Commander Straker, played by Ed Bishop, may have looked like the alpha male in a pixie commune, but how can you criticise a man who commands the loyalty and respect of some of the hardest men in small screen history? At his right hand was Colonel Alec Freeman, played by the ultimate man of granite George Sewell, (albeit with a blowave) and at his left was Colonel Paul Foster, played by James Bond nearlywas Michael Billington, who was considered for the role of 007 more than any other actor.
So what was it that made men such as these jump to Straker's every want and whim? Well, despite the dodgy barnet, he had charisma by the bucket load, and he was the proverbial tough talking yank in a palour full of servile Brits. Like his sidekicks he had an eye for the ladies. In 'Close Up' he attempts to chat up the posh and impossibly gorgeous Lt. Gay Ellis, an early role for Gabrielle Drake (Nick's sister). On that particular occasion Paul Foster walks in on them and gets a flea in his ear from Straker for his trouble.
For me however, it was his shrewdness and powers of deduction that made him such a credible leader of men. For example in one episode, ironically entitled ESP, a package with 74 stamps is received by a somewhat puzzled secretary. Straker takes one look at the package and declares with a degree of certainty, "Somebody wanted to make sure that got here". With such a gargantuan intellect at the helm of Shado, ET and his mates didn't stand a chance.
On a more serious note, UFO suffered the usual fifties and sixties sci-fi flaw, it predicted too much change in too short a period of time. The series was made around 1970 and set in 1980, yet it foretells a society where even businessmen and heads of intelligence organisations look like the cast of Logan's Run or the Yardbirds circa 1966, and everyone drives electric sports cars to the office, which ascends and descends like an elevator. Still, darn good fun; region 2 would be nice though.