Second Series DVD setUFO
UFO was the first full attempt at a real action TV series that Gerry and Silvia Anderson had made. Set sometime in the 1980s, the Earth was battling against an alien force whose only chance of survival to was to kidnap humans and steal vital organs. To avoid alarm, the threat was kept secret and an organisation, S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation), was set up to defend the Earth. This series was a new departure for the Anderson's and was not aimed at the children's audience that other series like Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet had, and it suffered as a result. Being broadcast on ITV, the regional schedulers all had their own ideas about when it should be broadcast, and with some episodes having markedly adult themes - drugs, sex, and hallucination - it tended to get odd slots.

The series ran for a total of 26 episodes (in hour long slots on ITV), was made by Century 21 Television/ITC and the first transmission on ATV (Midlands) in the early 70s. Produced by Reg Hill, the cast consisted of Ed Bishop, Dolores Mantez, Harry Baird, Michael Billington, Peter Gordeno, Jon Kelley, George Sewell, Grant Taylor, Jeremy Wilkin, Wanda Ventham, Keith Alexander, Ayshea Brough, Gabrielle Drake, Gary Myers, Georgina Moon, Vladek Sheybal, Norma Ronald, and Mel Oxley. Gerry Anderson was the shows Executive Producer and the writers included the Anderson's, Ian Scott Stewart, Ruric Powell, Alan Pattillo, Alan Fennell, Donald James, David Lane and Bob Bell, David Tomblin, Terence Feely, Dennis Spooner, although the principal writer for the series was Tony Barwick.

It's status as a cult classic is certainly not in doubt and the fully digitally restored versions that have been released by Carlton are proving hugely popular, and rightly so. Carlton have done a wonderful job, as ever, on these releases, and I am very glad that they have the rights to release the ITC archive. Those of you who are regulars to the site will remember the glowing reviews to the first series releases a while back. These were individually available or as a digipak, and contained the first 14 episodes across 4 discs. Each separate DVD contained a minimun of 3 shows along with an assortment of extras inculding an alternative opening sequence, and audio commentary from Gerry anderson, stills and profile galleries, and deleted scenes,a nd the new second series digipak follows this tradition.

Containing the remaining 4 discs, this also comes with an information booklet and collectors postcards and is packed with special features. In addition to the standard productions and behind the scenes galleries, there is also a memorabilia gallery, an episode commentary from Ed Bishop, who played Commander Ed Straker, production notes, cast details and various storyboards. Priced at just 49.99, this set is superb value and a worthy addition to any collection, but you don't have to dig deep as I have one set to give away, courtesy of Carlton. all you have to do is answer this simple question, email it to me before 17th July, and sit back to await the announcement of the winner.

Competition prize
--- C O M P E T I T I O N ---

What was the name of the series that George Sewell (Colonel Alec Freeman) starred in alongside Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell?

Yes a nice simple one there. Put the answer in the RE: box of the email, remember to include your name and address in the body of the mail and send it to me. This is only available to those resident in the UK, the winner will be plucked out of a cyber hat with my decision being final, and no correspondance will be entered into.

What follows is only an outline of the series, and if you require more information, then I suggest you go to the official website or the brillliant site of the Fanderson website where I got most of this information from. Fanderson also has details on the other Gerry Anderson shows, many of which have already been released on DVD and video by Carlton.

