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Please consider joining the project! HowardBerry 19:22, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]


One could get quite nostalgic over this article! One thing that particularly strikes a viewer of the DVDs is how practically everyone at SHADO smokes like a chimney in this series, you wouldn't see that in a modern SF series... The "Century 21" fashions were quite of their time too, with the crew of SkyDiver (male and female) all wearing string vests, and they never did explain why all the female crew of Moonbase had to wear purple wigs, but the males didn't... -- Arwel 22:42, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yes, there should probably be a bit about the fashions in the article, along with the car designs and other fascinating future predictions, like racial prejudice just fizzling out. If only. Lee M 03:50, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Purple hair origins[edit]

One of the episodes featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 was of the 1969 film Moon Zero Two. In it, a lunar hotel employee has the same metallic purple wig that adorns the female Moonbase personnel of UFO. When I saw this, I checked IMDb for connections between the two productions. The closest thing I found was that Moon Zero Two director Roy Ward Baker worked with Gerry and Sylvia Anderson on their popular live-action TV show The Protectors three years later, two years after UFO started. It occurred to me that one of these shows might have gotten the idea from the other, if these folks knew each other in 1969 or before. Any thoughts? — Jeff Q (talk) 04:11, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It's possible. UFO also reused sets and costumes (and actors!) from a film the Andersons made in 1968-69 called Doppleganger (aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun), but I've never seen it so I don't know if the purple hair appears in that film. 23skidoo 13:57, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Neither Gerry nor Sylvia have (to my knowledge) cited a particular inspiration for the wigs. (I thought there was particular mention of the wigs in Gerry's bio, but I can't find it.) I suspect it is more likely simply to be a case of parallel exposure. They both had the knack of picking up current social emblems in language and style. Sylvia, in particular, had a habit of taking current clothing trends and extending them. Part of the hippie culture of the time was wearing bizarre wigs. Wouldn't surprise me if another production designer was influenced in similar manner during the same period. Cain Mosni 11:24, 27 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]

You-foh vs. you-eff-oh[edit]

I recent edit indicates that the pronounciation "you-foh" is the British way of saying UFO. I've never heard of this -- to my knowledge the Brits go "you-eff-oh" like everyone else. Can someone back this up? 23skidoo 18:19, 26 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Indeed when I saw the edit today, I wondered what on Earth the person who stated that it was British was on about! Being a Brit, having a father that works with astronomy, space and science-fiction, and having seen plenty of Brit sci-fi, I can honestly say that I have never heard one single person (outside of this show) pronounce U.F.O. as "you-foh". In Britain it is pronounced "you-eff-oh". PeregrineAinsleyWotenuff 22:34, 26 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
And I see Khaosworks has reverted the edit. I had a feeling it was a little fishy but, even though I consider myself fairly well-versed in various British terminology and spellings, I thought I'd seek additional input in case this was something that wasn't on my radar. Cheers! 23skidoo 05:21, 27 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Added a note on pronunciation: The originator of the term, USAF Captain Edward J. Ruppelt suggested "U-Foe", and this was the preferred pronunciation in official USAF usage, though hardly universal. This is mentioned in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unidentified_flying_objects#Modern_UFO_era . As the term moved into the mainstream, "You-Eff-Oh" became the standard. So the series is actually using a bit of authentic military jargon here. -- 23:06, 26 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]
That's a cool piece of trivia. Well done! 23skidoo 23:15, 26 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]

"Nuclear missiles"?[edit]

I don't want to make an edit without being absolutely sure, but I don't recall any episode specifically saying the Interceptors used nuclear missiles. Can anyone confirm either way?

I am absolutely certain you are correct, but can't cite reference. Going from memory for the moment, I think you'll find it's in the very first episode "Identified" where there's a lot of exposition and not a lot of intricate story. I don't have the time to watch it to find out, right now. Cain Mosni 11:28, 27 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Ripe for revival[edit]

Considering the success of the new Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who, I'm surprised no-one has thought of bringing UFO back to the small screen. In spite of its shortcomings, the original series was imaginative and groundbreaking. It just needs updating a bit, perhaps it should be set in the 2080s :-)

There's always lots of rumour about it, if you move in the right circles. There's even (unsourced) rumour floating around at the moment. Cain Mosni 11:29, 27 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]
There was a serious revival attempt in 1996, with Ed Bishop apparently on-board. See the ufoseries.com website for details —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 27 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

