UFO

(United Kingdom | ITV | 1970 – 1971)

UFO
Series Background

Eager to move away from producing the puppet series with which they had made their names, UFO was Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's first attempt at a totally live-action sci-fi TV series.

Set in the 1980s, the series saw the Earth being visited by aliens from a dying world, and whose intentions were certainly not friendly — as evidenced by the fact that their primary objective was seemingly the use of abducted humans for organ transplantation.

Defending us from this alien menace was the secretive SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization), a military organisation funded indirectly by the United Nations, and which was well equipped to deal with the invaders.

The orbiting SID (Space Intruder Detector) was on permanent watch for any incursions into Earth's solar system, with any UFOs detected immediately coming under scrutiny from SHADO's base on the moon, which could launch Interceptors at a moment's notice. And if Earth's primary line of defence should prove inadequate, a fleet of underwater Skydiver submarines, permanently on patrol around the globe, were ready to attack any stray UFO by launching their supersonic attack aircraft (all of which were designated Sky One).

In charge of SHADO, was Commander Ed Straker (Ed Bishop), a career military man, whose dedication to his duty was demonstrated best in A Question of Priorities, when he diverted a SHADO flight carrying medicine for his critically injured son. Suffice to say, it didn't end well...

Under Straker was a whole host of regular and semi-regular characters, with the majority being based at the Harlington-Straker film studios, which were used a cover for SHADO's operations. Many of the remainder would be based on the moon — a frequent destination for Straker and his colleagues.

On Earth, the most frequently seen characters would be Colonel Alex Freeman (George Sewell), Straker's 2nd in Command, and Colonel Paul Foster (Michael Billington) who would later be promoted to Moonbase Commander. Other common faces would include Lieutenant Ford (communications), Captain Peter Carlin (Sky One pilot) and Dr Jackson (expert on all things medical and psychological — both human and alien).

Up in space, things would be slightly different, with the Moonbase under the control of Lieutenant Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) and her purple-wigged colleagues Nina Barry (Dolores Mantez) and Joan Harrington (Antonia Ellis).

A later addition to the cast would be Wanda Ventham as Colonel Virginia Lake, who would effectively be a replacement for Alec Freeman. In reality, this would be entirely down to a delay in filming caused by the closure of the series' film studios at Borehamwood. Resuming filming over six months later, the series would see a general shaking up of the cast, with George Sewell and Gabrielle Drake both having departed for pastures new. Up on Moonbase, Nina Barry would find herself promoted to Commander, although to most viewers the changes would probably not have been evident, as the series suffered the same fate as many of the ITC film series, with the different ITV regions showing them in whatever order they liked.

After a successful first season of twenty-six episodes, it was thought that the series would return for a second year, but plans for another run were hastily shelved after the ratings for the series went into decline in the United States. Sadly, the proposed UFO: 1999 soon found itself mutating into the rather more unwelcome form of Space: 1999...
Further Reading

The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO
by Chris Bentley
  • Reynolds & Hearn
  • Hardback
  • 2006

UFO and Space: 1999
by Chris Drake
  • Boxtree
  • Paperback
  • 1994
DVD Releases

The complete series has been released on DVD in the UK over two box sets. The series has also been released on DVD as a complete box set. The UK releases are subtitled.
UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1

by
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson,
Tony Barwick
and
Ian Scott Stewart
Cover image: UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1, Century 21 Books (2001)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Century 21 Books
Publication Date 2001
Original Price 7.99
ISBN N/A

Original Screenplays — Volume 1 contains the original scripts to four episodes of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
1980 — Unidentified Flying Objects bring Aliens from a dying planet to Earth, abducting humans to obtain organs that can be transplanted into their own bodies.

Operating from a secret complex hidden beneath a film studio, only SHADO — Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation — stands between the intruders and an unsuspecting world.

This edition presents the complete original screenplays of the first four episodes of Gerry Anderson's classic 1969 science-fiction television series UFO:
Identified, Computer Affair, Flight Path and Survival.

All four scripts were significantly altered during production, but are published here as first submitted to the cast and crew, complete with additional scenes and dialogue that did not appear in the broadcast episodes.
In the Press
  • TV Zone #148
    Review: p80, Andrew Pixley, 10/10
Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
Transmission dates are for ATV Midlands.

16/09/70 Identified Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, with Tony Barwick
15/05/71 Computer Affair Tony Barwick
20/01/71 Flight Path Ian Scott Stewart
16/01/71 Survival Ruric Powell
Notes
  • UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1 was the first in what was intended as a series of script books available exclusively to members of Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson fan club. In the event, this was the only one to be published.

    The four episodes included in the book were the first to be recorded for the series, meaning that Paul Foster's introductory episode, Exposed, is not included. Had there been a Volume 2 published, Exposed would have been the first script in it. When viewing the television series, the two episodes should be watched in the opposite order.

    The book is also notable as the scripts features Franco Desica, who was originally intended to be the third lead character in the show alongside Ed Straker and Alec Freeman.