ATV Midlands
Identity16.9.701980: After ten years of setbacks and sabotage, SHADO - Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation - is finally ready to defend the Earth from Alien invasion. Following a fire at Westbrook Electronics, Colonel Freeman is assigned to safeguard important Utronic equipment on a flight from Los Angeles. But SID detects an approaching UFO - its target: Freeman's aircraft!
Computer Affair15.5.71An astronaut is killed during a UFO alert and the UFO gets through SHADO's outer defences. Straker wants to know why it happened and suspects human error. Is the relationship between Gay Ellis and Mark Bradley to blame?
Flight Path20.1.71Straker learns that technician Paul Roper is passing computer coordinates to the Aliens. Under interrogation, Roper explains that his wife is being threatened, but is unable to reveal the identity of his contact. The significance of the coordinates remains a mystery until Straker realises that the Aliens are planning to attack Moonbase!
Survival6.1.71Foster proves that the sudden decompression of the Leisure Sphere, which killed astronaut Bill Grant, was caused by an Alien bullet - fired by a lone Alien at large on the lunar surface. Leading a team to track down the Alien's UFO, Foster's investigations lead to disaster when he is cut off from Moonbase, believed dead!
Exposed23.9.70An XV-104 test plane wanders into a UFO target area and the pilot, Paul Foster, makes sightings of both the UFO and Sky One. Angry and frustrated that no one believes his story, Foster suspects a cover-up and decides to conduct his own investigation into the activities of ex-USAF Colonel Ed Straker. This episode introduces the character of Paul Foster and was intended to be screened as Episode 2
Conflict7.10.70When an Alien Limpet UFO causes the destruction of Lunar Module 32, Straker demands a clean-up programme by the International Astrophysical Commission to remove hazardous space debris from Earth orbit. But Straker finds himself butting heads with I.A.C. chairman James Henderson, who wants a complete shut-down of SHADO operations...
The Dalotek Affair10.2.71When Moonbase experiences a radio and video blackout, Foster suspects that a geo-scanner, operated by a team of surveyors at the Dalotek installation, is to blame. Then a second blackout causes the deaths of two astronauts when their lunar module crashes near Moonbase. But are the Dalotek team to blame?
A Question Of Priorities14.10.70Straker faces the toughest decision of his career when his son is critically injured in an accident. The drug that can save his life can only be ferried from New York in time aboard a SHADO Transporter - the same Transporter that is in the prime position to track an Alien defector on the West Coast of Ireland.
Ordeal14.4.71Tired and hung-over after an all night party, Foster takes part in a mandatory fitness programme at the SHADO Research Centre. After passing out in the sauna, he wakes to find the Centre under attack by the Aliens, who beat him senseless and drag him to their UFO!
The Responsibility Seat8.3.73Reporter Jo Fraser bugs Straker's office and records a potentially damaging communique. To maintain security, Straker sets out to recover the tape, leaving Alec Freeman in the hot seat back at SHADO HQ as a Russian mobile rig goes out of control and heads for a collision with Moonbase...
The Square Triangle9.12.70In the woods between Clare Cross and Lingbury, an injured Alien stumbles into a lonely cottage and is shot down by Liz Newton and her lover Cass Fowler. Liz and Cass are taken to SHADO HQ for questioning, but when Liz's husband arrives at the cottage, Paul Foster realises that the Alien's death was no accident!
Court Martial1.5.71Classified information about a Skydiver rendezvous with a supply ship has been leaked to the press and Paul Foster is the only suspect. Under SHADO regulations he faces a military court martial - if he is found guilty, the sentence is death! Believing him to be innocent, Straker and Freeman race to find the real culprit.
Close Up16.12.70Straker gets IAC backing to use a B142 space probe mounted with an electronic telescope to track and follow a UFO to its origin, there to take pictures of the Alien homeworld and transmit them back to Earth. Now comes the difficult part - to manoeuvre a UFO into a position where the probe can be activated into a new flight pattern.
Confetti Check A-O.K.10.7.71After Lt. Grey becomes a father, Straker recalls the early days of SHADO. It is 1970 and the United Nations grants Straker the finance to set up his defence organisation. But the long hours and secrecy have a disastrous effect on his marriage...
E.S.P.21.10.70John Croxley's talent for extra sensory perception is heightened after his wife is killed when a UFO crashes into their house. With his mind under the influence of the Aliens, Croxley learns the secrets of SHADO and lures Straker and Freeman to the remains of his house - to kill them!
Kill Straker!4.11.70When a Lunar Module is attacked by a UFO, Straker makes a split-second decision that endangers the astronauts, but ultimately saves them. Later, he is surprised to find his authority being questioned by his most loyal officer, Colonel Paul Foster, who spearheads a campaign against him. Then an attempt is made on Straker's life...
Sub-Smash11.11.70Suspecting a UFO to be responsible for the sinking of a freighter, Straker, Foster and Nina Barry investigate in Skydiver. Attacked by an undersea UFO, the submarine is downed on a ledge on the sea bed and the crew are trapped. While Straker fights against his claustrophobia, Nina faces a living nightmare...
The Sound Of Silence17.7.71While SHADO tracks a UFO in heavy woodland, international show-jumper Russell Stone goes missing from his estate. Foster investigates a lake where there is no sign of animal life and discovers a mutilated corpse...
The Cat With Ten Lives30.9.70The body of an Alien, recovered after a UFO attack on Moonbase, reveals some startling new evidence which overturns all SHADO's previous theories about the Aliens. For Interceptor pilot Jim Regan, the news has tragic consequences as he becomes possessed by the mind of an Alien held in the body of a Siamese cat!
Destruction2.12.70A Naval vessel shoots down a UFO in the Atlantic, but the Admiralty rejects further investigation into the incident. Straker suspects a cover-up and wants to know why, so Foster courts Admiral Sheringham's secretary, Sarah Bosanquet. What they discover could mean the end of all life on Earth...
The Man Who Came Back3.2.71Reported missing, presumed dead, after a UFO incident which has left SID disabled, astronaut Craig Collins turns up alive and well. But as an operation to complete repair work on SID is planned, Colonel Lake and Colonel Grey discover that Collins is not the man he used to be...
The Psychobombs30.12.70Three ordinary people are possessed by the Aliens and given fantastic powers to enable them to carry out acts of sabotage against SHADO installations. After the destruction of the Fairfield Tracker Station and Skydiver 3, Paul Foster makes contact with Linda Simmonds, the last surviving member of the trio. But SHADO HQ is the next target on the Aliens' list.
Reflections In The Water24.7.71The freighter 'Kingston' is sunk in mid-Atlantic by "flying fish" missiles and an underwater cameraman dies in mysterious circumstances. Then Deep Probe 87 reports a build-up of UFOs in Area NML 12 and Straker discovers that the Aliens plan to bypass the SHADO defences with an elaborate deception.
Timelash17.2.71Straker and Colonel Lake return to the Harlington-Straker Studios to find the SHADO personnel inexplicably frozen in time. Realising that the timelock is the result of Alien intervention and heralds an invasion attempt, the pair find themselves racing against time in a duel to the death!
Mindbender13.1.71A UFO destroys itself within three miles of Moonbase and astronaut Conroy returns from the crash site with a rare moon diamond. But the diamond has been planted by the Aliens to exert a hallucinogenic influence over the SHADO personnel - soon there are Mexican bandits in Moonbase Control and Aliens at SHADO HQ!
The Long Sleep15.3.73Catherine Frazer awakes from a ten year coma with vital information about a close encounter in a derelict farmhouse. Straker struggles to unravel the mystery locked in Catherine's memories and unearths a terrifying threat that has lain dormant for a decade.