"Automatic doors"[edit]

The article says that the gull wing doors of the cars had to be opened manually by a guy just out of shot and gives the episode "Court Martial" as an example of when this perosn could be seen. I've just watched that episode and couldn't see anything (as Straker and George Sewell get out by the electronics shop). Could someone tell me where he is and when or post a pic? Thanks

This part of the article is plain wrong. There is a reflection of the building opposite in Strakers right hand door which can look like someone opening the door but it is just the building. I took this from the 1999 DVD at 33m57s. ChainsawDude (talk) 16:53, 17 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Please sign your comments. Just a quick note that posting an image would violate fair use. Sorry... 23skidoo 21:03, 1 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Posting a picture would violate laws? These laws are sick and should be changed.IceHunter 18:44, 23 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Not laws, but Wikipedia image use rules. They're spelled out at Wikipedia:Image use policy, though the policy is revised from time to time (for example we used to be able to use publicity images in biographical articles, but not anymore.) 23skidoo 18:57, 23 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The statement has now been removed from the article. DH85868993 (talk) 00:00, 21 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

X-COM Ufo:[edit]

The game X-Com seems very much inspired by this series. A team of people flying around the world chasing UFO's? Come on :) IceHunter 18:44, 23 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]


In the episode "Survival", after Foster is separated from the rest of his team at the site of a UFO landing, the others try to raise him on the radio, and getting no answer, simply return to base. That is so... negligent! Why wouldn't they investigate and try to find Foster alive or find his remains? Clear set-up to allow them to have Foster alone and found by the alien.

In "Ordeal", Foster seems to be abducted by aliens, but it turns out to be merely a dream. Wow! What a detailed dream! Foster even dreamt about Sky 1 missing in its shot, SHADO personnel finding the spa staff dead, Straker angry about Carlin missing the UFO, the UFO turning and crashing, Dr. Jackson commenting on the primitive conditions at the moon base. Reminds me of the original version of "Invaders From Mars" when the boy had a detailed dream about the army loading tanks onto a train and such. GBC 01:00, 4 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Episode 2 Straker interrogates the alien in English. Proper english, not even american. Greglocock (talk) 11:35, 17 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Fair use rationale for Image:UFOTVDVDnew.jpg[edit]

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Airdate source?[edit]

What list is being used for the airdates on the episode list. A statement I wrote (which is still there) indicates that the Gerry Anderson book shows several different airdate variations, but this is no longer reflected in the chart. 23skidoo (talk) 20:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

  • In most regions, it was originally broadcast around 5:15 - ITV, believing it to be a kids' show, having been made by Gerry Anderson, thought it was suitable for kids - until episodes featuring adult themes came on - it was later moved to a post-watershed, midweek slot.

Arthurvasey (talk) 19:17, 24 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I can promise you it was shown on Saturday mornings in 1970 (Yorkshire). ChainsawDude (talk) 16:59, 17 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Clandestine to overt organizational change[edit]

When SHADO was first formed, it was a clandestine organization. No one was supposed to know that you worked there or even that SHADO existed. But later in the series, this changed and SHADO became more overt with SHADO security people wearing uniforms with SHADO logos in public.

Can anyone remember in what episode did this “change” take place and was there any explanation for the change? In some of the episodes it appeared that the general public was fully aware of SHADO and what they did. Throckmorton Guildersleeve (talk) 15:39, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]


Most of these form the individual episodes are unreferenced and not particularly encyclopaedic. Nick Cooper (talk) 17:14, 19 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Mare Imbrium[edit]

In Survival episode the Moonbase is located in the Mare Imbrium. Alessandro Crisafulli-- (talk) 16:27, 14 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Get Back[edit]

Great article on a series I loved. BTW, I remember a party scene where the adults were all dancing to Get Back. I remember thinking that was very cutting edge and visionary, that real grownups would be grooving to the Beatles in the future... Shawn in Montreal (talk) 21:03, 24 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Title screen image incorrect[edit]

That's not the title screen for the show. It's from the prologue sequence, to be certain, but the actual official title card is the one that appears at the end of the opening teaser, as it includes the copyright notice for the show. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:20, 9 September 2010 (UTC).[reply]


Spy satellite programs have been extant since 1959 when Corona first launched. Heck, Ice Station Zebra is a 1968 film! But the use of what came to be known as metadata as a plot device in Close-Up is a particularly nice touch. It's not called as such, but nonetheless I've switched the relative importance of the terms in the "Predictions" section. kencf0618 (talk) 06:16, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Ed Bishop[edit]

Article says: "Most of the cast were newcomers to Century 21 although star Ed Bishop had previously worked with the Andersons as a voice actor on Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons."