    Difficulties on set with actor Franco Derosa led to him leaving show and resulted in the creation of two new characters: Paul Foster and Gay Ellis. Fortunately, Gabrielle Drake had already been cast as another character, so with a swift name change and promotion she was able to take over as Moonbase Commander. And a legion of male sci-fi fans will be forever grateful for that decision!
  • The book includes an introduction by Chris Bentley, detailing the changes made to scripts between writing and filming, as well as details of the cast and crew for the completed episodes and twelve pages of colour photographs in the centre.

    As Bentley's introduction takes pains to point out, the scripts in the book are the original ones handed out to cast and crew before any revisions were made. As well as the already mentioned Franco Desica, they also contain numerous scenes which were either not filmed or subsequently dropped before transmission due to timing reasons.
  • Identified was also novelised in UFO by Robert Miall, with a second adaptation appearing in the Italian book U.F.O..
  • Computer Affair was novelised in the second Robert Miall book, UFO 2.
  • Survival was novelised twice, in UFO 2 and the Italian U.F.O. book.
Cover image supplied by Shaqui Le Vesconte
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History
UFO

by
Robert Miall
Cover image: UFO, Pan Books (1970)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Pan Books
Publication Date 1970
Original Price (4/-) 20p
ISBN 0330026445

UFO is a novelisation of four episodes from the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
1980 — Unidentified Flying Objects race through the skies like bats out of hell, blasting... killing... vanishing to an unknown alien world.

With lunar missiles, orbiting satellites and manned supersonic warheads, Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organization, makes ready to seek, find and destroy the intruders.

Only SHADO stands between an unsuspecting world and the terror unleashed by a dying planet...
Other Editions
Cover image: UFO, UFO-1, Flesh Hunters, Warner Books (1973) Back cover image: UFO, UFO-1, Flesh Hunters, Warner Books (1973) UFO-1: Flesh Hunters
United States | Paperback | Warner Books | 1973 | 0446752738 | 1
This is the only edition published in the United States.
MEET THE SPACE GUERILLAS

Code name SHADO. The most secret, sophisticated — and important — group on Earth. Only they know that mankind is under attack by a hostile intelligence from outer space.

A silent, invisible invasion by deadly aliens, bent on conquest and extermination. And SHADO's mission is to seek, find and destroy the un-humans.

Why were the aliens kidnapping humans? SHADO had to know fast. They thought they scored when they captured an alien alive. But when he died, the mission of the un-human invaders become horrifyingly clear...

Cover image: UFO, Hayakawa Bunko, (1975) (UFO)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa Bunko | 1975 | 4150101736 | 1
Translated by Jun Kazami.
Cover image: UFO, Attaca Allo Terra, Fanucci Editore (2000) UFO: Attaca Allo Terra
Italy | Paperback | Fanucci Editore | 2000
An omnibus edition of UFO and UFO 2, translated by Alessandra Mazzoccoli and Elisa Villa. This was the only release of the original Robert Miall UFO novelisations in Italy, although Identified, Exposed and Survival had already been novelised separately in Italy for the 1973 U.F.O. book from Editrice La Sorgente.
Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
Transmission dates are for ATV Midlands.

16/09/70 Identified Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, with Tony Barwick
23/09/70 Exposed Tony Barwick
16/12/70 Close Up Tony Barwick
01/05/71 Court Martial Tony Barwick
Notes
Cover image: Timeslip, Pan Books (1970)
  • Like the novelisation of Timeslip, copies of the first UFO book were released via both the Pan Books and Piccolo imprints. The price and ISBN were the same for both editions.
  • UFO was the first of two novelisations based on the television series to be released by Pan Books, both of which were written by Robert Miall, a pen-name of John Frederick Burke.

    Burke was a prolific author of original fiction throughout the 1950s and 1960s, mainly under variations of his own name, but occassionally using pseudonyms, and between 1970 and 1973 would write six TV tie-ins for Pan Books, all under the Robert Miall name.

    As well as the two UFO novelisations, he would also write two novels based on Jason King (Jason King / Kill Jason King!, and one each based on The Protectors and The Adventurer — both of which would go under the titles of the series on which they were based.
  • Identified and Exposed were also novelised in the Italian U.F.O. book.

    The script to Identified was published in 2002 in UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1.
Back cover blurb for the Warner Books edition supplied by Stephen Barker
UFO 2

by
Robert Miall
Cover image: UFO 2, Pan Books (1971)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Pan Books
Publication Date 1971
Original Price (4/-) 20p
ISBN 0330026526

UFO 2 is a novelisation of three episodes from the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
1980 — Unidentified Flying Objects race through the skies like bats out of hell, blasting... killing... vanishing to an unknown alien world.

With lunar missiles, orbiting satellites and manned supersonic warheads, Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organization, makes ready to seek, find and destroy the intruders.

