Commander Edward "Ed" Straker (played by Ed Bishop) is Commander-in-Chief of S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation). He was appointed to the post during 1970/71 by a special committee of the United Nations Security Council at the time of their formal approval of the formation of S.H.A.D.O. Commander Straker was a former American Air Force Colonel in the United States Air Force. He was a command pilot with missile operations experience. He has a degree in astrophysics and had spent two years at M.I.T. studying lunar research.
Commander Straker was originally from Boston, Massachusetts and as part of S.H.A.D.O. masquerades as the head of the Harlington-Straker Film Studios. The S.H.A.D.O. Headquarters are located 80ft directly below the film studios. Bravery and guile, organisation and instant decision making are qualities called upon by the hundreds of S.H.A.D.O. personnel. The commanders, technicians, scientists, controllers and operatives at S.H.A.D.O. Headquarters must remain on constant alert for the danger signs.
These highly trained S.H.A.D.O. staff members control the destinies of countless men, women and children who might fall innocent prey to the greatest enemy the world has ever known. The valuable and complex machinery and equipment housed in the S.H.A.D.O. Control Centre are designed to save lives. And ironically, the very people it continues to protect can never be made aware of its function . . . for widespread knowledge of the S.H.A.D.O. operation and the Alien invasion could result in blind panic and total misunderstanding.
Commander Ed Straker and his staff must wage a powerful and silent battle and their courage and devotion to duty must go unrewarded, for the S.H.A.D.O. password is 'secrecy'.
Commander Edward "Ed" Straker (played by Ed Bishop) is Commander-in-Chief of S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation).
He was appointed to the post during 1970/71 by a special committee of the United Nations Security Council at the time of their formal approval of the formation of S.H.A.D.O. Commander Ed Straker appears in ALL the episodes of UFO:
02 Computer Affair
03 Flight Path
07 The Dalotek Affair
08 A Question of Priorities
10 The Responsibility Seat
11 The Square Triangle
12 Court Martial
13 Close Up
A flashback episode that tells how Ed Straker's obsession with the foundation of S.H.A.D.O. destroyed his marriage . . .
Paul Roper is being blackmailed by the Aliens to feed certain information to SID. Straker learns that the figures fed into SID are for a flight path to allow a UFO to attack Moonbase during heavy sunspot activity, when it will be undetectable . . .
Acting under his cover as a film executive, Ed Straker meets with Jo Fraser (Jane Merrow), a 'reporter' who has come to interview him. He hands over command to Colonel Freeman when he discovers that she does not work for the agency she claimed to be with . . .
Cmdr. Straker is shocked when evidence points to Foster as the source of a leak concerning the information on a Skydiver's rendezvous with a supply ship. Even more baffling is the accusation that Col. Foster has sold industrial secrets concerning special film projects on the studio lot . . .
George Victor Bishop (Saturday, the 11th of June, 1932 – Wednesday, the 8th of June, 2005), known professionally as Ed Bishop, was an American/British actor. He was known for playing Commander Ed Straker in UFO, Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and for voicing Philip Marlowe in a series of BBC Radio adaptations of the Marlowe novels by Raymond Chandler.
George Victor Bishop was born on Saturday, the 11th of June 1932. He was the son of a Manhattan banker, in Brooklyn, New York and attended Peekskill High School before a brief spell at teacher training college. He served in the United States Army as a disc jockey with the Armed Forces Radio at St. John's in Newfoundland where he was introduced to acting with the St John's Players.
After leaving the army, Ed enrolled at Boston University where he initially studied business administration but halfway through the course, transferred to drama, much against his parents' wishes. After graduating in Theatre Arts, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study for two years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 1959; he almost immediately found work in the British theatre and film industries. He adopted the stage name "Ed Bishop" at this time to distinguish himself from George Bishop, an established actor of the time. His first Broadway appearance was as Villebosse in David Merrick's production of Jean Anouilh's 'The Rehearsal' in 1963, though he returned to Britain in 1964.
Ed Bishop made his film acting debut as an ambulance driver in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 movie 'Lolita'. He played an American astronaut going to the Moon in the film 'The Mouse on the Moon' (1963) and also appeared in 'The Bedford Incident' (1965) and 'Battle Beneath the Earth' (1967). He also had small speaking roles in the James Bond films 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) and 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971), but was not included in either film's credits. He appeared in a second Kubrick film, '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968), in which he played the Captain of the Aries 1B Moon shuttle. The role initially featured dialogue, though this was later cut from his scenes.
Ed Bishop appeared in various film and television projects created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. He provided narration, in addition to the voice of Captain Blue, for Anderson's Supermarionation puppet series, 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' (1967) and appeared in Anderson's science-fiction film 'Doppelgänger' (1969).
Ed's most prominent screen role of all was as Commander Ed Straker (as shown above) in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's science-fiction series UFO. Ed had his dark hair dyed blond for the role, though he eventually wore a blond wig instead.
In later years, Ed appeared in films such as 'Twilight's Last Gleaming', 'Saturn 3', 'Silver Dream Racer' and 'The Lords of Discipline'. He also provided vocal work for the 1974 animated TV series of 'Star Trek' and appeared as Lieutenant Colonel Harrity in the final episode of the British World War II prisoner-of-war drama 'Colditz'. In the 1980s, he made several appearances on 'The Kenny Everett Television Show', 'Whoops Apocalypse' (he also appeared in the subsequent film) and had a role in the children's television series 'Chocky's Children'.
On radio, in 1977 and 1978 he played the private eye Philip Marlowe in The BBC Presents: Philip Marlowe, adaptations of Raymond Chandler's stories for the BBC, the last of them, 'Farewell, My Lovely', produced nearly a decade after the others, as the rights had previously been unavailable.
Ed Bishop continued to act on film, TV and radio, usually in British and other European productions, and was a frequent guest at science fiction conventions. Ed and fellow Anderson actor Shane Rimmer (a Canadian actor who often worked in the UK) often joked about how often their professional paths crossed and termed themselves "Rent-a-yank". They appeared together as NASA operatives in the opening of 'You Only Live Twice' and as United States Navy sailors in 'The Bedford Incident', as well as the 1983 film of the Harold Robbins novel 'The Lonely Lady'. In 1989, Ed was reunited with Shane Rimmer and another Anderson actor, Matt Zimmerman, in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'A Study in Scarlet'. Ed Bishop and Shane Rimmer also toured together in theatre shows including 'Death of a Salesman' in the 1990s and also appeared in the BBC drama-documentary 'Hiroshima' (2005), one of Ed Bishop's last TV projects.
In 2000, Ed briefly reprised the role of Captain Blue in a trailer for the new Captain Scarlet series. He did not, however, reprise the role for the actual series, which would not debut until five years later.
In 2002, Ed recorded a commentary for the DVD release of UFO. In 2003, he performed in the Doctor Who audio drama, 'Full Fathom Five', produced by Big Finish Productions.
Bishop was politically active, participating in the March 2003 UK protest against the Iraq War. Ed had already shown his disapproval of the military-industrial complex when, in 1993, he gatecrashed an arms-trade fair held in Aldershot, Hampshire whilst dressed to resemble Augusto Pinochet.
"Ed Bishop is one of the most talented people I've ever worked with, and my only sadness was that he didn't go on to become an international star. I would have loved him to have perhaps been James Bond." Gerry Anderson – UFO producer.
"I count myself extremely fortunate and very lucky to have met Ed Bishop many times and in many places. Ed always remembered my name, and sometimes we would resume subjects from conversations we had shared months back. Ed must have had a prodigious memory, and I understand his memory recall for 'lines' was practically photographic. Ed was a thoroughly decent, funny, jovial, considered, self-deprecating and intelligent man. Ed also had a very rare integrity of character which was just as evident in person as it was on screen. When talking, Ed had the uncanny knack of making it appear that you were the only one in the room he was interested in speaking too – even if that may not have been the case..."
Griff @ S.H.A.D.O. Research Laboratories
We all experience bad or difficult times at some point or other in our lives. Here, we have Ed recalling one of his moments... It is just amazing, charming, insightful and yet poignant. I have listened to this recording many, many times over the years and yet listening to it has never ever failed to cheer me up!
Thank you SO much, Ed!
Eighty eight years young: it is perhaps the paradox of TV and Cinema that actors involved will stay in an ageless, groundhog day time-bubble that perhaps on viewing, encourages, taunts, or even haunts them – seeing themselves as they once were. Hearing their words identically repeated – possibly faults and all. Timelessly repeated moments of triumph, emotion, failure and resolution never changing over the decades. But, perhaps in the case of UFO, the technology of restoration has bought back (to fans such as myself) out of the 35mm negative gloom a gleaming brilliant version that was probably never even witnessed in the original cutting room. For me, UFO is as fresh, creative, stimulating, ascetic, stylish, sinister, thought provoking and captivating as it was when I first saw it as a child. For me, Ed Bishop and his fellow actors carried out the performances of their lives, and they will always live on in the UFO world forever.
Ed, wherever you are, you are very hugely, adored and massively missed by many, many people and UFO fans alike. To me, your portrayal of Ed Straker in UFO was your best ever work, and you will definitely live on in that role forever onscreen and in our hearts.
With all my thanks, appreciation and best wishes to you and your loving family,
Griff @ S.H.A.D.O. Research Laboratories