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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

UFO: A Question of Priorities UFO
"A Question of Priorities"

TV episode
Teleplay by: Tony Barwick
Directed by: David Lane


Straker's son is hit by a car and critically injured and, as hospital doctors attempt to save the boy's life, Straker himself must deal with a strange new UFO incursion in the meantime.


Read the story summary at SHADOpedia




This episode is believed to take place in 1984, from assumptions in the UFO Timeline at SHADOpedia; it assumes that John Straker is about seven years old based on his physical appearance and behavior and the fact that Mary was established to have become pregnant with him in 1976 in "Confetti Check A-O.K."




The old car being driven by Straker with his young son on the grounds of Harlington-Straker Film Studios at 2:11 on the DVD appears to be the same Model T (or similar automobile) seen near the beginning of "Identified".


The old-time fire engine seen just moments later on the studio lot has license plate EW9795. It is a 1936 Leyland Cub FK6, currently displayed at the Museum of Fire at Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, England. The vehicle was also seen in the 1969 film Battle of Britain.


At 8:15 on the DVD, a car that appears to be a Porsche 911 passes by on the road outside John's house.


At 8:34 on the DVD, a Ferrari 275 GTB is the car that hits John, resulting in mortal injuries.


The ambulance that carries John to the hospital appears to be a Ford Fairlane station wagon.


The clock seen inside the hospital lobby is made by Junghans, a German clock and watch manufacturer.


At 13:36 on the DVD, a copy of The Field is seen on the end table in the hospital lobby. The Field is a country and field sports magazine in Britain and the oldest continuously-published such periodical of its kind, published since 1853. It's comforting to see it will still be around in the high-tech world of 1984.


John is said to have an allergy to antibiotics, with Straker adding that the boy grew terribly ill from a Terramycin injection. Terramycin is the trade name given to oxytetracycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, by the Pfizer corporation, which worked out the chemical structure of the compound.


Straker has Ms. Ealand contact SHADO's New York operation to obtain the experimental antibiotic from Westmore Hospital. This appears to be a fictional hospital.


In this episode, we see a UFO escape pod for the first and only time.


At 17:57 on the DVD, Straker is driving on the left side of the road and it looks like the driver is on the right side of the vehicle. This is normal for our England, but not for the England of UFO!


At about 20:40 on the DVD, the stage makeup on actor Ed Bishop's eyelids is quite obvious! It looks like he's wearing blue eyeliner.


This episode reveals in Straker's dialog that there is a SHADO base in New York.


Mary's new married name is Rutland. She has apparently also made her son, John, take on the new name instead of using Straker.


Mrs. O'Connor has a number of paintings, pictures, and knick-knacks around her home. At 22:00 on the DVD, there appears to be a portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) on the wall to the right of the fireplace mantle.


At 26:46 on the DVD, we see on Mrs. O'Connor's phone that her number is "Galway 79462". Galway is a city on the west coast of Ireland. Earlier in the episode, we are told that the UFO crashed in the ocean off Ireland's west coast. 


As the UFO approaches the planet at 45:43 on the DVD, the lights of cities on Earth can be seen in the dark half of Earth.




Are there opposing factions among the aliens regarding their penetration of Earth? This episode is another indication that there may be a more benevolent faction that wants to communicate with humans, as evidenced by one UFO attempting to shoot down another and the survivor of that targeted craft seemingly attempting to communicate with SHADO.


Why does Straker's ex-wife, Mary, tell him he should leave before his son has a chance to show him the model boat he built? Is it just because her new husband was present? Would it really put her out so much to allow Straker to remain standing on her lawn for a couple more minutes so their son could show him something? What a bitch! 




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