A newspaper in this episode places the date of these events
as around August 24, 1980. Also in this episode, Colonel
Freeman states that Moonbase should have the Utronic device
within a week, suggesting that it gets installed in early
The abbreviation "U.F.O." stands for Unidentified Flying
Object and since 1952 has been generally associated with the
possibility of such objects being extra-terrestrial vehicles
The voice of the robotic Space Intruder Detector satellite
(SID) was Mel Oxley, who also provided the voiceovers on
service messages for BBC radio and television in the
The title of this episode, "Identified", is likely a play on
the "unidentified" portion of the phrase Unidentified Flying Object.
The opening scene of this episode is later revealed to take
place in 1969.
The man taking the photographs of the landed UFO in the
woods in 1969 is later revealed to be Peter Carlin, who goes
on to become captain of Skydiver 1 for SHADO by
UFO was the only TV series of the time that I know of
depict alien invaders using projectile handguns and rifles
instead of laser or other energy weapons, as demonstrated in
this very first episode.
At 2:48 on the DVD, as the young woman, Leila Carlin, flees
from the UFOnaut and is backed up against a tree, we can see
that her short dress has been torn so high up that her
panties are seen through the tear! The right shoulder of her
dress is also torn through. But we get no indication of how
all this damage occurred; her dress was intact at the beginning
of the scene.
At 3:18 on the DVD, we see that the airplane that Colonel
Straker arrives in is a Handley Page. The UK aircraft
manufacturer went defunct in 1970, the same year UFO
premiered in England. A Handley Page hangar also appears at
The car in which Straker and General Henderson leave the airport
appears to be a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI.
A brief article in the 1970 UFO Annual reveals that
Straker has just completed an extensive tour of Europe and
Asia, presenting evidence to world leaders about the reality
of the UFO menace.
In these opening scenes, Straker is referred to as "Colonel"
and in later scenes as "Commander". This is a reflection of his new
position as leader of the organization SHADO. (A
brief article in the 1970 UFO Annual reveals that
Straker was promoted to this position by the International
Astrophysical Commission. The commission is later seen in
"Conflict". The IAC is a fictional institution.)
Straker and Henderson both wear "U.S." pins on their
uniform, confirming to the viewer that they are both
Americans with the U.S. Air Force.
During the car ride, a Cabinet minister informs Straker and
Henderson that the Prime Minister is already at Chequers
where they'll meet him in 30 minutes. Chequers is a real
world country residence in Buckinghamshire, England used by
the Prime Minister of the UK.
Also during the car ride, the Cabinet minister informs the
two military men that the British government has been in
constant communication with Paris, Moscow, and Bonn, giving
us an early indication that the formation of SHADO is an
international effort. Paris and Moscow are the capitals of
France and Russia (then the USSR), respectively. Bonn was
the capital of West Germany at the time (the current united
Germany has its capital in Berlin).
When General Henderson tells Colonel Straker to show the
Cabinet minister the files in the briefcase, during the car
ride, notice that Straker appears apprehensive about doing
so, though he does not question the order. Maybe he doesn't
As the Cabinet minister looks through the pages of the file
in shock, Henderson tells him, "the clincher is at the
back", to which Straker adds that it's an enlarged single
frame from the film shot by Peter Carlin. After the car is
blown off the road and crashes down a hillside following a
UFO attack, we see the photo, a blow-up of the landed UFO.
The Cabinet minister's death in the car crash is referred to
again in a back issue newspaper seen by Paul Foster in
General Henderson survived and appears in several later
episodes; the flashback story of "Confetti Check A-OK"
reveals that he was more severely injured than Straker and
took some months to fully recover.
SHADO operates from an underground headquarters beneath
Harlington-Straker Film Studios. The episode
A-O.K." reveals the studio is in or near a town called
Harlington in England. There are three Harlingtons in
England. Evidence in later episodes suggests that it is one that's a suburb of London.
This narrows it down to two: Harlington, a village north of
London in Bedforshire county, and Harlington, an area in the
westernmost borough of London, Hillingdon. A package Straker
receives in "E.S.P." is addressed to him at
Harlington-Straker Studios, Harlington West, Wessex.
