order)
S = order in Starlog TV Episode Guides Volume II & Century 21#1
I = ITC order used by Polygram UK VHS releases and American Sci-Fi Channel
J = Japanese order used for all merchandise & broadcasts
U = original UK broadcast order for ATV MidlandsM F P S I J U
IDENTIFIED 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
COMPUTER AFFAIR 2 2 2 7 16 12 21
FLIGHT PATH 3 3 3 3 15 13 15
EXPOSED 4 4 5 2 2 2 2
CONFLICT 5 6 6 4 4 4 4
SURVIVAL 6 5 4 5 3 3 13
THE DALOTEK AFFAIR 7 7 7 6 14 21 17
A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES 8 8 8 8 5 25 5
ORDEAL 9 9 9 9 7 10 19
THE RESPONSIBILITY SEAT 10 10 10 10 17 18 25
THE SQUARE TRIANGLE 11 11 11 11 6 14 10
COURT MARTIAL 12 12 12 12 10 23 20
CLOSE UP 13 13 13 13 9 5 11
CONFETTI CHECK A-OK 14 14 14 14 11 22 22
E.S.P 15 15 15 15 8 11 6
KILL STRAKER! 16 16 16 16 12 6 7
SUB-SMASH 17 17 17 17 13 7 8
THE SOUND OF SILENCE 18 18 18 18 19 9 23
THE CAT WITH TEN LIVES 19 19 19 19 18 8 3
DESTRUCTION 20 20 20 20 20 17 9
THE MAN WHO CAME BACK 21 21 21 21 21 15 16
THE PSYCHOBOMBS 22 22 22 25 22 16 12
REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER 23 23 23 22 24 19 24
TIMELASH 24 24 24 24 26 24 18
MINDBENDER 25 25 25 23 23 20 14
THE LONG SLEEP 26 26 26 26 25 26 26
17. Why did UFO only last a single season? Was it poorly received?
Most of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's series only lasted 39 episodes or less, as financier Lew Grade was more interested in making a brand new series than continuing old ones. So when UFO finished filming 26 episodes in the fall of 1970, it wasn't even expected that there would be a second season. And sure enough, Lew asked Gerry to start filming the detective/crime-fighting series "The Protectors".
UFO began broadcasting in England as the final episodes were being finished, and the local stations didn't quite know how to schedule it, as they were expecting another Gerry Anderson children's program, but instead got something that had a lot of adult content. As a result, stations showed it at various times, and moved some episodes to late night or refused to show them at all. As one might expect, ratings were not very good.
In America, ITC syndicated UFO over 136 TV stations during the 1972-73 season, two years after filming had been completed. This was not part of a network showing, although many articles at the time associate it with CBS, because it was shown on CBS stations in the largest markets of New York and Los Angeles. UFO did very well in the ratings on these two stations for the first several months. It did so well in fact that CBS was thinking about ordering a second season. As a result, Gerry Anderson and his team began pre-production on a sequel series which would take place in the year 1999. The battle with the Aliens would have escalated, and SHADO HQ would have been moved to the moon in a much larger moonbase. Models, sets, and costumes were prepared, but then the ratings began to fall and the series was cancelled. However, Gerry pitched the idea to use this pre-production work for a brand new series, which turned out to be SPACE: 1999.
In the past several years, multiple parties have expressed interest in some sort of UFO remake, either as a TV series or film. In 1996 there was an attempt by an Australian film production company, which created a proposal and gathered fan letters, but nobody was willing to finance it. In 2001, a German banker was interested in producing a film, but for unknown reasons this project vanished. In early 2003, there was word that one of the producers of the film "Solaris" showed some interest, but nothing has been heard about this for a while. And finally, in late 2003 Carlton issued a press release stating that Trilogy Entertainment (the makers of the new OUTER LIMITS and TWILIGHT ZONE series) was working on creating a new UFO TV series for US networks. Stay tuned...
18. Is UFO related to SPACE: 1999 or any other Anderson production?
There is certainly nothing onscreen to indicate a direct link between UFO and any other Anderson production. However, there has been a lot of publicity & fan conjecture about a shared "universe" of events in the various Anderson productions. Even in an old issue of STARLOG magazine, there was a Gerry Anderson column with statements saying that Moonbase Alpha was an evolution of the SHADO Moonbase, the Aliens had stopped coming to the Earth around 1990, and that the Hawk fighter was a replacement for the Interceptor. This however was not an official statement, but instead one dreamed up by a STARLOG columnist.
