Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. Wiki


"Confetti Check A-OK" is the requisite "flashback" instalment of any series programme produced by Gerry Anderson, in which the beginnings of S.H.A.D.O. and the decline and fall of Edward Straker's marriage are chronicled. The source of the friction between Straker and former General James Henderson by the time of Henderson's election as President of the International Astrophysical Commission, and the establishment of that Commission, are chronicled as well.


The birth of Lieutenant David Grey's twins by Caesarean section brings back uncomfortable memories for Edward Straker as his own mind casts back to his wedding day....

In December of 1970, United States Air Force Colonel Edward Straker and his new wife, the former Mary Nightingale, plan to honeymoon in Athens, but the holiday is abandoned when Ed is called to an emergency meeting with United Kingdom Royal Air Force General James Henderson, who is still recovering in hospital after the UFO attack on their Rolls Royce. On Henderson's instructions, Straker flies to New York to attend a meeting with the United Nations Special Committee. He explains that Earth is under threat from extraterrestrial invasion and puts forward a proposal for a super military force to be put into operation to defend the Earth. The project finds unanimous approval, and Straker is voted Commander-In-Chief, Colonel Alec E. Freeman is the first recruit, and Henderson is promoted to Preeident of the International Astrophysical Commission, which will be holding the organisation's purse strings.

Over the next few months, even as SHADO's underground headquarters and its cover and front organisation, Harlington-Straker Film Studios, are being constructed, the long hours of working in total secrecy take their toll on Straker's marriage, with Mary becoming increasingly upset that she hardly seems to see her husband any more. Then, just as work on SHADO Control is complete, Mary announces that she is pregnant. Her joy is short-lived, however, when the evil, overbearing domineering harridan and harpy she has for a mother villainously plants a hate-filled suggestion that Straker could be having an affair. Mary confronts her husband with the accusation, demanding to know what is keeping her husband out of the house until 3 o'clock in the morning. The unfortunate need for security prevents Straker from telling Mary the truth. (In "Identified," when he bids Lieutenant Keith Ford not tell him "security is difficult," Straker thus knows whereof he speaks when he points out, "Sometimes it gets pretty close to home.")

In March of 1972, SHADO staff recruitment begins. Ed holds a meeting with the recruits at recruit Nina Barry's apartment. But Mary's mother has evilly hired a private detective, who photographs Ed and Nina together. The meeting goes on all night, and when Ed gets home the next morning, he finds Mary ready to leave him. They argue, but Mary becomes hysterical and, after Ed slaps her, she loses her balance and falls down the stairs. She is rushed to hospital, suffering from internal hemorrhage, and her doctor must perform a Caesarean section to save the baby. After an agonising wait, Straker and Mary's father are informed that Mary and the child, a boy eventually named John, are doing fine. Alas, as the evil Mrs. Nightingale has secretly planned, when Mary regains consciousness, it is her father who is at her side, as Straker has been called away on urgent SHADO business. The marriage is ruined.

(John later dies in "A Question Of Priorities," and his death seemingly permanently estranges Mary Nightingale from Edward Straker.)

Regular Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Mary Straker - Suzanne Neve
  • Mary's Father - Michael Nightingale
  • English Delegate - Jack May
  • Monsieur Duval - Jeffrey Segal
  • German Delegate - Gordon Sterne
  • American Delegate - Alan Tilvern
  • Lieutenant David Grey - Julian Grant
  • Mary's Doctor - Tom Oliver
  • 1st C.I.A. Man - Shane Rimmer
  • Hotel Clerk - Geoffrey Hinsliff
  • Estate Agent - Donald Pelmear
  • Porter - Frank Tregear
  • Nurse - Penny Jackson
  • 2nd C.I.A. Man - Mike Stevens

NOTE: Mary's mother is never actually SHOWN in "Confetti Check A-OK."

SHADO Equipment Used[]

  • Straker's car