There is no Harlington West in England and Wessex is only
officially known as a former kingdom in southwest England
ruled by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th-10th Centuries. Wessex
is not a recognized county in modern times. Since the
package is addressed Harlington West, it seems
likely that it refers to the westernmost Harlington of
London. It is also
possible that the mention of Wessex is intended by the
producers to be a nod to the novels of Thomas Hardy
(1840-1928) in which he placed his stories in the fictional
county of Wessex in southwestern England; additionally, he
renamed real world cities in that region to suggest a
slightly alternate history of his setting, e.g. Oxford
becomes Christminster, Dorchester becomes Casterbridge, etc.
Harlington could be argued to exist just within the
boundaries of Hardy's Wessex, so it may be that Harlington
in our world is Harlington West in Hardy's (and UFO's!).
The main building of
Harlington-Straker seen in most episodes of the
series is actually part of BBC Elstree Studios in
Notice throughout the TV series that the same daylight shot of the exterior
Harlington-Straker sign is often seen, the same shot
used over-and-over, as evidenced by the reflection of the
clock in the metallic surface...it always shows 11:10!
At 6:37 on the DVD, a couple in period dress next to a Model
T or similar automobile is seen on the grounds of
Harlington-Straker Film Studios. Presumably, it's related to
a film being shot there as the cover business of SHADO.
The vehicle that passes by the camera at 6:41 on the DVD is
a SHADO Jeep. The vehicles were originally designed on the
body of British Motor Corporation's Mini Moke vehicles for Gerry
1969 theatrical film
Journey to the Far Side of the
Sun (originally known as
At 6:56 on the DVD, we can make out that the cover of the
file folder being carried by the young woman reads, simply, "Harlington-Straker
The young woman wears the letter "A" on a gold chain around
her neck. It probably stands for her first name, Ayshea
(Johnson), as revealed in later episodes. She is a SHADO
The futuristic-looking vehicle model driven by Straker and
many other SHADO employees is referred to as a
in "Flight Path".
Like the SHADO Jeeps, these cars
also were originally built for
Journey to the Far Side of the
The cars seen in UFO generally have the steering
wheel on the left-hand side and are driven on the right-hand
side of the road, despite the fact that most of the
Earth-bound scenes take place in England, where autos are
built with the steering wheels on the right-hand side and
are driven on the left side of the road. I suppose we are
meant to presume that the roads have been changed in the
1980 of this series.
At 7:16 on the DVD, Straker walks away from his car without
closing the door! In later episodes, we see him press a
button under the dashboard before walking away to close the
door, but here we see Straker walk all the way into
the building and the car door is still open.
At 7:39 on the DVD, a couple of Shakespearean-dressed men
are seen in the lobby. These, again, are presumably actors
shooting a film or series for Harlington-Straker
Colonel Alec Freeman is presented as much more of a
womanizer (or womanizer-wannabe!) in this episode than he is
in any later appearances. It almost seems as if the writers
were trying to give him a Bond-esque personality here, but
abandoned the idea after this pilot episode. Since SHADO is
a new organization still at this point (as suggested later
in the episode), maybe Straker came down on Freeman about
his womanizing at work, pointing out it could be construed
as sexual harrassment, so Freeman stopped!
When we see Freeman enter Straker's studio office and give
his voiceprint identification at 8:50 on the DVD, he speaks
the phrase, "But soft, what light through yonder window
breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." He is
quoting a line delivered by Romeo in Shakespeare's Romeo and
The SHADO computer indentifies Freeman's voice, saying,
"Voiceprint positive identification, nine-seven, Freeman,
Alec E." A brief article about Freeman in the 1970 UFO
Annual reveals that 97 is Freeman's operative number in
Not that any UFO fan doesn't already
know this, but at 9:17 on the DVD,
the large sign in the underground
corridor reveals that SHADO is the
acronym of the Supreme Headquarters
Alien Defence Organisation. "Defence"
and "Organisation" are the British
spellings of the words as opposed to
the American "Defense" and
"Organization". Below the SHADO logo
is a list of departments in the
underground facility: Control Room,
Conference Room, Security,
Restaurant, Medical Center,
Lounge, Reception, Psycho-Analytic
Department, Documentation Check, and Computer Room.
The uniforms worn by many of the SHADO personnel at the
headquarters are similar to the ones worn by the personnel
of Moonbase Alpha in the later Gerry and Sylvia Anderson TV
series Space: 1999. Sylvia, a fashion designer,
designed the costumes in both cases.
(SHADO uniform at left, Space:
1999 uniform at right.)
The female SHADO employee at 10:15
on the DVD has a pouch or device on
her uniform belt that appears to
have a sort of stick figure on it.
This is seen throughout the series. I
guess it must be a variant of the
figure in the SHADO logo.
When Freeman enters Straker's SHADO office, a large
display screen behind his desk presents a constantly swirling
image of fog. In later scenes, the screen shows a shifting
pattern of colored lights (a similar color-display screen is
seen in the Leisure Sphere of Moonbase in this episode). Possibly
the screen is an art display that shows different abstract
In this episode, Westbrook Electronics is the maker of the
Utronic FTL (Faster-Than-Light) Radar. It's implied here
that Westbrook Electronics
is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. The firm, and the term "Utronic", appear to be fictional creations for
Straker reveals that, at the time of this episode, SHADO's
Moonbase and satellites have been operational for only the
past few months and there have been a few UFO detections but
no interceptions at this point.
Notice that most of the characters pronounce the term "UFO" as
yoo-fo instead of "U.F.O". One notable
exception is SID.
In this episode, we are introduced to Shadair, which seems
to be SHADO's own air transportation service.
At 12:43 on the DVD, Freeman's copilot on the Shadair plane
remarks that it must be quite a while since he'd landed an
SST. SST stands for supersonic transport.
Freeman's copilot here, Bill, appears again in
Affair", but is not seen again after that.
Freeman seems to refer to the Shadair supersonic transport
he flies in this episode as Seagull X-ray. "Seagull" may be
the model or name of the plane and "X-ray" merely an
alphabetic designation for this flight or vehicle, using the
NATO phonetic alphabet in which the letter X is designation
The loudspeaker array in the underground SHADO control room
has a shape similar to that of a flying saucer!
Quite a bit of cigarette smoking goes on in this series. In
the decades when the series was produced, cigarette smoking
by television characters was still considered acceptable by
most television producers and broadcasters, unlike today,
where cigarette smoking is rarely seen.
At 13:04 on the DVD,
Straker blows a smoke ring while smoking a cigarette. Since
CGI was still over a decade in the future, actor Ed Bishop
was obviously able to blow the ring himself.
Throughout the series, the rank of "lieutenant" seems to be
pronounced as lef-TEN-ənt by the British actors and
lew-TEN-ənt by the American ones! These are the
traditional pronunciations of the two countries.
The main body of Moonbase is made up of five spherical
interconnected by a central rectangular structure referred
to as Central Park. From the article "SHADO Defence:
Moonbase" in the 1970 UFO Annual, the five spheres
are identified as Command Sphere, Sleep Sphere, Leisure
Sphere, Reception Sphere, and Reactor Sphere. The Reactor
Sphere also houses storage and garages for the moon
transporters. Also according to
the article, the base is powered by atomic generators and
solar panels. TV Action Holiday Special 1972 has a
nice cutaway view of Moonbase, with descriptions of the
spheres and Central Park; click the image at right to
see the full-size image.
The purple hair of the female personnel at Moonbase is never
explained in the series. It becomes evident that those
characters are wearing purple wigs, seemingly as part of
their Moonbase uniforms, in later episodes when Lt. Ellis is
seen at meetings at SHADO headquarters on Earth with normal
brunette hair. Sylvia Anderson, as co-producer and fashion
designer of the show, has said she wanted to suggest that
the wearing of wigs as a fashion statement had become fairly
commonplace in the year 1980. In this episode, the wigs are
cut a bit unevenly around the face, but later episodes
mostly corrected this.
At 15:26 on the DVD, notice that the food tray from which
Ken eats at Moonbase looks similar to the tray of paste-like
food used by the astronauts on board the spaceship Discovery
in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since this
pilot was shot shortly after the release of the film, it may
have been an inspiration. Notice also that behind Ken is a
wall where one may receive meals of different national
varieties: French, American, Russian, Italian, English, and
At 15:45 on the DVD, Lt. Ellis picks up a copy of Design
magazine in the Leisure Sphere. This was a real magazine at
the time the series was made.