Bishop was also a live actor (played USAF officer) in Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 10 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Aliens not named[edit]

The article states "Notably for science fiction, and uniquely for a television series,[citation needed] the alien race is never given a proper name, either by themselves or by human beings...". I believe the American 1960s series "The Invaders" also did not name the alien race, but I'm not absolutely sure of that. (First ever Wikipedia comment - hope I did it right!) Kerry2112 (talk) 17:13, 15 September 2011 (UTC)[reply]


Almost none of the predictions listed in this section were anywhere near correct. I'm not sure whether the section should be rewritten so it doesn't imply that the show successfully predicted 1980, or just scrapped, but as it stands, it's embarrassingly misleading.

  • Car telephones. 1946, MTS radiophones. They weren't widespread in 1969, but there were ads making it seem as if they would be over the next few years. And they still weren't widespread in 1980; it wasn't until AMPS and other cell technologies replaced the early radiophones in the mid 80s that car phones became popular among the business class.
  • Gull-wing doors. 1954, Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The article says they were "not widespread in 1969", which is true, but they weren't any more widespread in 1980. In fact, there were probably fewer of them on the road in 1980 than in 1969. And they're still not widespread in 2011.
  • Spacecraft air launches. 1959, X-15.
  • Extensive use of computers in day-to-day life. Not in 1980; not until the mid 90s for most people.
  • Computers predicting and analyzing human behaviour. While this was a very popular prediction in 60s sci-fi, it didn't even begin to become true until around the end of the century, and it's still only true in limited domains in 2011.
  • Electronic fingerprint scanning and identification against a database. Electronic fingerprint scanners weren't usable until the mid-90s, and AFIS didn't exist until 1999.
  • Voice print identification systems and vocal fingerprint analysis. The theory existed in the 60s, but the technology wasn't even close to ready until the mid 90s, and the first usable voice print verification systems didn't come out until the late 2000s.
  • Space observatory. 1959, Corona.
  • Metadata from observatories. This became important in the 1990s, as computer-assisted astronomy started to take over.
  • Racial prejudice "burned itself out". As the article says, this never happened.
  • Left-hand driving in the UK. As the article says, this never happened.
  • Space junk. 1957, NORAD's Space Object Catalog. Became topical in 1970, when NORAD made the SOC public. Remember the Devo song Space Junk, written in 1975?
  • Toxic waste. This one works. It was in the late 70s that toxic waste became a topical issue.
  • Cordless phones. Invented in the 60s, first commercially available in 1971. They didn't become widespread until around 1990.
  • MP3 players. Invented in 1996, became popular around the turn of the century.

So, that's 1 hit out of 15 predictions, plus a few more that are "only" off by a decade or two (which isn't exactly a "near-miss" for a prediction aimed only a decade in the future). -- (talk) 16:10, 14 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I get the impression that in the Court Martial episode Straker is picking up a miniature radio off of Miss Ealand's desk, not an MP3 player. — DJLon (talk) 08:52, 26 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Two notable predictions do appear in the series that bear mentioning. One episode shows a VTOL aircraft that is very close to what the current Osprey aircraft looks like. The other is the remarkable resemblance of the mothership/rocket pod (use as a transport to the moon) to Burt Rutan's Whight Knight and SpaceShipOne. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]


What does "the shows were copyrighted in 1969" mean? If the series dated from 1970, that is the date of copyright, which is the date of creation.