However, there are certainly a lot of similarities between UFO and many of the other Anderson productions due to the same group of people working on them. Notable among these are Gerry Anderson & Reg Hill (producers & series concept), Sylvia Anderson (fashions, casting & series concept), Tony Barwick (script editor & writer), Derek Meddings (vehicle design & special effects), Barry Gray (music & sound effects), Bob Bell (art director & set design), and David Lane and Alan Perry (directors). Many of UFO's regular and guest cast also worked in other Anderson productions, either as actors or voices for puppet characters.
There are also some similarities between the story elements in UFO and other Anderson productions. Organizations protecting against danger is a common theme, and was the basis of the earlier puppet series STINGRAY, THUNDERBIRDS, and CAPTAIN SCARLET. Other familiar plot elements in UFO are the secret organization (THUNDERBIRDS) and an ongoing battle with Aliens (CAPTAIN SCARLET).
UFO also has a lot in common with the Anderson's 1968 live action movie DOPPELGANGER, aka JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN. This film features several UFO cast members and many elements that would be later reused in UFO, like the futuristic automobiles and jeeps, the astronaut suits, and the models of a launch facility and rocket.
19. What is "INVASION: UFO"?
INVASION: UFO is a 90 minute movie created by compiling scenes from several episodes of UFO. It is not the pilot movie for the series, and in fact was produced ten years after UFO was made! The episodes used for the compilation are IDENTIFIED (32 mins), COMPUTER AFFAIR (25 mins), REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER (27 mins), CONFETTI CHECK A-OK (5 min), THE MAN WHO CAME BACK (1 min), and ESP (less than 1 min). A new title sequence was created, and additional music was added or overlayed onto the existing music. There are some fans who find this compilation movie enjoyable, while others think it is vastly inferior to the original episodes. Oddly enough, in the 1980s and 1990s INVASION: UFO was broadcast more frequently than the original series in many areas, and in the UK five of the original UFO episodes used to make the movie were never released on Polygram's VHS videos because the movie had exclusive video rights!
Although INVASION: UFO was the only English-language UFO compilation movie, there were 5 dubbed Italian UFO compilation movies which were released in Italian theaters in the early 1970's. The Italian movies were released on VHS in the past, and are being released on DVD in 2005.
20. Whatever happened to the cast members?
To people who don't follow or have access to British film, TV, theatre, or radio productions, it would appear that practically everyone who appeared in UFO never worked in show business again! This is certainly not the case however, as many of the major UFO players, like Ed Bishop, Mike Billington, George Sewell, Wanda Ventham, and Gabrielle Drake have continued working in British productions.
When UFO was first released, it was expected that Ed Bishop would become a major star, but unfortunately this did not happen. However, Ed has found steady work in England with voice-overs, stage plays, and radio dramatizations. He has also been quite active in UFO fandom and has appeared at many science fiction conventions in England and elsewhere.
Mike Billington followed UFO with a leading role in the BBC historical drama THE ONEDIN LINE. Since then, he has done some television work and concentrated on teaching method acting in America and England.
George Sewell and Gabrielle Drake have continued working in British television and theatre, while Wanda Ventham has appeared in many British television series.
A few of the regular cast members have passed away since the filming of UFO. Ed Bishop (Ed Straker) and Mike Billington (Paul Foster) passed away within a week of each other in June 2005. Grant Taylor (General Henderson) was ill during the filming of UFO and passed away shortly after the series had finished production. Vladek Sheybal (Dr. Jackson), Norma Ronald (Miss Ealand), and Maxwell Shaw (Dr. Shroeder) all passed away in the 1990s. Harry Baird (Mark Bradley) passed away in 2005.
21. What kinds of UFO merchandise has been released?
Excluding the previously mentioned videos, there has been a fair amount of UFO merchandise released all around the world, most notably in Japan, England, and Italy. Naturally, most of this merchandise came out in the early 1970's, and is difficult if not impossible to find today. However, new products have been released in recent years, some of which can be easily found today.
Perhaps the most popular items have been the various model kits and die-cast models of the various SHADO vehicles, bases, etc. These were mostly produced by IMAI, BANDAI, and DINKY, and include things like the Interceptor, the UFO, Skydiver, Sky One, the Mobile, the Lunar Module, the Lunar Carrier, Moonbase, Straker's car -- even Lt. Ellis! In 2003, the Japanese company Konami released a very popular set of pre-made UFO "trading figures". And in 2004, the British company Product Enterprises released die-cast models of the Interceptor, UFO, and Skydiver, and are expected to release a 3 versions of a SHADO Mobile in 2005!