Only SHADO stands between an unsuspecting world and the terror unleashed by a dying planet...
Other Editions
Cover image: UFO, UFO-2, Sporting Blood, Warner Books (1973) Back cover image: UFO, UFO-2, Sporting Blood, Warner Books (1973) UFO-2: Sporting Blood
United States | Paperback | Warner Books | 1973 | 0446752746 | 2
This is the only edition published in the United States.
MEET THE SPACE GUERILLAS

Code name SHADO. The most secret, sophisticated — and important — group on Earth. Only they know that mankind is under attack by a hostile intelligence from outer space.

A silent, invisible invasion by deadly aliens, bent on conquest and extermination. And SHADO's mission is to seek, find and destroy the un-humans.

Were the aliens un-human invaders or new friends? Should humanity make welcome or war? SHADO couldn't afford to guess wrong — the stakes were the survival of the human race.

Cover image: UFO 2, Hayakawa Bunko, (1975) (UFO 2)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa Bunko | 1975 | 2
Translated by Jun Kazami.

Cover image: UFO, Attaca Allo Terra, Fanucci Editore (2000) UFO: Attaca Allo Terra
Italy | Paperback | Fanucci Editore | 2000
An omnibus edition of UFO and UFO 2, translated by Alessandra Mazzoccoli and Elisa Villa. This was the only release of the original Robert Miall UFO novelisations in Italy, although Identified, Exposed and Survival had already been novelised separately in Italy for the 1973 U.F.O. book from Editrice La Sorgente.
Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
Transmission dates are for ATV Midlands.

15/05/71 Computer Affair Tony Barwick
10/02/71 The Dalotek Affair Tony Barwick
16/01/71 Survival Ruric Powell
Notes
  • UFO 2 was the second of two novelisations based on the television series to be released by Pan Books, both of which were written by Robert Miall, a pen-name of John Frederick Burke.
  • Survival was also novelised in the Italian U.F.O. book.
  • The script to Computer Affair was published in UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1.
Back cover blurb for the Warner Books edition supplied by Stephen Barker
U.F.O.

by
Robert McDonald
Cover image: U.F.O., Editrice La Sorgente (1973)
Country Italy
Format Paperback
Publisher Editrice La Sorgente
Publication Date 1973
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN UNKNOWN

U.F.O. is a novelisation of six episodes from the television series.

Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
Transmission dates are for ATV Midlands.

16/09/70 Identified Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, with Tony Barwick
23/09/70 Exposed Tony Barwick
07/10/70 Conflict Ruric Powell
21/10/70 E.S.P. Tony Barwick
06/01/71 Survival Tony Barwick
24/02/71 Ordeal Tony Barwick
Notes
  • Copies of this book are also available with the author's name given as Paulo Proserpio on the front cover.

    The entry for the book in the online catalogue of the Italian National Library suggests that Paulo Proserpio is a pen-name of Robert McDonald.
  • This book was unusual in including novelisation of E.S.P., Conflict and Ordeal, none of which were never to be novelised in English.

    While it's not uncommon for foreign translations of existing books to be published, creating completely original material is fairly unusual, although something that does seem relatively common when it comes to the live-action Gerry Anderson series.

    As well as UFO Unbekannte Flugobjekte, the original UFO novel published exclusively in Germany, there was also a completely unique set of Space: 1999 novelisations published in Italy, and a series of six original German novels based on Season 2 of Space: 1999.
  • The scripts to Identified and Survival were released in UFO: Original Screenplays — Volume 1.
  • Identified and Exposed were first novelised in the Robert Miall book UFO.
  • Survival was originally novelised in UFO 2.
UFO Unbekannte Flugobjekte: In den Fängen der Ausserirdischen

by
Wolfgang Klesl
and
Viktor Straub
Cover image: UFO Unbekannte Flugobjekte, In den Fängen der Ausserirdischen, Breitschopf (1971)
Country Germany
Format Hardback
Publisher Breitschopf
Publication Date 1971
Original Price UNKNOWN
ISBN 3872545167

In den Fängen der Ausserirdischen is an original novel.

Notes
  • In den Fängen der Ausserirdischen was the only original novel based on UFO to be published, and was only ever released in Germany.

    The country has something of a reputation for releasing original novels which are never published elsewhere, with titles based on Season 2 of Space: 1999, the New Zealand children's drama The Tribe, and the American dramas Knight Rider and Stargate SG-1, also being available.
Cover image supplied by Shaqui Le Vesconte
The Gerry Anderson Complete Comic History
UFO Annual 1971

Cover image: UFO Annual 1971, Polystyle Publications Ltd (1970)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Polystyle Publications Ltd
Publication Date 1970
Original Price 12'/- (60p)
ISBN 0850960061

A large-format children's book, containing short stories, puzzles and articles.

Stories
  • The Snatch
  • Satellite Scare
  • Sabotage
  • Sea Scope
  • Countdown
Notes
  • This was the only UFO annual to be published. Like most others, the stories were interspersed with short articles about the characters and vehicles, as well as puzzles and games related to the television series. The annual is also liberally illustrated with colour photographs.