Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. Wiki
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Summary[]

While departing from the Moon, Lunar Module 32, commanded by Steve Maddox, intercepts in its radar an unidentified object shortly before re-entry. The audience sees that this is a small alien limpet-like UFO, hiding in the wreck of the Apollo 8 space wreck, which interrupts communications with the SHADO Moonbase and modifies the spaceplane's course, disintegrating the module.

Meanwhile, Straker is trying to convince General Henderson, head of the International Astro-Physical Commission, to increase debris-eliminating space missions, as he thinks that "his pilots risk more in a month than Henderson's ones in a year". Henderson mockingly accepts, but asks to activate the "Washington Square" protocol: the cancelation of all lunar spaceflights.

After Maddox's burial-at-space funeral at the Moonbase, Foster, convinced that it was not a human error that killed his friend, steals a lunar module and flies on the same course to prove Maddox's innocence, despite Henderson's orders. The limpet UFO tries to disintegrate Foster's module, proving his theory. Straker issues orders to destroy all space wrecks where the UFO might be located and invites Henderson to SHADO Control, having deduced that the limpet craft was some sort of lure.

A standard UFO then attacks the Harlington-Straker Studios; it is soon destroyed by Sky One.

Trivia[]

  • This episode accurately predicted the growing problem of "space junk" around 30 years before NASA publicly acknowledged it.
  • Drewe Henley (Captain Steve Maddox) is best known for his role as X-Wing pilot "Red Leader" (Garven Dreis) in the film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), a role for which he was mistakenly credited as "Drewe Hemley".
  • Shooting script originally titled "Ambush", with a previously unmentioned department under the heading United Space Organization in control of the International Astrophysical Commission. Also, a character named James L. Douglas (of the United Space Organization) was used instead of General Henderson.
  • Gen. James Henderson's (Grant Taylor) middle initial is revealed to be "L".

Errors[]

IMDB[]

Factual errors[]

  • The limpet UFO is shown hiding behind the S-IVB third stage of Apollo 8 still in Earth orbit in 1981, when the episode is set. However, all of the Moon-bound Apollo S-IVB stages boosted the spacecraft out of Earth orbit towards the Moon which then placed them into a Heliocentric orbit. Thus, Apollo 8's S-IVB-503N has been in orbit around the Sun since December 22, 1968.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs[]

  • An instrument panel in the lunar module has the heading "Computor Display" rather than "Computer Display". While "computer" is the accepted modern spelling, "computor" was utilized to describe computer hardware before and after the 1960's when the programme was created.

Revealing mistakes[]

  • When Foster re-enters Earth's atmosphere, his face gets distorted by the high gravitational forces. His hair on his right side however moves in the stream of the wind jet used to simulate the facial distortion.
  • When Lunar Module 32 is lifting of, she is standing on her tail like a conventional rocket. However, the cockpit scenes show the pilots sitting upright when they should be on their backs with their legs up.
  • When Straker and Foster are driving from Henderson's office back to the Harlington-Straker studio, Straker is driving on the left, even though in the Century 21 universe right-hand driving is the norm (and the car is left-hand drive).

Nit Central[]

  • tim gueguen on Thursday, August 02, 2007 - 6:54 pm: Its interesting to see a TV script from 1969 that presents the idea that space junk might be a threat to spaceflight. Very prescient, as the amount of junk in orbit is increasingly a concern. However the method of getting rid of space junk used in the episode is a bad one. Blowing something up merely turns one piece of space junk into many smaller ones. The proper way of getting rid of it is to somehow make it enter the Earth's atmosphere so it burns up. ScottN on Thursday, August 02, 2007 - 7:44 pm: They weren't concerned as much with it being in the way, as with it being a hiding place for UFOs. By blowing it up, they made it (by UFO TV logic) harder for UFOs to hide there.

Movie Mistakes[]

  • For reasons unknown and unexplainable, the otherwise spacious and well-equipped Moonbase has halls and doorways too short for the average human to fit through without ducking. Submitted by Jean G Possibly to ease transfer of material during construction.

Cast[]

Crew[]

  • Produced by Gerry Anderson (Executive Producer) and Reg Hill (Producer)
  • Music by Barry Gray
  • Cinematography by Brendan J. Stafford (as Brendan Stafford) (lighting cameraman)
  • Film Editing by Len Walter
  • Art Direction by Bob Bell
  • Makeup Department
    Henry Montsash (Hair stylist)
    Basil Newall (Makeup artist)
  • Norman Foster (Production supervisor)
  • Ron Appleton (Assistant director)
  • Art Department
    Don Fagan (Instrumentation)
  • Sound Department
    Peter Pennell (Sound editor)
    John Peverill (Sound editor)
    Ken Rawkins (Sound recordist)
  • Special Effects by
    Jimmy Elliott (Special effects senior director (as Jim Elliott))
    Frank Hollands (Special effects production manager)
    Derek Meddings (Special effects)
    Harry Oakes (Special effects lighting camera)
    Mike Rainer (Special effects camera operator)
    Mike Trim (Special effects designer)
    Shaun Whittacker-Cook (Special effects director)
  • Camera and Electrical Department
    Derek Black (Camera operator)
    John May (Gaffer)
  • Costume and Wardrobe Department
    Kim Martin (Wardrobe)
  • Music Department
    Barry Gray (Musical director)
    George Randall (Music editor)
  • Other crew
    Tony Barwick (Script editor)
    Desmond Saunders (Assistant to producer (as Des Saunders))
    Doreen Soan (Continuity)


Production order
Production Block 1:
Identified I Computer Affair I Flight Path I Survival I Exposed I Conflict I The Dalotek Affair I A Question of Priorities I Ordeal I The Responsibility Seat I The Square Triangle I Court Martial I Close Up I Confetti Check A-OK I E.S.P. I Kill Straker! I Sub-Smash
Production Block 2:
The Sound of Silence I The Cat with Ten Lives I Destruction I The Man Who Came Back I The Psychobombs I Reflections in the Water I Mindbender I Timelash I The Long Sleep


Transmission order
Identified I Exposed I The Cat with Ten Lives I Conflict I A Question of Priorities I E.S.P. I Kill Straker! I Sub-Smash I Destruction I The Square Triangle I Close Up I The Psychobombs I Survival I Mindbender I Flight Path I The Man Who Came Back I The Dalotek Affair I Timelash I Ordeal I Court Martial I Computer Affair I Confetti Check A-OK I The Sound of Silence I Reflections in the Water I The Responsibility Seat I The Long Sleep
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