Lieutenant Gay Ellis, is the junior officer whom Ed Straker, S.H.A.D.O. Commander of the organisation, has assigned to be a field commander of S.H.A.D.O. MoonBase. Gay is also Moonbase's Chief Space Tracker and one of several Moonbase Commanders, assuming responsibility for the base in the absence of a superior officer. Lieutenant Ellis is known to have been serving in S.H.A.D.O. as early as 1980 - the initial time frame for the series - and was in field command of MoonBase when the first UFO successfully evaded the MoonBase Interceptors and actually reached Earth!
Background information: Aboard Sky One... came the let-down. There was no UFO. Not anymore. The all-clear came as they sped far above the Chinese coastline. ‘Intercepted,’ said Captain Carlin. ‘Eliminated.’ He nodded bland approval. ‘Those girls don’t let much of the game fly this way - not if they can help it.’
‘Girls?’ said Paul Foster enquiringly.
‘On Moonbase. You haven’t met them yet?’
‘I haven’t been allowed up on Moonbase yet,’ said Paul stiffly.
‘Oh. Wait till that day comes, Paul. They have the prettiest coordinates up there, boy.’ Carlin’s laugh was rich and throaty. ‘They’d shoot any man out of the sky, believe me!’ When Sky 1 broke surface on its seek-and-destroy mission today, his teeth had been bared in the lust of the chase. Now he was relaxed. Something in his mind had automatically switched off just as quickly as it had switched on.
‘Women,’ said Paul tentatively, ‘on Moonbase?’
‘That worries you?’, queries Carlin.
‘Well...’, said Paul shrugging his shoulders.
‘...and a woman in charge,’ said Carlin. ‘Lieutenant Gay Ellis. None better.’ . . . ‘If you don’t care for the idea, I’d advise you to get used to it. Commander Straker’s a stickler for equality and it’s a levelling up, boy, not a levelling down. That team of Gay’s…’ He whistled reflectively! ‘Maybe women are better at that kind of life, in the long term, than men would be. You can get to feel shut-in way up there on the Moon air-conditioned, nowhere you can go for a long walk, everything calculated like a labour-saving kitchen. But the girls - they adapt. They make it work! And, when a UFO comes past, they turn their minds to that just as neatly as they’d turn ‘em to redecorating the sleeping quarters. We didn’t bag that UFO today because the girls got him first!’
Lieutenant Gay Ellis is Moonbase Commander during the first half of the series. Lt. Ellis is occasionally portrayed as lacking self-confidence, and at other times as a take-charge officer. She is briefly reassigned to S.H.A.D.O. HQ when it is suggested that she may be romantically involved with interceptor pilot Mark Bradley (UFO: Computer Affair). NB: Lt. Ellis drinks her coffee without sugar . . . so keep that in mind if you should ever visit Moonbase.
Lt. Gay Ellis appears in the following UFO episodes: (Gabrielle was unavailable for shooting UFO during episodes 5-7, and later for episodes 17-26).
02 Computer Affair
03 Flight Path
08 A Question of Priorities
Cmdr. Straker and Lt. Ellis have coffee together in the Moonbase Leisure Sphere after the successful engagement of the B-142 space probe and the UFO returning to its home planet . . .
Lt. Gay Ellis is briefly reassigned to S.H.A.D.O. HQ when it is suggested that she may be romantically involved with interceptor pilot Mark Bradley.
Lieutenant Ellis is in communications with the Russian Sovatek Base Commander Dudzinski, after the mining vehicle is shutdown just before its collision with Moonbase!
Gay enjoying an evening meal with Mark Bradley at their local restaurant. Later, Mark calls Col. Freeman to tell him, "Well you could say the computer was right... no... we'll work it out... fine... thank you... "
Gabrielle Drake's biography
Gabrielle Drake was born on Thursday the 30th of March, 1944. Gabrielle appeared in the 1970's in television series 'The Brothers' and 'UFO'. She later took parts in soap operas Crossroads and Coronation Street. Gabrielle has also had a stage career. Her brother was the musician Nick Drake, whose work she has consistently helped to promote since his death in 1974.
Gabrielle was born in Lahore, British India, the daughter of Rodney Drake and amateur songwriter Molly Drake. Her father was an engineer working for the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. The family moved from Burma to Britain when she was eight. On the ship travelling to Britain she appeared in children's theatrical productions, later saying of herself, "I was a dreadful exhibitionist."
Gabrielle later commented that, "Until then, life was fairly easy out east. There were lots of servants ... not that I remember having a spoilt childhood. Then suddenly we were back in England and in the grips of rationing. And yet, we were lucky in a way. We came back with my nanny who knew far more about England than mummy did. I remember the two of them standing over the Aga with a recipe book trying to work out how to roast beef, that sort of thing!"
She attended Edgbaston College for Girls in Birmingham, Wycombe Abbey School, Buckinghamshire and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. She has had a long stage career beginning in the mid-1960s, and has regularly appeared in television dramas.
Gabrielle Drake first gained wide attention for her portrayal of Lieutenant Gay Ellis in the 1970's science fiction television series UFO, in which her costume consisted of a silver suit and a purple wig. In the series, the character is the Commander of the S.H.A.D.O. Moonbase, which is Earth's first line of defence against invading aliens. She appeared in 10 of the 26 episodes produced, leaving the series during a break in the production to pursue other acting opportunities.
In 1971, Drake appeared in a short film entitled 'Crash!', based on a chapter in J. G. Ballard's book The Atrocity Exhibition. The film, directed by Harley Cokeliss, featured Ballard talking about the ideas in his book. Gabrielle appeared as a passenger and car-crash victim. Ballard later developed the idea into his 1973 novel Crash. In his draft of the novel he mentioned Gabrielle by name, but references to her were removed from the published version. In the 2009 BBC documentary Synth Britannia clips of Ballard and Drake from Crash! were inserted into the 1979 video for Gary Numan's song "Cars". A reviewer in 'The Scotsman' commented that the presence of Drake "brought serious glamour to urban alienation".
In the early 1970's, Gabrielle was associated with the boom in British sexploitation movies, repeatedly appearing nude or topless. She played a nude artist's model in the 1970 film Connecting Rooms, and was one of Peter Sellers' conquests in the film 'There's a Girl in My Soup'. She also played one of the lead roles in the sex comedy Au Pair Girls (1972) and appeared in two Derek Ford films, Suburban Wives (1971) and its sequel Commuter Husbands (1972), in which she played the narrator who links the disparate episodes together.
Her early television appearances include The Avengers (1967), Coronation Street (as Inga Olsen in 1967) and The Saint (1968). In 1970, she auditioned for the part of Jo Grant in Doctor Who, reaching the final shortlist of three, but did not get the part.
She gained wide exposure in The Brothers, the hit BBC family drama series, in which she appeared as a regular for the first four seasons playing Jill, the girlfriend (and later wife) of David Hammond. She also appeared in an episode of Brian Clemens' 1970s series Thriller, in The Kelly Monteith Show (as Monteith's wife 1979–80), a television version of The Importance of Being Earnest (1985, for LWT/PBS), Gabrielle was the subject of This Is Your Life on 8 April 1987. Crossroads (1985–87, as motel boss Nicola Freeman) and returned to Coronation Street in 2009 as Vanessa. In The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2003–05) she played the protagonist's mother.
Gabrielle made her stage debut in 1964, during the inaugural season of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, playing Cecily in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. In 1966, she joined the Birmingham Repertory Company and played Queen Isabella in Marlowe's Edward II. She also had roles in Private Lives (with Renee Asherson), The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles (with Linda Marlowe and Patrick Mower), Twelfth Night and Inadmissible Evidence. The following year, she was Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In the 1974–5, season at the Bristol Old Vic, she played in Cowardy Custard, a devised entertainment featuring the words and music of Noël Coward. In 1975, she appeared as Madeline Bassett in the original London cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn musical Jeeves. She also appeared in French Without Tears at the Little Theatre, Bristol. In 1978, she played Lavinia, opposite Simon Callow in the title role, in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, directed by Adrian Noble, at the New Vic, Bristol. She also appeared at the Bristol Old Vic in that year, in Vanbrugh's The Provok'd Wife.
Gabrielle was directed by Mike Ockrent in Look, No Hans!, alongside David Jason, during the 83–84 season at the Theatre Royal, Bath. She made a second appearance in The Importance of Being Earnest at the Royalty Theatre, London, in a production directed by Donald Sinden, which also starred Wendy Hiller, Clive Francis, Phyllida Law and Denis Lawson (87-88). In 1988, she played Fiona Foster in a revival of Ayckbourn's How the Other Half Loves, first at the Greenwich Theatre, then at the Duke of York's Theatre. During the 1990–91 season at the Theatre Royal, Bath, she played in Risky Kisses with Ian Lavender. She was in the Mobil Touring Theatre's official centenary production of Charley's Aunt in 1991, with Frank Windsor, Patrick Cargill and Mark Curry. In 1993, she was Monica in Coward's Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre, London, in a revival directed by and starring Tom Conti. She co-starred with Jeremy Clyde in the 1995 King's Head Theatre tour of Cavalcade, directed by Dan Crawford. In 1999, she was Vittoria in Paul Kerryson's production of The White Devil at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. She also toured with the Oxford Stage Company in that year, as Hester Bellboys in John Whiting's A Penny for a Song. She played Mrs Malaprop in the 2002 touring production of The Rivals with the British Actors' Theatre Company, whose artistic director, Kate O'Mara, was Gabrielle's co-star in the TV series The Brothers.
Gabrielle has made regular appearances at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, since her debut there in a non-pantomime version of Cinderella, written by Trevor Peacock, in 1979. That same year, she co-starred with Sorcha Cusack and Susan Penhaligon in Caspar Wrede's production of The Cherry Orchard. In 1986, she was Madame Gobette in the British premiere of Maurice Hennequin's Court in the Act, which subsequently played at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and the Theatre Royal, Bath, before transferring to the Phoenix Theatre in London (1987). Other roles at the Royal Exchange include Mrs Erlynne in Lady Windermere's Fan (1996); Anna in The Ghost Train Tattoo (2000); Fay in Loot (2001); Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (2004); and The Comtesse de la Briere in What Every Woman Knows (2006). At the same theatre in 2001, Gabrielle replaced Patricia Routledge as Mrs Conway during the rehearsal period for J. B. Priestley's Time and the Conways, when Patricia was forced to withdraw from the production due to illness.
Elsewhere, Gabrielle has appeared in her one-woman show, Dear Scheherazade, as the 19th century writer Elizabeth Gaskell (2005, 2007, 2010). At the Chipping Campden Literature Festival in 2011, she and Martin Jarvis read extracts from the letters and diaries of Robert and Clara Schumann in the recital, Beloved Clara. She had appeared in the same piece the previous year, again with Jarvis and the pianist Lucy Parham, at the Wigmore Hall in London.
Gabrielle has helped to ensure the public renown of her brother Nick Drake and her mother Molly Drake. She can be heard accompanying her brother Nick on a number of songs that he recorded privately, and which have since been released on the album Family Tree. After the release of songs written and performed by her mother, she said "Her creativity was a personal thing, and she was lucky to be able to develop it in an environment where that side of her was totally accepted. Indeed, my father encouraged it. He was so proud of her. On one occasion, he even made the 20-mile drive to Birmingham to get four songs pressed onto a disc." In 2014, she published Nick Drake: Remembered for a While, a memoir of her brother. In April 2018, she collected the Hall of Fame Folk Award 2018 on her brother's behalf in Belfast.
Gabrielle Drake was born on Thursday the 30th of March, 1944 in Lahore, Pakistan. Her father worked in an import/export company or as an engineer and she spent her first 8 years travelling around Burma, India, and the Orient. The family returned to England when Gabrielle was eight years old, after which they moved back near Stratford-upon-Avon. She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School for Girls in High Wycombe. After leaving school, she spent some time in Paris as an au pair looking after a family with four children. She then trained for several years at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts, then she joined a group of other recently graduated students to form the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.
Gabrielle stayed at the Everyman for three years and then became the youngest acting member during the reopening season of the famed Malvern Theatre Company. Afterwards she joined the Birmingham Repertory Company and perfected her craft at the Manchester's Royal Exchange, the Bristol Old Vic, the New Shakespeare Company and The Young Vic in productions as diverse as "The Cherry Orchard", "Titus Andronicus", "A Phoenix Too Frequent" and "Comedy of Errors".
Gabrielle made her television debut in Intrigue (1966) and then guested in "The Hidden Tiger", an episode of The Avengers (1961). She went on to appear in guest roles on Coronation Street (1960), The Saint (1962), The Champions (1968), Journey to the Unknown (1968), and Virgin of the Secret Service (1968) before landing the role of Lt. Gay Ellis in Gerry Anderson's UFO (1969/1970). Then she made her feature film debut co-starring in Crossplot (1969), and also appeared in Connecting Rooms (1970).
Gabrielle is sister of the late singer/songwriter Nick Drake, and is an Associate Member of RADA.
Gabrielle lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, in a house she bought in 1983 with her husband South African-born artist Louis de Wet, who sadly died in 2018. They renovated their home over several years as an artistic project and, in 2004, he described it as "the most beautiful building site in the world". Gabrielle was the producer of In the Gaze of the Medusa, a 2013 film by Gavin Bush about the renovation project and her husband's designs for the house.