As for books, there were originally two English-language novelizations, a British "UFO Annual", several comics, and some Italian photo-novelizations. In the early 1980's there were two Japanese visual guidebooks released, and yet another one in 1993, and then one in 2003 and another in 2004! There have been a few English-language UFO-related books released in recent years, most recently "The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO", and further back the "UFO & Space: 1999 Book" (series guides), "21st Century Visions" (Derek Medding's book on Anderson special effects), and "The Gerry Anderson Memorabelia Guide" (a guide to all Anderson merchandise). The FANDERSON club (see FAQ#23) has also released a couple books containing original UFO scripts, and also released a booklet full of UFO pre-production drawings.
As for magazines, most of the English language ones which cover UFO have been from England. Magazines like SIG, CENTURY 21, TV ZONE, TIME SCREEN, SFX, and SCI-FI AND FANTASY FX have had articles of interest to UFO fans, and many of these can occasionally be found on eBay. As for current magazines, the best one out there for UFO fans is FANDERSON's FAB magazine.
A number of miscellaneous items were also released in the early 1970's, including trading cards, comics, puzzles, viewmaster reels, lunchboxes, coloring books -- even a UFO board game was released in Italy! Most of these items occasionally show up on eBay. FANDERSON currently sells a double CD soundtrack, script books, some photos, a set of UFO collector cards, a SHADO patch, badge, and sticker, plus an excellent one-hour video documentary DVD on the "Making of UFO".
Many UFO photos & slides have been available over the years, but the selection and number of merchants selling them today is pretty small. Again, eBay is your best bet for these.
And finally, ITC publicity materials, scripts, original models, and other rare items are owned by a few hard-core fans, and are generally not for sale!
22. Where can I get UFO videos, merchandise, and collectibles?
This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it does include a few common places and methods of getting UFO merchandise. Most of these merchants are mail-order businesses, have websites, and accept payment in local currency or with a major credit card.
In the UK, Carlton's UFO DVDs are available from Amazon.uk (set 1, set 2).
In America, A&E's "UFO Megaset" DVD set is available from Amazon.com.
In Italy, the Cult Media UFO DVDs are available from ufomarket.com
In Japan, Tohokushinsha's UFO DVDs are available from CD Japan (set 1, set 2)
In France, TF1 Video's UFO DVD Set is available from Amazon.fr.
In Germany, EpiX's UFO DVD volumes are available from www.froeschl.de
The "Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO" can be purchased at Amazon.com and Amazon.uk.
You can buy Konami trading figures at FAB Gear
UFO Trading Cards can be purchased from Cards, Inc (note that the autographed Alien card appears to be autographed by someone who never appeared in UFO, and that the Ed Straker costume card reportedly does not feature fabric worn by Ed Bishop)
Various UFO items can be purchased at FAB GEAR, MONSTERS IN MOTION , STAR TRADER, and COMET MINIATURES.
Paolo Malaguti has a large selection of UFO photos available at this website.Other vendors which sell UFO photos are Movie Market UK, The Movie Market, Still Things, and Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Material Store.
Rare UFO collectibles are hard to come by, but good places to look are the online auction site eBay, the classifieds sections of Fanderson's FAB magazine, the SHADO@yahoogroups.com discussion group, and British science fiction conventions.
23. What fan activity has there been?
There have been several UFO fan clubs in existence around the world since UFO's first broadcast. In America, SHADO-USCC (United States Central Control) published newsletters and fanzines from 1973 to 1979. Also in America, SHADO-USECC (United States East Coast Control) also published newsletters and fanzines from 1979 to 2001.
In England, the official Gerry Anderson fan club is still active today, and has been since the early 1980s. They have a very professionally done club magazine and exclusive merchandise. Since FANDERSON is devoted to all of Gerry Anderson's work, UFO is not necessarily given much coverage, however the coverage it does get is always of the highest quality. Some of FANDERSON's exclusive UFO merchandise includes a double soundtrack CD, one hour "Making of UFO" documentary on DVD, and a set of UFO trading cards. They have also thrown several conventions of interest to UFO fans -- UFORIA 1 and UFORIA 2 in the 1980s, plus the more recent Fanderson conventions always have had at least one UFO guest. For more information, visit their website at http://www.fanderson.org.uk/
In Italy, the "Italian Section of SHADO" has invited several UFO cast members to Italy for conventions and events. You can visit their website at http://www.isoshado.org. (an english version is also available)
In Australia, a UFO fanzine series call FLIGHTPATH is available from Entropy Express. Here is a list of contents of the currently available issues.
24. Where are there UFO discussions & files on the Internet?
Probably the best place to discuss UFO on the Internet is the SHADO@yahoogroups.com discussion group, which has ~900 subscribers from around the world. This list is accessible to anyone with Internet e-mail access, and may be subscribed via the group's web site or by sending a blank message to the following e-mail address:
There is also a "UFO Series Home Page" on the World Wide Web with pictures, sounds, scripts, episode guides, etc., plus links to other sites of interest. The address is: