Col. Alec Freeman (Operative 97) is the second in command of S.H.A.D.O., and has special responsibilities for the welfare and recruitment of SHADO personnel. Col. Freeman has the highest respect for Straker, but doesn't approve of his dependence on computer predictions, and prefers using his own instincts. Charming and seemingly liked by everyone, plus he is a rather a flirt with the ladies.
George Sewell left the UFO TV Series following the change of studios, being later unavailable when series production resumed at Pinewood Studios.
Colonel Alec E. Freeman appeared in 17 episodes of UFO, before being replaced by Colonel Virginia Lake as second in command of S.H.A.D.O.
Early life and career: The son of a Hoxton printer and a florist, George Sewell left school at the age of 14 and worked briefly in the printing trade before switching to building work, specifically the repair of bomb-damaged houses. He then trained as a Royal Air Force pilot, though too late to see action during the Second World War. Following his demob, he joined the Merchant Navy, serving as a steward for the Cunard Line on the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth for their Atlantic crossings to New York.
Theatre: George had not considered acting until, aged 35, he met the actor Dudley Sutton by chance in a pub. Sutton recommended that Sewell audition for a production by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop of Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be. Sewell did so, and made his acting debut as a policeman in the show both at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and in the West End. He went on to star in two other Littlewood productions. The experience garnered from stage acting led to a long career in both film and television.
For many years, George was the gritty face of crime and law enforcement in a huge array of television series. Amongst his early roles were in Softly, Softly (1966), The Power Game (1965–66), and Spindoe (1968). In 1969 he played an escaped convict called Jansen in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). In 1970, he played Colonel Alec Freeman in Gerry Anderson's live-action science-fiction drama UFO. In 1973, Euston Films re-invigorated the TV series Special Branch. George was brought in to play the lead character of DCI Alan Craven. The show ran for two seasons with Sewell, and served as a stylistic forerunner of crime drama The Sweeney (in which George also appeared, this time as a villain).
Later television appearances include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), in which he played Mendel, and the Doctor Who story Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), in which he played builder's merchant and fascist leader Ratcliffe. He also appeared frequently in films, notably This Sporting Life (1963), Poor Cow (1967) and Get Carter (1971). He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1973 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews while filming scenes for the TV series Special Branch.
George Sewell died from cancer on 2 April 2007 at the age of 82. George's brother, Danny Sewell, a former boxer, also became an actor.
MEETING GEORGE SEWELL
I had the great privilege to meet George Sewell just once at the UFORIA Convention at 'The Conway Hall', Red Lion Square, London, WC1 on Saturday, the 18th of June 1988. As with my all-time hero, Ed Bishop (Commander Ed Straker), George was a true gentleman, extremely patient, jovial and outgoing. He also had the biggest grin/smile, sense of humour and when we shook hands he had the grip of a wrestler. It was an absolute honour to meet him.