Actually if you look at the early episodes like Flight Path or The Dalotek Affair the copyright notices say "© COPYRIGHT CENTURY 21 PICTURES LIMITED MCMLXIX" (1969) whilst in later episodes like Destruction and The Cat With Ten Lives they say "© COPYRIGHT CENTURY 21 PICTURES LIMITED MCMLXX" (1970). Perhaps it needs to be re-worded? — DJLon (talk) 09:08, 26 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
17 episodes were shot in 1969 at MGM Borehamwood. 9 episodes wre shot in 1970 at Pinewood studios. The copyright dates align with the production dates. ChainsawDude (talk) 17:06, 17 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Claims and Style[edit]

It seems a little silly to me to claim that a show that used toy models dangling from the end of a string had "outstanding special effects for its day." It's just not so; while it may be a fun show the "special effects" and model work are clearly not anything special. I feel that to support this claim it would be necessary to compare it to other '70s TV shows (and earlier - Lost in Space for example, and many 1950s movies). I think it's fair to say that when held up for comparison in that light, the claim wouldn't hold water.

Also, I'd like to toss out the idea that the word "Leitmotif" doesn't belong in an article discussing a children's Science Fiction show. In my opinion, it comes across as pretentious and it's unnecessary. And I think you'd find that that's the majority opinion. Never use the large word when the small word will do. (talk) 10:48, 30 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

It occurs to me that I never knew the word "Leitmotif" until I encountered it by chance while reading about John Williams' work on Lost in Space. Thanks to Lost in Space, my vocabulary became more sophisticated by an increment of one Big Word. There are conditions wherein dumbing-down the jargon is prudent; but, on the other hand, a good way to get people to improve their vocabularies is to expose them to big words in small, tractable bites.
Yes and yes. Also let's get rid of the stupid lego photo. Greglocock (talk) 23:27, 31 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Actually, as the page points out, it does not appear that the show was intended for an audience of kids; many of the "real life" background plots speak against it. And "toys on a string" was the technology of the day for planes or spaceships; the argument that these were special would be based on the fact that they often looked more lifelike than the competition, which, watching the show again in 2015, I would agree with. Sounds more like a conclusion is made here that because the Andersons did kid shows before (with puppets) this one must have been as well, or that all SF shows are automatically only aimed at kids, which is not warranted. Note also that some of the same models and techniques were used for the non-juvenile feature film, "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:35, 15 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Indeed. When first shown in the UK, the series went out in a 20:00-21:00 slot - very firmly adult rather than "kids" viewing. It's also well documented that this was the Andersons' intention for the series, which carried over to Space 1999. The special effects were certainly of a way higher standard than other contemporary British TV series. Nick Cooper (talk) 19:49, 15 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

When Kubrick was making 2001 he knew exactly where to go for top model work and he called Sylvia Anderson to invite her and Gerry for lunch. '"Fine," she said, "but I hope you're not going to ask for any of our special effects people?" "Oh, well, in which case there's no point having lunch," said Kubrick, and promptly put the phone down... His various production departments managed, nevertheless, to persuade plenty of modelmakers and technicians to defect from the Thunderbirds camp.' (Piers Bizony, 2001: Filming The Future, Aurum Press 1994, pp.97-8) I don't think he got Derek Meddings, but he would probably have liked to. Khamba Tendal (talk) 16:20, 8 November 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Indeed. Anderson's model special-effects were arguably the best in the world at the time. And no, UFO wasn't aimed at kids. Just look at the Moonbase women to see that. It was called "crumpet" then, although I think it has since been banned.
IIRC, Mat Irvine was another name associated with model special-effects back around then, or shortly after. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 11 December 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Mat Irvine was later, and a BBC guy (Dr Who in particular). Kubrick got Brian Johnson (special effects artist) who had worked on Thunderbirds, and later Space 1999, and won awards for Alien, Aliens and The Empire Strikes Back. -- Beardo (talk) 22:42, 3 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Anderson's earlier feature film Doppleganger was nominated for an Academy Award for its special effects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:52, 21 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Episode airdates[edit]

I am currently in the process of creating individual episode articles but the airdate list in the Episodes section is completely different to a number of sources - primarily Chris Bentley's bible on the series The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO; as well as the list on the UFOseries website [1].