Notice that each division of SHADO (HQ, Moonbase, Skydiver)
has a unique uniform. The Skydiver uniforms are probably the
oddest in that that the shirts are made mostly of a sort of
netting, allowing the torso underneath to be seen quite
clearly! This means seeing hairy chests on the men and breasts on
the women (though women seem to be shown from a distance and
with a bit of flesh-colored fabric obfuscation).
During his lecture to Lt. Ford, Straker reveals that HQ is
located 80 feet below the film studio.
At 18:43 on the DVD (and earlier, at 16:55, but it's not as
visible), we see that Captain Carlin has a photo of his
missing sister hanging above the bunk in his cabin on
Skydiver 1. (In the novelization, he also
has a picture of her in the cockpit of Sky 1).
At 19:02 on the DVD, notice that the hemispherical sculpture
of the moon's surface on the wall of the Moonbase control
room is actually an entire spherical globe, half-submerged
into the wall, that can be rotated
to look at different regions.
The nosecone of the Shadair Seagull is capable of rotating
into a straight, streamlined position for supersonic flight
or angled position for better ground view during landings,
just like the famed commercial airliner, the Concorde.
However, the nosecone here is referred to as a "heat shield"
and is lowered when the plane drops speed down to 600 knots.
At 22:00 on the DVD, Colonel Virginia Lake is reading a
Daily Express newspaper with the front page headline
"MOONGOLD?" The date on the paper shows 24 August 1980. The
Daily Express is a real world tabloid newspaper
published in the UK since 1900. The image of the knight in
the masthead is similar, but not exact, to the mascot used
by the corporation. Since it is a UK paper and the Colonel
has just been picked up in the U.S., the paper was probably
already on board the plane as reading material for
passengers; the date may or may not be that day's actual
date, but is likely within a day or so, helping us place the
episode in our chronology.
The headline here (and the photo of the moon
below it) is seemingly meant to suggest that gold may have
been found on the moon. The arrow in the newspaper photo
looks as if if may be pointing to Albategnius crater,
located at lunar coordinates 11.2°S 4.1°E. At the time the series was made, it
was not generally believed that there could be much, if any, gold
on the moon due to it's lack of water, necessary for the
formation of gold during magma processes. But the results of
the NASA LCROSS probe in 2009 showed there was water ice in
a permanently shadowed crater (Cabeus) at the moon's south pole, so
some speculation has been made recently that there may
some gold on the moon.
This episode reveals that a Utronic beam (used in the new
sensors developed for SHADO by Westbrook Electronics)
travels almost instantaneously, making it capable of
detecting a UFO even when it is travelling at many times the
speed of light in deep space. However, the Utronic equipment
has only just been perfected and not yet deployed (as later
confirmed by Freeman when he tells Straker the Utronic
system will be fitted and operational at the tracker
stations within a week), so how is it that SID is able to
detect the approach of a UFO shortly after, which it states
is travelling at a velocity of 1.5 million miles a second?
That's about 8 times the speed of light!
When SID announces the detection of a UFO approaching, the
coordinates displayed on the screen at Moonbase include the
term "Sol 8". Since we've already determined above
that the UFO is approaching at 8 times the speed of light,
the term "Sol 8" must stand for "speed of light" times 8.
The Interceptor pilots and Sky pilots slide down chutes to
access their fighters. This may be a sort of in-joke to
chutes used to board the cockpits of craft in the earlier
Anderson marionette television productions of Stingray
At 31:28 on the DVD, the shot has been reversed, as Captain
Carlin's facial scar is on the wrong side of his face!
This shot is used repeatedly in later episodes.
At 31:02 on the DVD, the wires holding the model of Sky 1
are clearly visible!
When the UFO is shot out of the sky by Sky 1, it spews
orange smoke for some reason. Does it have to do with the
fuel or atmosphere inside the craft?
The night shot of the Harlington-Straker sign at 35:47 on
the DVD does not show the clock reflection that the daylight
shots do; the sign's surface appears to now be a metallic,
non-reflective surface. The image looks as if it may be a
miniature sign and background rather than on location.
Notice also that the blue truck behind the sign has "HS Studios" painted on the side.
