UFO - Mindbender

194 – UFO – Mindbender

Mexican Banditos on the moon?

I’m not even sure where to go from there…  so let’s just let Ben and Eugene discuss, Mindbender, the penultimate episode of UFO.

3 thoughts on “194 – UFO – Mindbender”

  1. I really enjoy listening to your podcasts. Just some points I would like to offer re the UFO episode Mindbender.

    1) Mike refers to Michael Billington, the actor who played Paul Foster,
    2) Grant Taylor who plays General Henderson was indeed very ill, he died of cancer just a year or so later.
    3) On the set in Straker’s hallucination, Sylvia reading the prompts is Gerry Anderson’s wife, Sylvia Anderson making a cameo appearance. She designed all the costumes including those purple wigs on moonbase!
    4)Beaver with the limp who hallucinates second, the actor played the father of the boy who befriended Catweazle in the british TV series.
    5) I agree that this storyline is essentially a good idea but is very badly executed. Many anomalies and inconsistencies in the story. For example, why did the effect of the stone cease when it was shattered into many pieces? Surely the hallucinatory effects would still continue regardless of the size of the stone?

    I first watched all the UFO episodes in September 1970 at age 11, when it was first shown on British TV, two years before USA. I have rewatched and thought again about all the episodes many, many, many times. I am now 56 and watched this episode yet again, yesterday!

    1. We’re glad you’re enjoying the podcast! Thanks for the info. I didn’t spot Sylvia at all!

      I’ll admit, I was hoping nobody would notice the Mike/Michael Billington thing… We often record the podcast a week or more before I edit them. Sometimes when I edit them, I notice something we said or did that makes me cringe. “Mike” was my cringe moment during this one. It completely escaped me when we were talking about it, but it hit me between the eyes when I listened to it. I said at that moment, “I hope no one notices.”

      Ah well! At least I know the audience is listening! 🙂

  2. Sylvia is the blond haired lady sitting on a chair reading in for Howard Byrne when Straker wanders off in his hallucination. She is actually referred to by name. A parallel with the reference to Mike in the rushes theatre. I have always found it interesting that Straker’s hallucination actually corresponds to our own reality, with some of the real people behind the show becoming part of Straker’s mindbending experience. An interesting script-writing decision I have always thought.

    I also listened recently to your ‘Timelash’ podcast and agree with you and Ben that there are many flaws in that episode too. I think that towards the end of the 26 episodes they were running out of steam and couldn’t really be bothered to do proper justice to the story ideas with decent scripts. They would probably have suspected at this point that UFO was not going to run to a second series as originally planned
    (it became Space 1999 instead because of Lew Grade’s decision). Apparently, a second series of UFO would have taken the battle to the alien planet. An intriguing prospect which sadly we will probably never see, unless someone decides to reboot the series, as Gerry Anderson’s son is planning to do with Thunderbirds.

    I met Michael Billington on a couple of occasions at Sci Fi conventions in England a few years ago. A really nice guy. I had a really good chat with him about his character of Paul Foster, and his take on episodes like ‘Kill Straker’. Apparently Ed Bishop hit him very hard and for real in the confrontation scene towards the end! Mike said it really hurt! They had agreed to do it this way for realism and they both felt that the scene might not be convincing enough otherwise. Mike said that he still didn’t expect to be hit quite that hard and that it came as a bit of a shock! It made for a very powerful scene.

    Sadly both Mike Billington and Ed Bishop died in summer 2005, coincidentally only a few days apart. Mike died of cancer. I also met his son who was 15 at the time and with ambitions to be a professional soccer player.

    At the same Sci Fi convention I also met and chatted to Shane Rimmer, the voice of Scott Tracey in Thunderbirds, and who also appears as a pilot of the Shadair plane in an early episode, ‘Identified’ I think. UFO has always been one of my favourite series, but it has always bothered me that towards the end the standard of script writing started to go down hill.

    I am looking forward to listening to your thoughts on the very last episode, ‘The Long Sleep’.

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