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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Close Up"

TV episode
Teleplay by: Tony Barwick
Directed by: Alan Perry


SHADO sends a robotic probe to follow a UFO back to the alien homeworld.


Watch this episode at YouTube



In this episode, Dr. Kelly states that three-dimensional depth of focus has been known for 25 years. As stated in the UFO timeline at SHADOpedia, Stereoscan was first produced in approximately 1960, placing this episode in 1985. 




For some reason, at the beginning of this episode, Skydiver 1 has a patch job on its hull, covering up the "Skyd" portion of the name. Did the sub recently sustain damage that necessitated repair work and the paint job hasn't been completed yet? However, when Skydiver surfaces at 3:14 on the DVD, the patch is gone and the full word "Skydiver" is visible. At 5:11, when Skydiver submerges again, the silvery patch is once again seen, but this time the full word "Skydiver" can be made out over the patch.
First shot of Skydiver patch Skydiver patch with name


The camera lens in the satellite during the test of the long-range photography device shows the camera to be a Bauer model. Bauer was formerly a manufacturer of Super 8 and other home movie cameras.


At 6:55 on the DVD, we see that an MK IV Recording System is being used for the satellite photography test. The MK IV Recording System is actually used in the real world on radio telescopes.


The probe sent to the alien planet is referred to as a B142 space probe.


SHADO does not have the facilities to launch a rocket loaded with the B142 space probe and must use NASA to do it. NASA, of course, is the United States' official space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


At 16:31 on the DVD, notice that Straker has a model of a B142 space probe on his desk.


The probe mission to the alien world is called Project Discovery.


On Moonbase, Straker remarks that Project Discovery, with luck, should bring the first close-up shots of another world. But by the time this story takes place (1985), Earth should already have taken close-up shots of the several worlds of our own solar system! In the real world we certainly had, with probes sent to image Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter (and, arguably, Saturn and Neptune). And in the more advanced alternate universe of UFO, they should have already accomplished this and more. 


According to SHADOpedia, the music during the spacewalk sequence to install instrumentation on the B142 probe is 'Sleeping Astronauts' from Gerry Anderson's 1968 film Doppelgänger (US Title Journey to the Far Side of the Sun).


At 32:12 on the DVD, notice that an image of Earth is visible through one of the windows of Moonbase's Control Sphere. This is not seen in any other episode. It's not clear whether this is intended to be an actual view of Earth from a window, or an artificial display on a giant monitor; it seems odd that Earth is essentially gray and no clouds are present.


As in several previous episodes, a copy of Design magazine is seen in the Leisure Sphere at 39:36 on the DVD. 


Notes from the novelization of "Close Up" by Robert Miall, published as UFO in Great Britain and UFO: Flesh Hunters in the USA.

(Roughly speaking, pages 72-75, 78-81, and chapters 1 and 6-8 cover the events of "Close Up". The page numbers come from the 1st printing, UK paperback edition, published 1971)


This book is actually a novelization of several episodes, interwoven into a single story in a way the televised versions are not. It features the plot and characters of "Identified", "Exposed", "Close Up", and "Court Martial". For purposes of this study of "Close Up", only the chapters covering this episode will be covered here. The chapters covering others are dealt with in the studies of those episodes.


Page 74 reveals that General Henderson still walks with a slight limp and has a faint scar under his left jaw from the UFO attack on his car in 1970 as seen in "Identified".


Page 78 suggests that after landing the lunar module at the Moonbase landing platform, the passengers must walk spacesuited over a short distance of the Moon's surface before entering a Moonbase airlock.


Page 79 states that the artificial gravity of Moonbase is adjusted closer to Earth normal but still on the light side.


Page 80 states that the mauve wigs worn by the female personnel of Moonbase are anti-static. But then, why don't the males wear some sort of wig on base as well?


Page 82 implies that Foster has not yet seen Moonbase's so-called Central Park. But the reason it gained it's nickname is that it's central to every other area of Moonbase; so he already had to pass through it after arriving on the Lunar Module.


Page 87 compares Joan Harrington to Diana the huntress. This is a reference to the Roman goddess Diana, goddess of the hunt and the Moon.


On page 96, Foster compares Kelly's demonstration of photographs at varying magnitudes to Russian dolls. This is a reference to Matryoshka dolls, a series of Russian nesting dolls, a set of ovoid wooden dolls of decreasing size, each nested within the one previous. 




Straker remarks that if the probe is successful, they can bring the fight back to the alien planet. Does SHADO have plans to launch attacks against the aliens' world?


How is it that the SHADO probe was able to keep up with the UFO and reach the aliens' homeworld? Earth, unlike the aliens, does not have faster-than-light engines! Perhaps SHADO has developed a technology that allows the probe to attach an undetectable tractor-like beam to the UFO and thereby be towed at FTL speeds behind it? 




how much do we spend on new coffee machines.wav

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Project Discovery.wav

the end of a conversation.wav 


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