Freeman is shown in this and other episodes to have a
fondness for whiskey, though there is no indication that he
is an alcoholic.
In this episode, Straker claims he never drinks liquor.
However, some later episodes do show him drinking a rare
glass of champagne or whisky.
An unidentified caller from Mayland Hospital informs Straker
that the injured alien has been brought in and will be
transported through an underground corridor to SHADO medical
center. This seems to suggest that there is underground
access to SHADO HQ via a public hospital somewhere in the
area of Harlington. As far as I can determine, Mayland
Hospital is fictional.
At 39:28 on the DVD, the camera focuses on an overhead light
in the operating room that has a similar shape to a flying
During his examination of the injured alien, Dr. Schroeder
learns that the being is basically humanoid, with a body
temperature 3 degrees above human, low blood pressure, and
poor muscular development. The novelization also has Dr.
Schroeder revealing the alien has a cranium 10% larger than
the human norm. And the post-mortem report received by
Straker reveals hereditary sterility in at least this
Dr. Schroeder believes the green tint of the alien skin to
simply be the result of staining from the green fluid it
breathed in the spacesuit. He suggests the fluid is bio-achrophyllic
since it does not stain the hair on the body. I have not
been able to find the term "bio-achrophyllic"
in use in the real world, but
"bio" means "living", "acro" means "extremity", and phyllic
means "leaf-like"; so he may be using the term to refer to a
botanical-based (causing the green color) compound that
affects living tissue. Human hair, as seen above the surface
of the skin, is actually non-living, so that would explain
bio-achrophyllic compound would not stain it.
The alien's fluid-filled suit for breathing, plus the
plastic lenses to protect the eyes, are similar to the
liquid-breathing apparatus used by the character of Bud
Brigman to survive the extreme pressure of diving into a
deep ocean trench in the 1989 film The Abyss. Upon
learning of the alien's liquid breathing suit, Freeman
states that Earth has been experimenting with such concepts
for space travel as well; this is true even in the real world,
with the idea that liquid breathing suits could ameliorate
the effects of G-forces on the human body.
In the single-shot scene from 41:24-42:06 on the DVD, a hair
appears to be stuck on the camera lens at the bottom center
throughout the scene!
In this episode Straker suggests the aliens have a
technological level several hundred years in advance of
The post-mortem report on the alien indicates it had had
five major organs and glands replaced, with the heart
replacement being a human one (soon revealed to be that of
This episode suggests that at least one of the reasons the
aliens are coming to Earth and abducting humans is for
replacement organs for their dying race. But a civilization
as advanced as theirs ought to be able to clone their own
organs for such a purpose. And even if they wanted human
organs for some unknown reason, they could also clone those
once they had a few specimens. The ability to clone humans
is even used by the aliens in
"Reflections in the Water"
to replace SHADO personnel as part of a plot, so it's not as
if they don't have cloning technology.
The closing credits music is borrowed from
Journey to the Far Side of the
Notes from the novelization of
"Identified" by Robert Miall, published as UFO in Great
Britain and UFO: Flesh Hunters in the USA.
(Roughly speaking, chapters 1, and 6-8
cover the events of "Identified". The page numbers come from the 1st
printing, UK paperback edition, published 1971)
This book is actually a novelization of several episodes,
interwoven into a single story in a way the televised
versions are not. It features the plot and characters of
and "Court Martial". For purposes of
this study of "Identified", only the chapters covering this
episode will be covered here. The chapters covering others
are dealt with in the studies of those episodes.
Page 5 refers to "D Notices" as part of the UFO cover-up. D
Notices, or Defence Notices (currently referred to as DA
Notices for Defence Advisory) have been used in the UK since
1912, as a request, not legally binding, to the news media
by the government to
not publish or broadcast specified subjects for the good of
Also on page 5, a Special Branch man rides next to the
chauffer. "Special Branch" refers to any
British intelligence unit responsible for national security.
On page 7, Straker reflects sardonically on the reality of
UFOs, against the drunken hallucinations of a rollicking
party-goer, comparing flying saucers and weather balloons.
Since the beginning of modern day UFO sightings in 1947,
weather balloons have been one of many theories of what
witnesses were actually seeing.
