Actress Gabrielle Drake (sister of musician Nick Drake) in character as Lt. Gay Ellis from UK television show, ‘UFO.’
Television program UFO made its debut in 1970, in the UK and Canada. It came out a bit later in the U.S. The show was the creation of dynamic husband and wife duo, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson—who were best known for their pioneering kid-oriented “Supermarionation” shows such as Thunderbirds. The futuristic storyline for UFO takes place in the not-so-distant year of 1980, and it was honestly pretty gnarly for prime time viewing as it presents the scenario of a ragtag fleet of dying aliens coming to earth to harvest human organs in order to sustain their existence. No big deal. Among the members of the large ensemble cast were Gabrielle Drake (the sister of musician Nick Drake), Polish actor, Vladek Sheybal (who is likely best known for his portrayal of chess master Kronsteen in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love), and model/actress Shakira Baksh who would wed actor Michael Caine in 1973. The show had much in common with 1969’s Doppelgänger (AKA Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, its better known title)—the Anderson’s’ first project to use human beings—including many of the same props, sets and even actors.
UFO was an instant hit, due much in part to the special effects created by the talented Derek Meddings which took approximately a year to develop. Meddings would go on to do special effects for several James Bond films and the pyrotechnics for every live Pink Floyd show in 1975 during their Wish You Were Here tour. Another element of any successful TV show is the development and visual appeal of its cast of characters, and as I mentioned earlier, UFO‘s actors did not disappoint. Here, we are going to focus on the lovely ladies who were a part of SHADO (the acronym for Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation) who always looked cool even in the face of an alien invasion. The most memorable characters got to wear badass purple-hued wigs and silver catsuits which made them look like go-go dancers from the future. There was also some risky looking fishnet worn by members of the cast during “underwater” sequences—a far cry from the basic turtlenecks, jumpsuits, and clerical-style jackets worn by the members of SHADO.
The show ran until 1973 and inspired a line of collectible toys and model kits based on the far-out vehicles and spaceships featured in the series, many still coveted by collectors to this day. If you had either forgotten about this television gem (which was a precursor to the Anderson’s last collaboration, Space 1999 starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) or were unfamiliar with it until now, you are going to love the groovy images of the fictional female members of SHADO posted below.
One of the lovely ladies of SHADO.
Actress/model Shakira Baksh/Caine.
Fishnet shirts are futuristic.
More after the jump…