Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Telly Visions: Gabrielle Drake


Just for a change, I thought I’d better write about an actress who hasn’t appeared in “Doctor Who”! She has, however, appeared in a major science fiction series and this is probably her main claim to fame, despite being a classically trained Shakespearean actress. Her popularity also hails from, approximately, the same time period as my first two choices in this new feature and she is, facially at least, very similar in appearance to my previous “Telly Visions” selection, Wendy Padbury. I’m talking about Gabrielle Drake, one of the best-remembered stars of the 1970 television series “UFO”. Yet, she played Lieutenant Gay Ellis in only ten of the twenty-six episodes produced. Lt. Ellis worked on Moonbase, which was Earth’s first line of defence against invading flying saucers. Part of the reason for her not appearing in the remaining episodes was a gap in production, of about six months, due to relocation of the studio, during which time she needed to look for alternative employment. This also affected other major players in the Gerry Anderson show such as George Sewell. He played Colonel Alec Freeman in the first seventeen episodes then vanishes without a trace, despite still appearing, like Gabrielle, in the opening title sequence! Don’t let that put you off watching the series, though, if you’ve never seen it… Many of the later episodes have stronger scripts, despite a shifting of emphasis as to the reasons for the aliens coming to Earth! The costumes worn by Drake, and her female co-stars, included grey catsuits and mauve or purple-coloured wigs, the practical reason for which was never explained in the series. Trust me, ambiguity is good!

If you don’t remember Gabrielle from “UFO”, you may recall her appearance with John Cleese in an oft-repeated commercial for Yellow Pages, where, if I recollect correctly, the couple attempt to retrieve a goldfish bowl from their flooded home! But, really, she should be most familiar to a wider television viewing audience for her starring role in “The Brothers”, in which she played Jill Hammond for forty-two episodes between 1972 and 1974. If you’re unfamiliar with this series, “The Brothers” could be seen as producer Gerard Glaister’s forerunner to “Howards’ Way”, both being, essentially, Sunday early-evening soaps centred around a family business. It certainly brought Colin Baker into the public eye, as the villainous Paul Merroney, well over a decade before he took on the mantle of Britain’s most famous time traveller. In hindsight, the character of Paul Merroney can be viewed as a prototype for the new Thatcher-inspired generation of corporate go-getters. Anyway, it wasn’t Gabrielle’s only brush with the world of soap! Also like Wendy Padbury before her, she has appeared in the long-running motel saga “Crossroads”, though Drake’s stint was over several years during the mid-to-late Eighties as Nicola Freeman. No relation to Alec, in “UFO”, I trust! On the big screen, she played posh tottie Julia Halforde-Smythe opposite Peter Sellers in the Boulting Brothers’ romantic comedy “There’s a Girl in My Soup”. Peter’s catchphrase in the film is “My god, but you’re lovely” and this is certainly true of his co-star, Gabrielle Drake. Just take a look at the short clip of Lt. Ellis changing into her mini-skirt in the Moonbase equivalent of a locker room, from the “UFO” pilot-episode “Identified”, and I think you’ll agree!

video

10 comments:

Steve said...

I'm ashamed to say I recall her in Crossroads... my parents were avid viewers so I have a forced familiarity with the show... it's not something I'm proud of!

TimeWarden said...

My grandfather was an avid viewer of "Crossroads", too!

Michael G Clark said...

Ding dong.

I always liked that costume, but why the purple wigs? They only wear them on duty, are they part of the uniform?

Good to see you didn't stop the blog and are enjoying the new series of who.

doppelganger said...

I wish she hadn't been in Crossroads - it's a shame when you find you don't fancy folk anymore -the same thing happened with Mrs McLusky from Grange Hill when she resurfaced in Echo Beach.... but ... ahem.... anyway .... I'm glad you didn't go away - this is the best post I've seen all year sir...

TimeWarden said...

Many thanks for the vote of confidence, guys, and hope you are both enjoying the new series of "Doctor Who" too.

Regarding the purple wigs, I guess that's a question for Sylvia Anderson but you'll notice Gay is still wearing hers after she has changed when, presumably, she is off-duty! Yet, in the excellent episode "Close Up", she can be seen back on Earth without the wig. Maybe it's to keep the Moon environment as sterile as possible in the same way people cover their hair when preparing food?

I wish Gabrielle hadn't been in "Crossroads" as well! My heart always sinks when actors and actresses I admire turn up in soaps. It did when I heard Samantha Janus was to appear in "EastEnders" and again, more recently, when it was announced Maggie O'Neill is to join the same show. I presume they have to accept what's on offer as, sadly, they have to pay the rent like the rest of us!

Michael G Clark said...

Purple wigs keep space rays off? Perhaps.

Cracking looking girl though, I believe she appeared in the nip a few times, but of course I don't search for that sort of stuff.

I've liked 2 of the new series of dr who, so far. The handy brains of the ood and the comedy writing of Sontaran Stratagem are leaving me cold. Looking forward to the Doctor's Daughter though, looks interesting.

TimeWarden said...

In "Kill Straker!", Ed is seen smoking on Moonbase which makes a nonsense of my sterility suggestion! Truth is, the purple wigs just add a touch of glamour!!

You don't need to look very hard as she's topless in the Peter Sellers' movie with a little bit more besides in Val Guest's "Au Pair Girls"!

I liked the new Ood story a lot, didn't mind the Sontaran opener, but found the first two episodes uncharacteristic of "Doctor Who".

Old Cheeser said...

Interesting choice of post and a very titilating clip Tim! Loving Gabrielle's kitsch outfit not to mention the kitsch hammond organ music in the background! I bet we never saw the men in such a state of undress though...such sexism!

As for UFO, I was too young to remember it on first broadcast and I never saw Ms Drake in Crossroads either, never really being a fan at the time (although I do remember her appearing on the front cover of the TV Times when she took over ownership of the "Motel"...)

TimeWarden said...

I endeavour to titillate! Actually, Simon, you might be interested to know that Michael Billington, the most tested actor for the role of James Bond, who played Colonel Paul Foster in "UFO", spends much of the episode "Ordeal" in trunks, sweating in a sauna, hairy chest and legs exposed throughout!!

In a way, the supposed tastelessness of the female costumes, in "UFO", detracts from the quality of the stories which are very well thought through and have a maturity about them lacking in other, similar, science fiction series. If you don't mind the serious nature of the first series of "Space: 1999" then its predecessor is worth investigating.

gabrielle drake fan blog said...

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