Straker goes on to reflect on a couple of recent UFO
incidents that have occurred, spurring the formation of
SHADO: a manned space capsule blew up ten thousand miles
from the moon; and a jumbo jet full of passengers was torn
apart over the Atlantic Ocean, with the pilot apparently
screaming about a UFO over the radio before they all died.
The end of Chapter 1 affirms that the reality of UFOs is
being kept from the public.
On page 41, Freeman thinks of his Romeo and Juliet quote as
a "test" for the voice identification system; if he can foul
it up, it will give "Louis and his little gang something to fret
about." This may be a reference to Louis Graham, a SHADO
electrical engineer who appears briefly in a couple of
Page 41 implies that Freeman (depicted as a womanizer, just
as in the episode) may have had a failed liaison with a
silver-blonde-haired girl who works in the SHADO control room.
As Freeman walks into Straker's SHADO office on page 41,
Straker is described as wearing a "starkly aluminum
uniform", unlike the khaki overall-suit he wears in the
televised episode. In the TV episodes, the "aluminum"
uniforms are reserved for Moonbase personnel.
Also on page 41, Freeman seems to think of Straker as just
barely a friend: "Straker was first and foremost a brilliant
mathematical device...you didn't make friends, in any real
human sense, with a calculating machine..." This may also go
towards Freeman's surprise in
"Computer Affair" that Straker
chooses to keep Lt. Ellis on in SHADO instead of taking the
computer's recommendation to relieve her of duty as too emotional
for the job.
Page 42 implies SHADO has a submarine base at which the
Skydiver subs are based.
On page 43, Straker remarks that he wants to learn what the
aliens are made of and Freeman responds, "Not sugar and
spice, that's for sure." This is from the well-known nursery
rhyme "What Are Little Boys Made Of?", original versions of
which date to at least the 18th Century. The
commonly-known modern version goes:
What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
On page 43, Freeman lands the Shadair Seagull at Stevenson
Airbase near Los Angeles to pick up Colonel Virginia Lake.
There is no such airbase in the real world.
Page 44 suggests that the Seagull is capable of flying at
speeds at least up to Mach 4. This is within the supersonic
range. If it were to travel at Mach 5 or higher, it would be
Also on page 44, the Seagull is said to be climbing towards
the stratosphere. The stratosphere is the secondary region
of the Earth's atmosphere, 6-30 miles above the surface, below
the mesosphere and above the troposphere.
The stratosphere is where most commercial airliners fly for
maximum fuel efficiency.
Page 53 mentions Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks of London, covering
about 350 acres.
The novel implies that Freeman is Australian and the
original script of "Identified" calls for an actor with an
Australian accent, but actor George Sewell was British, and
played the character that way; he has indicated in
interviews that he was never told to change anything or play
Australian. Given all this, it seems more likely that the
Australian background was abandoned after the pilot script
was written and Freeman is, in fact, British.
Page 54 suggests that Straker has a standard bar of liquor
bottles in his office instead of the "futuristic"
press-button liquor service seen in episodes of the TV
Page 58 reveals that SHADO scientists had long speculated
that the alien UFO pilots might be lapped in a liquid
environment in order to survive the devastating speeds with
which the craft moved through space and entered Earth's
As his alien patient begins to die on page 63, Dr. Schroeder
calls for an "H and K unit". I've been unable to find what
this may refer to in medical terms.
PopApostle reader David K. made an interesting observation
about Sky 1 and Earth's defences in his reading of this
With regard to the first novelization, “UFO 1: Flesh
Hunters”, within the section adapted from “Identified”,
Earth defenses are mobilized to attack the inbound UFO that
had evaded Moonbase Interceptors. There are quotes of radio
traffic that include the commands “Alert Skydiver”, and,
notably, “Alert Squadron”. I take those two words to
indicate the in-story existence of at least one squadron of
combat aircraft that supplement Sky 1 for atmospheric
defense. That would be quite logical, for it is a common
critique that the series often seemed to imply that Sky 1
was SHADO’s singular combat aircraft, incredibly tasked to
defend the entire Earth. Off-camera action by “Squadron”
might help explain how Sky 1 seemed to be portrayed as
destroying 25 UFOs in the episode
“Reflections In The
Water”. Then there was "Replacement Sky 1", which was
seen in the episodes "Ordeal" and
"A Question of
Priorities", not as replacement for a destroyed
original, but as a substitution aircraft rotated into
How were the aliens getting their information regarding Top
Secret SHADO activities? In the early minutes of the
episode, they somehow know to target Straker's car on the
way to the meeting with the British Prime Minister to fully
authorize the formation of SHADO. Later, they are aware of
the transport jet that is carrying vital Utronic equipment
for SHADO and attempt to intercept it. (In the later episode
"Flight Path", we do meet a compromised SHADO employee in
the Psychoanalysis department, seemingly working for the
aliens.) In the novelization, Freeman also wonders how the
aliens are getting their information about SHADO activities
and muses on the possibility of them having some kind of
extrasensory perception; there are intimations of this
ability in a couple later episodes.