I'm going to re-order on this data:

  • 1.1 IDENTIFIED - 16 Sep 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.2 EXPOSED - 23 Sep 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.3 THE CAT WITH TEN LIVES - 30 Sep 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.4 CONFLICT - 07 Oct 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.5 A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES - 14 Oct 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.6 E.S.P. - 21 Oct 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.7 KILL STRAKER! - 04 Nov 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.8 SUB-SMASH - 11 Nov 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.9 DESTRUCTION - 02 Dec 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.10 THE SQUARE TRIANGLE - 09 Dec 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.11 CLOSE UP - 16 Dec 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.12 THE PSYCHOBOMBS - 30 Dec 70 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.13 SURVIVAL - 06 Jan 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.14 MINDBENDER - 13 Jan 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.15 FLIGHT PATH - 20 Jan 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.16 THE MAN WHO CAME BACK - 03 Feb 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.17 THE DALOTEK AFFAIR - 10 Feb 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday
  • 1.18 TIMELASH! - 17 Feb 71 ATV Midlands - Wednesday

Transmission gap

  • 1.19 ORDEAL - 24 Apr 71 ATV London - Saturday
  • 1.20 COURT MARTIAL - 01 May 71 ATV London - Saturday
  • 1.21 COMPUTER AFFAIR - 15 May 71 ATV London - Saturday

Transmission gap

  • 1.22 CONFETTI CHECK A-OK - 10 Jul 71 ATV London - Saturday
  • 1.23 THE SOUND OF SILENCE - 17 Jul 71 ATV London - Saturday
  • 1.24 REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER - 24 Jul 71 ATV London - Saturday (rescheduled from 08 May 71)

Transmission gap (final two episodes delayed 20 months)

  • 1.25 THE RESPONSIBILITY SEAT -08 Mar 73 ATV Midlands - Thursday
  • 1.26 THE LONG SLEEP - 15 Mar 73 ATV Midlands - Thursday

I'll be updating the episodes to reflect the above.Londonclanger (talk) 10:53, 15 October 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, this is a perennial problem with non-networked ITV series. Most sources agree, though, that with ITC series like UFO, ATV dates are probably the most representative, due to the links between the company and the broadcaster.
I would note, though, that Reflections in the Water was postponed from 8 May 1971, and we should indicate it as such. It was clearly a schedule change on the day, as newspapers indicated an episode was to be screened. It was also the day of the 1971 FA Cup Final, the coverage of which presumably over-ran due to the half-hour of extra time. It would be useful if there was a reliable source to confirm that being the reason. Nick Cooper (talk) 10:11, 16 October 2017 (UTC)[reply]

The Fanderson website can serve as a source of episode data. Many of the first UK air dates differ from those in the article. https://fanderson.org.uk/productions/ufo/ ChainsawDude (talk) 16:15, 15 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

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600 page book with Blu-ray is correct[edit]

When I saw the reference to a 600-page book released with the Blu-ray edition, I thought it was a typo for 60 pages. I checked online and the set did indeed come with a 600-page book. I am correcting the reference to read "book" instead of "booklet" as there is no definition on this green earth for "booklet" that covers a work of that length. (talk) 04:30, 30 October 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Probable OR deleted[edit]

I removed the following essay on the history of electric typewriters from the article:

The machine typing out information in the intro uses an IBM Selectric typewriter mechanism with an Orator element, and is using a cloth ribbon cartridge. This eliminates any system used primarily for word processing, such as the IBM MT/ST or the IBM Mag Card Typewriter, or such third-party products as the DURA 1041, since those would be fitted with carbon ribbons. Thus, apparently they did have access to an IBM 2741 terminal connected to a computer system, or something similar, to take those shots. The first Selectric was released in 1961, eight years before the series was produced, and was already near-obsolete technology by 1970.

It's unsourced and looks suspiciously like OR. It doesn't explain why the text is assumed to have been produced by a computer, as opposed to a human typist. It's not clear why the alleged obsolescence of the Selectric typewriter is relevant, if they were using an IBM 2741 terminal. The claim that the technology was "near-obsolete" is pretty dubious in any case - the Selectric was replaced by the Selectric II in 1971, but the basic mechanism was unchanged. The whole thing is also trivia that tells us next to nothing about the show itself. But I'll leave it here on the off chance that there is actually a reliable source to back it up. (talk) 21:52, 2 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

"prop man always opens Straker's car door"[edit]

The article falsely says

"Every shot in which the car door was seen to open automatically had to be arranged so that a prop man could run up to the car, just outside the frame, open the door, and hold it open while Ed Bishop stepped out."

The door opens unaided and in full view at 3 mins 23 secs in "The Long Sleep" . ChainsawDude (talk) 23:11, 20 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@ChainsawDude: I've removed the statement (and the preceding one), both of which were unsourced. DH85868993 (talk) 23:59, 20 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]