For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

UFO: Survival UFO

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


An alien on the lunar surface strikes at Moonbase.


Read the story summary at IMDB




In this episode, astronaut Bill Grant dies on April 12, 1981. 




The scene of the Moonbase crewman popping a balloon with a cigarette in the Leisure Sphere, at 2:48 on the DVD, is symbolic of the depressurization of the sphere that is about to occur from the gunshot fired by the alien through the sphere's viewport.


At 3:01 on the DVD, a copy of Design magazine is seen on the coffee table in the Leisure Sphere. This was a real magazine at the time the series was made. 


As debris is seen rushing out the shattered window of the Leisure Sphere, a copy of Brides magazine is seen at about 4:40 on the DVD. The periodical has been published since 1934. Seems like a strange periodical to find on a moon base!


As the atmosphere rushes out of the Leisure Sphere at 4:53 on the DVD, a torn page from a magazine shows a cartoon for Kent cigarettes, using their slogan at the time the series was made, "It's a Kent." "It's a Kent"


During the loss of atmosphere in the Leisure Sphere, the SHADO emblem on Bill Grant's uniform somehow gets peeled off his chest and sticks first to his left sleeve (at 4:55 on the DVD) and then onto the floor (at 5:05).


At 5:21 on the DVD, a Revlon ad slaps into Grant's face as the atmosphere rushes out.


At 5:58 on the DVD, we can see that some of the blown-around papers in the Leisure Sphere have landed halfway under the seam of a wall and the floor, making it obvious the wall is just a set piece.


Though Grant is supposed to be dead after the decompression of the Leisure Sphere, the actor is obviously still breathing after collapsing!


Grant's body is consigned to space after his death. Is this standard procedure for SHADO agents who die on the moon? Since SHADO is a secret organization, wouldn't relatives of the deceased question his absence, or at least the absence of a body?


Straker comments that they know that UFOs will disintegrate if they stay too long on Earth. They believe it is a reaction to Earth's atmosphere. Is it an intentional reaction built into the structural materials of the UFOs by the aliens to prevent access to their technology in the event of a captured craft?


Foster's girlfriend Tina Duval lives in the Windermere Hall apartments (#19). Journalist Jo Fraser was seen to live in these same apartments in "The Responsibility Seat". Windermere Hall is a real world apartment complex located in Stone Grove, Edgware, England. (In the novelization, she lives at Parkcrest Court instead, a fictional complex as far as I can determine.)


Tina is listening to a song on a record when Foster arrives at her apartment. Thanks to PopApostle reader H. Dollarsign for identifying it as 1967's "My Life Ain't Easy" by The Equals.


There are two different styles of helmet worn with the Moonbase spacesuits, as depicted below.
Spacesuit helmet Spacesuit helmet


As Foster stumbles into the rock outcropping at 22:58 on the DVD, the rock set piece jiggles under his weight! 


At 23:54 on the DVD, notice that the space helmet worn by one of the mobile co-pilots has some scuff damage to the side. Later (at 43:17), Foster's helmet is seen to have almost identical scuff marks even though the two were wearing their respective helmets "simultaneously"!
Co-pilot space helmet Foster's space helmet
Co-pilot Foster


At 31:18 on the DVD, Bradley is seen to be wearing a net shirt, like the ones worn by the crew of Skydiver, even though he is stationed at Moon Base.


The sleeping quarters in the Sleep Sphere of Moon Base has a swirling light panel installation similar to the one in Straker's office on Earth.


When Straker believes Foster to be dead, it seems odd that Bradley is given the promotion to Moonbase commander instead of Lt. Ellis, who seems to be in command when Foster is otherwise away. 


At 36:25 on the DVD, Foster shows the alien a geological survey map of the Moon that indicates that Moonbase is located in Mare Imbrium.
Survey map Red-lined area indicates Mare Imbrium (from Wikipedia).


At 46:13 on the DVD, the same clock that appeared in the Roper's bedroom in "Flight Path" is also seen on a table in Tina's living room. 


Notes from the novelization of "Survival" by Robert Miall, published as UFO-2 in Great Britain and UFO: Sporting Blood in the USA.

(Roughly speaking, chapters 9-14 (pages 76-124) cover the events of "Survival". 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 "Computer Affair", "The Dalotek Affair", and "Survival". For purposes of this study of "Survival", only the chapters covering this episode will be covered here. The chapters covering others are dealt with in the studies of those episodes.


On page 77, Foster daydreams of going to the best restaurant in London's new International Centre with Jane Carson. Jane was the Dalotek employee he met in "The Dalotek Affair". London's International Centre, as far as I can tell, is fictional, which makes sense considering the book was published in 1971, so there was no way for the author to know of a "real world" new plaza in 1981 when the story takes place.


In the novel, the UFO was able to land on the moon due to the alien signal jamming that was taking place previously in "The Dalotek Affair". In the televised episode, Foster mentions instead a recent meteorite storm that played havoc with Moonbase's tracking system.


On page 95, Foster compares a jagged rock formation on the moon with one of the giant statues on Easter Island. The statues, called moai, are representative of deified ancestors of the Polynesian colonizers of the island from about 1250-1500 CE.


In the novel, Tina's last name is Waring instead of Duval as it is in the televised episode.


Page 108 describes the eyes of the alien who has captured Foster as "glutinous". However, in the televised episode, the alien has the same lenses inserted over them as seen on previous aliens when encased in their liquid-filled environment suits.


On page 108, Foster, not being held at gunpoint by the alien, wonders if the alien will simply kill him and carve off chunks of his flesh to use for regeneration as they've experimented with before. This specific aspect of the aliens' interest in humans has not been previously presented in the series.


In the novel, one of Foster's rescuers is Lew Waterman. In the televised episode, the rescuers are two unknown men.


On page 123, Tina implies that about a month passes from the time she was told by Freeman that Foster was dead to when he came back to her alive. It seems like a long time for SHADO to have kept him away from her. Why didn't he let her know he was still alive sooner?


Page 125 reveals that a new Alaskan dock for Skydiver has recently been completed.




After this episode, we never see Lt. Bradley as commander of Moonbase again. Did he lose his promotion entirely simply because Foster turned up alive?




the best man for the job.wav

there's an alien.wav


Back to UFO Episode Studies