What is the meaning of the squiggly, multi-colored lights
the dying alien seems to see in his mind's eye for a few
seconds a couple different times? Might it be related
to the possibly incorporeal nature of the aliens, as
speculated by Dr. Jackson later in
"The Cat With Ten Lives"?
How do the chutes used by the Interceptor pilots work? The
chutes are located in the Leisure Sphere, but from the
outside, the sphere does not appears to have any room for
chutes to the underground Interceptor hangar.
What is the meaning of the planet
that shows up at the end of the
credits of each episode? The closing
credits start with the globe of the
Earth almost filling the screen.
Then the shot pulls back slowly to
reveal first, the moon in orbit
behind Earth, farther back to
include the glowing orb of the sun,
farther back and a dead, pitted
celestial body comes into view,
while the music turns decidedly more
ominous. It doesn't seem likely that
it's one of our known planetary
neighbors in the solar system
because the Earth is still a fairly
large, blue globe in space, while
our system's planets are far enough apart that
Earth would appear only as a small
blue star, just as Mars appears to
us as a small red one. Is it just a
symbolic representation of the
aliens' dying world observing us? Or
could it be that it is a sister
world to our own within our system, somehow masked
from detection by the aliens? If so,
has it always been there or did it
somehow "travel" to our system?
On the other hand, it
is suggested in the course of
the series that the alien homeworld
is located light-years away. It is interesting to
note that the Andersons' prior
project, the 1969 theatrical film
Journey to the Far Side of the
Sun (originally known as
Doppelgänger), is about the
discovery of another world, actually
another Earth, on the same orbit as
our world, but on the far side of
the sun, always hidden from view.
Another thing to consider, regarding
my speculation of an alien world
potentially travelling to our system,
is the Anderson project which
followed UFO, the 1975-77 TV series
Space: 1999, in which Earth's moon
is blown out of orbit by a nuclear
explosion, taking the human
inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha on an
odyssey across the cosmos.
Notice also, at about 43 seconds into the closing credits sequence,
that a bright pinpoint of light suddenly shoots vertically upwards
on the right-hand side of the sun. If you blink, you'll miss it. Was
it a spaceship?
||Earth and moon
|Earth, moon, and
||Earth, moon, sun,
and unidentified planet
NOTES FROM THE 1970 UFO ANNUAL
A photo caption of Peter Carlin on page 48 identifies him as
Jon Karlin. This was the character's name in pre-production.
The article "SHADO Defence: Skydiver" reveals that Skydiver
craft are manned by a crew of just 6 people. The craft is
capable of hovering over the sea in "seaskim" mode. The
article implies only one Skydiver craft, but various other
sources suggest there is more than one; indeed,
Skydiver 3 is seen later in
"The Psychobombs" (and
Colonel Lake also mentions Sky 4). (Thanks to reader
David K. for pointing out that I neglected the appearance of
Sky 3 and Sky 4 in scenes and dialog of
"The Psychobombs" in this
"SHADO Defence: Skydiver" article also reveals that UFOs
have been known to operate beneath Earth's ocean, making the
submersible capabilities of Skydiver craft indispensible.
Page 51 features a breakdown of SID's external apparatus.
The "SHADO Moon Craft" article reveals that the moon module
ships are atomic-powered.
The "SHADO Defence: SHADO Mobiles" article reveals that the
vehicles are not only capable of travelling on land, but
also on water.
The "Shadocars" article reveals that the automobiles driven
by many members of SHADO are capable of speeds in excess of
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