S.H.A.D.O. Research laboratories

A little history: I was just a young child at primary/first school when UFO was first shown on UK television. I can clearly remember the day when I heard my friends discussing this fantastic new television series by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. I was utterly and completely fascinated as it sounded so different, unusual, colourful, fast acting, sinister, thought-provoking and mysterious... UFO really caught my imagination and was all we talked about at school during break times and just about every other opportunity. Unfortunately, for many reasons I missed many episodes, and had to ‘catch up’ by listening to the 'interpretations' of the story outlines being discussed when going back to school the following week... obtaining any information about UFO was very difficult as all my friends had their own varying accounts of what they had seen. Later, through the TV21 and Countdown 'comics', the two UFO novels bought for my birthday - fairly difficult reading for a seven year old - I built up a picture of the complete and complex structure of UFO; it’s premise and actual storylines.

The early 1970's were a time when a new feature film was shown at the 'pictures' (cinema) every few weeks or even months, and there was time to digest what you had seen... there were no video recorders, so you had to extrapolate and record in your mind every last detail, and that's why UFO and many other TV series seemed to be slightly different to what people remember today; now that watching a film or Classic TV programme is as simple as watching a MP4 (or other video format) or on a mobile, tablet or computer, DVD/BluRay, Youtube, or just watching online TV.

I clearly remember the frustration of sharing a television with my brothers and sisters, and trying to get some peace and quiet so I could absorb as much of UFO as possible. If I missed a single second, it was gone seemingly for good. I didn't know when the UFO would be shown again. Maybe months, even years... The best I could do was to place my faithful cassette recorder near the TV to record the soundtrack, and for many years, that was the only way I could enjoy UFO; by listening to my recordings. How things have changed now that TV shows are repeated on demand, recorded dissected, cleaned-up and refurbished: playable on just about any device. Well, that is progress!

Commander Ed Straker arriving at the Harlington-Straker Film Studios : S.H.A.D.O. HQ


UFO was of a certain time, and many - if not most - of you reading this post shared that time, that special moment in time, when there was time, time to watch, absorb, be thrilled, scared, excited ... those times weren't quite so cynical and "what's next" as they are today...  ...but then I was only seven!

UFO and indeed all the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson TV shows made a simply HUGE impression on me that has lasted and imprinted themselves in my brain and DNA to this very day.

Moonbase astronauts readying for launch!


I do not believe there has been any TV series to come even close to UFO before or since. I am very sorry that kids/people today live in a world where it is sometimes hard to emulate or even understand that simple excitement... The world has changed, people have changed. In many ways I have not. UFO burns extremely bright inside me, and it still manages to rekindle that simple feeling of magic, awe, wonder and excitement that I do not see elsewhere. I still get a HUGE thrill and shivers down my spine the moment the opening credits start.

In the year 1980, a secret military organization named "S.H.A.D.O." (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) becomes operational. Its purpose is to defend the Earth from aliens from a dying planet, who are abducting humans and harvesting their organs for their own bodies. The alien incursions may also be a prelude to a possible full-scale invasion.

S.H.A.D.O.'s main headquarters is hidden beneath a London film studio. It also has a base on the moon (Moonbase) and a fleet of submarines (SkyDiver). Incoming UFO's are initially detected by an Earth orbiting satellite named "SID" (Space Intruder Detector). An initial interception attempt is made in space with three Interceptors launched from Moonbase. A second attempt is made in the Earth's atmosphere with a fighter plane (Sky One) launched from SkyDiver. Landed UFO's are tracked down using ground-based S.H.A.D.O. Mobiles.

S.H.A.D.O. is run by the extremely dedicated Commander Ed Straker. His seconds in command are Col. Alec Freeman, Col. Paul Foster, and Col. Virginia Lake. Moonbase is often commanded by Lt. Gay Ellis.

NB: For information about each UFO episode, please CLICK HERE. For more information about the UFO TV Series in general, please CLICK HERE.

When UFO was first broadcast, and I managed to see it for the very first time it was the most exciting thing I had ever seen. I had loved Stingray, Joe 90 and especially Thunderbirds.  But to me, UFO was an order of magnitude better, and totally entranced and captivated me.  I was undergoing a great deal of medical issues and procedures at the time, and UFO helped take my mind to another place, and to manage and keep in balance what was happening around me.  UFO was a point of reference; a place I could go to in my head when the pain was overwhelming.  I lived and dreamed UFO and could imagine it all around me.  I don’t believe I am exaggerating when I say that in many ways UFO saved my life, and has been a long and faithful companion to me ever since.

I simply loved and was fascinated by UFO: the sinister stories, characters, gadgets, vehicles and overall design values of UFO.  The series caught my imagination like no other and nothing ever since, even though I was and am still a huge fan of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 et al.

After a number of careers, I now have a little more time: hence my launching of the S.H.A.D.O. Research Laboratories...