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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: The Long Sleep UFO
"The Long Sleep"

TV episode
Teleplay by: David Tomblin
Directed by: Jeremy Summers

 

A young woman awakens from a 10-year coma, reopening a dormant UFO investigation headed by Straker.

 

Read the episode synopsis at IMDB

 

NOTES FROM THE UFO CHRONOLOGY

 

The SHADO personnel in this episode are clearly those from the second half of the season, with first half character Freeman absent as well, which would tend to place this episode in the later years of the continuity, e.g. 1984, and was one of the later-aired episodes of the series. However, the flashback scenes of "10 years ago" are identified as taking place in 1970 no less than three times. Thus, the "present day" scenes must be in 1980. But then again, Colonel Foster appears prominently, and he would have been still in SHADO training in 1980 (from September 1980 through March 1981, as suggested by events in "Exposed" and "Conflict"). Due to the presence of Colonel Foster and the second-half characters, I have chosen to ignore the 1970 dates (imagine they say 1974 instead) and place "The Long Sleep" in the chronology in 1984 for the "present day" scenes. (The types of glasses seen on the bar in Straker's office are the ones seen in the second-half of the season, as well.)

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

The Harville Hospital appearing in the episode appears to be fictional.

 

At 3:59 on the DVD, a sign on the hospital wall points to the surgical ward and offices of Drs. E. Brooks, L.G. Laski, O. Nicholson, N. Farkov, and S.E. Solomon.

 

After she awakens from her 10-year coma, Straker introduces himself to Catherine Fraser and states he works for an organization whose function is to investigate all reports of unidentified flying objects. But that is his secret job; officially he is just the head of Harlington-Straker film studios. So is he planning on using the amnesia drug on her once he gets the information he wants? Seems kind of cold! And, what if she tells someone else in the hospital about him before then? Of course, the point is ultimately moot since she dies at the end of the episode.

 

Catherine tells Straker she met Tim at Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus is the circular junction of several major roads in the West End of London (circus is Latin for "circle"). The shot at 7:09 on the DVD is of Piccadilly Circus; Tim is seen sitting on the steps of Shaftesbury memorial fountain.

 

At 8:04 on the DVD, several advertising signs are seen at Piccadilly Circus. The most prominent is a slogan on a double-decker bus, "Everybody gets your message in flowers." Presumably this is the slogan of a florist, but I've been unable to identify it. On buildings around the circus, we see ads for Gordon's Gin, Wrigley's Spearmint Gum, Grant's Scotch Whisky, Lillywhites sports retailer, Max Factor, and Mon Chéri chocolates.

 

A truck with a Sunhouse trailer attached drives by at 9:47 on the DVD. "Sunhouse" appears to be a brand name, but I've not been able to nail down what company or product it would be at the time UFO was made (1969-70).

 

When Catherine and Tim are seen walking along a river past an aviary, they must be at a zoo, because a boat with the sign Zoo Water Bus sails past in the background at 11:46 on the DVD. (According to the original script of the episode, it was Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, near London.)

 

At 12:10 on the DVD, Catherine and Tim walk past Covent Garden Station, a tube station on the Piccadilly Line.

 

The pick-up truck that picks up Catherine and Tim and drives them to the country has a sign on the door that says TOM STRINGER WHOLESALE <something> MERCHANTS.

 

At 17:22 on the DVD, the words "Kilroy was here" are seen written on the barn wall in the background. This was a popular phrase written on the walls of public places visited by U.S. servicemen in WWII and then became well-known and repeated by people all over the world. On an adjoining wall to the left in the same scene the cartoon drawing of a bald man peeking over a wall which became known to accompany the slogan is also seen; the cartoon seems to have originated in England prior to the Kilroy slogan and was later joined to it (the cartoon figure was called Chad or Mr. Chad before becoming associated with the Kilroy slogan).

 

Catherine tells Straker she must have been unconscious for a long time after being struck by one of the aliens at the old farm. But when she checks for Tim's body outside, she sees the aliens dragging him away. So, if the aliens wanted to take Tim, why would they wait "a long time" to take him? It seems like they would immediately go outside and take him, suggesting that Catherine was not unconscious for as long as she thought (the drugs she took with Tim that night may have affected her sense of the passage of time).

 

At 29:00 on the DVD, the vehicle registration sticker on the truck that picks up Catherine shows the date of JUL 70, implying that the flashback scenes took place in 1970, placing the time when Catherine awoke from her coma 10 years later in 1980. Similarly, Straker's Ford Mustang in the flashback has a registration sticker of OCT 70 at 29:52. However, as stated in the Notes from the UFO Chronology section above, it seems the "present day" portions of this episode take place in about 1984.

 

At 31:03 on the DVD, during the search for the old farm where the alien bomb is hidden, it appears that Colonel Lake has been drawing right on the monitor screen with colored pencil to mark the areas on the map display that have been searched! (Later, at 35:06 on the DVD, we see Lake's hand coloring in a section of the "map" that was already colored in in the previously mentioned scene!)

 

Straker suspects that an "earthquake" in Turkey in 1970 that killed 80,000 people and destroyed an entire city was actually an alien bomb.

 

At 34:01 on the DVD, Straker inexplicably refers to Catherine Fraser as "Miss Ross". This is a leftover from the original script, in which Catherine Fraser was Catherine Ross.

 

The bridge from which Catherine throws the alien device is Canal Bridge 189, Benbow Waye, Cowley, Greater London.

 

During her recollection of fleeing from the farm house, Catherine states that she saw a public house (pub) called the King's Arms. The King's Arms mentioned here is unlikely to be the famous one located in Oxford (established 1607), over 40 miles away from Canal Bridge 189 in Cowley.

 

Straker tells Foster to call Colonel Branston to get a space dumper (below) to haul the alien bomb into space for detonation.

space dumper

 

At 45:29 on the DVD, two nurses are standing in the hospital parking lot talking as Foster jumps out of the car, but they weren't there just a second before when the vehicle drove up!

 

At 46:26 on the DVD, Straker appears to go in the opposite set of doors from the ones that have previously been shown to lead to the hospital wing where Catherine has her room. 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

Why did the aliens blow up a city in Turkey in 1970? And why did they want to blow up Greater London shortly after? And if they were so keen on blowing up Earth cities, why didn't they continue to do so over the years?

 

Did the alien-controlled Tim work at the Harville Hospital for all those 10 years, waiting for Catherine to wake from her coma?

 

Tim dies after completing his mission to activate the bomb at the farm. But why would his clothing transform from his hospital worker's uniform to his old wanderer's clothes? And why did his top hat suddenly appear in his hand? It makes no real sense logically; these aspects were added simply to give the television viewer a further nudge that he was the same boy Catherine was with 10 years ago.

 

What happened to the two aliens who planted the bomb in 1970? Why "program" Tim to watch Catherine all this time to find out what she did with the detonator? Couldn't they have just brought another detonator? One possible explanation might be that after the UFO took off, it was detected and destroyed by SHADO defenses, leaving the location of the bomb a mystery to the alien command.

 

MEMORABLE DIALOG

 

10 years ago.wav

Straker, Ed Straker.wav

an entire city destroyed.wav

 

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