TV Cream

TV: U is for...


FIRST PROPER live-actioner from Supermationationer GERRY ANDERSON, fast forwarding to the 1980s for a caper through life in an alien defence organization (SHADO – Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation) led by jawy Ed Straker (ED “CAPTAIN BLUE” BISHOP) and GEORGE “SPECIAL BRANCH” SEWELL. GABRIELLE DRAKE slinked about in a tinselly purple wig playing a character called Gay, while WANDA VENTHAM was Colonel (tee hee) Virginia Lake. More “adulty” flavour signposted by catsuit arse shots and sub-Bond innuendoes (hence consequent ITV region indecision about pre-or-post-watershed scheduling), ditto those green patrol ships with the phallic missiles on the front. Alien invaders, disappointingly, kept themselves to themselves, mostly kidnapping humans and stealing organs for transplant when nobody was looking. Bit of a cop-out all round. None of it came true either.



  1. paulus

    May 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    A great show (as my child brain recalls)…. cat-suits and rave wigs. Exaclty what I wanted in women before I even realised it… RIP Ed Bishop

  2. Wes Sexwater

    June 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    An unmarriageable pedant writes… interceptors were white in the show; it was the Dinky simulacra that were green.

    Check out fine, scary-as-fuck and fresh-as-paint end-title theme on YT – unexpected slice of atonal electronica from Barry Gray.

    I think that’ll do.

  3. Caroline Wiggins

    October 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    The theme tune was brilliant and the whole thing was worth it just to ogle Michael Billington. My brother got Straker’s gold car (Dinky Toy) for his birthday and I still covet it today. My brother also had a Viewmaster with Viewmaster reels of UFO. Even better. Michael Billington in 3D!

  4. Borgduck

    February 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Whether you believe in Area 51, or not..

  5. Richardpd

    January 3, 2022 at 12:40 pm

    Betty Boo’s backing singers wore similar purple wigs in the video to Where Are You Baby?

    I missed most of the 1996 BBC2 repeats as I couldn’t get back from college in time. For some reason they didn’t show it on the usual Friday night slot for classic repeats.

    Elements of this could almost be a live action Captain Scarlet.

    Likewise the planned second series would have centred on the moonbase & ended up forming the basis of Space:1999.

  6. JBS

    December 11, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Ed Straker’s futuristic car was later owned by Dave Lee-Travis.

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