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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

UFO: The Responsibility Seat UFO
"The Responsibility Seat"

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


Colonel Freeman is left in charge of SHADO while Straker cleans up a mess.


Read the story summary at SHADOpedia




In this episode, Colonel Freeman is left in charge of SHADO Command for the first time, placing it sometime before his turn in "Survival".




If anyone wants to translate the Russian dialog in this episode and send it on to me, I'd appreciate it and give you a credit here in the study!




At 1:45 on the DVD, one of the bin-like structures in the SHADO control room is labeled "FAST ACCESS (10' BIT) DRUM STORE, TYPE HM-15". It may be for storage of digital data tapes on spools.


At 2:00 on the DVD, there appear to be plant specimens growing in small, clear canisters on the top shelf behind Straker's desk.


At 3:47 on the DVD, notice that two small yellow and red wires are seen on the inner clasp of Jo Fraser's purse. This is Straker's clue that she is recording the interview.


At about 3:53 on the DVD, a glimpse of Ms. Fraser's panties are seen as she picks her notepad up from her lap. Not that it's such a big deal since we see her in nothing but her underwear near the end of the episode.


After the interview, Straker walks Jo from his office to her car. He should have noticed that she didn't have her purse with her. Especially considering he'd earlier noticed there was a microphone built into the clasp to record their conversation!


Jo drives what appears to be a Porsche 911 Targa convertible.


Realizing that the reporter may have inadvertently recorded evidence of SHADO's existence, Straker asks Ms. Ealand to contact the Global Press Agency to find Jo Fraser. Global Press Agency appears to be a fictional press organization.


At 14:18 on the DVD, as Straker takes a break from his search for Ms. Fraser, he looks at his notebook. The names of one person and two businesses are listed, with two crossed off. Presumably these are the leads he's found as to her location. The name George Grainger is crossed off; the name does not appear at any other time in the episode and the relevance to Fraser is not revealed. The next item crossed off is Apex Garage; presumably Straker found that Fraser had stopped there at some time during the day. The next item, which he asks the bartender about, is Grenville Motel, where he finally does find her. As far as I can tell, both Apex Garage and Grenville Motel are fictional establishments created for the script.


This is the first episode in which we see Captain Lew Waterman commanding Skydiver. Previously, Waterman was only seen as an Interceptor pilot at Moonbase, while Captain Peter Carlin was seen in command of Skydiver. In later episodes there seems to be a rotation of captains aboard Skydiver, just as there is of commanders at Moonbase.


At 17:25 on the DVD, a production microphone is seen poking up from the bottom-right corner of the screen.


The unidentified object in the sky that Sky 1 is sent up to investigate turns out to be just a weather balloon. Ironically, since the beginning of modern day UFO sightings in 1947, weather balloons have been one of the many alleged explanations of what UFO witnesses were actually seeing.


The scene of Freeman stalking away from Lt. Ford's desk at 19:55 on the DVD is a repeated and extended version of one seen earlier at 15:40.


The apartment building Jo Fraser lives at, Windermere Hall, is the same one at which Foster's girlfriend Tina Duval lives in "Survival". Fraser lives in apartment 23. Windermere Hall is a real world apartment complex located in Stone Grove, Edgware, England.


After Jo drives her car off the road, Straker takes her aboard his. But, as he drives down the road at 23:33 on the DVD, it's obvious there is no one in the passenger seat! 


As Foster speaks to Freeman on the video link at 25:08 on the DVD, there appears what I first took to be a mass of scratch marks on the screen. Later, I realized it was the reflection of Foster's silver uniform!
Moonbase video link Colonel Foster


At 26:05 on the DVD, Straker and Jo appear to be at the same restaurant which is later seen in "The Dalotek Affair" and "Computer Affair".


Straker's house, seen for the first time here, has the same exterior as the one used as Roper's house in "Flight Path"


Straker has a collection of antique pistols hanging on the wall in his house. He also has what appears to be a representation of the thunderbird from the mythology of a number of Native American tribes; this may be a bit of an in-joke to the Andersons' supermarionation series called Thunderbirds. He also has a zebra-skin rug on the floor and another that may be a razorback (American wild boar). thunderbird


When Straker brings Jo home for dinner, notice that, shortly after entering his home at 30:47 on the DVD, two place settings are already on the table before they even arrived! 


This episode reveals that there is a Russian base on the moon about 120 miles east of Moonbase. At 33:17 on the DVD, we see a shot of the Russian moon base. Notice in the foreground is what appears to be a lunar landing module.
Russian moon base


The word "COBATEK" is stenciled on a wall of the Russian mining vehicle. This may be intended to suggest the name of a Russian company. If so, it appears to be a fictional one.


The Russian crew of the wayward moon vechicle appear to be wearing spacesuits identical to the ones worn by SHADO personnel from Moon Base.


As things begin to turn romantic between Straker and Jo, he plays some classical music on his home stereo system. The music sounds like it is "Forest Murmurs" from Act I of the 1876 opera Siegfried by Richard Wagner. A sample of "Forest Murmurs" can be heard at Amazon's MP3 store.


During communications, Lt. Ford refers to the moon mobile sent to intercept the Russian vehicle as M-3. But at 41:55 on the DVD, the mobile is seen to be number 4.


When Foster boards the Russian vehicle at 42:57 on the DVD, a costuming mix-up occurs, as he is wearing a different style helmet than he was when in the moon mobile.


Foster finds that the two Russian crewmembers aboard the mining vehicle are suffering from anoxia. Anoxia is caused by a low level of oxygen in the bloodstream, resulting in short term confusion and forgetfulness in affected individuals. If the oxygen level is not corrected, it can result in permanent brain damage or death.


At 44:11 on the DVD, Lieutenants Ellis and Harrington are seen wearing white and silver spacesuits in preparation for the potential crash of the Russian vehicle into Moonbase. But at 45:07, the spacesuits are suddenly the standard yellow and silver seen for most surface excursions. Then the suit color keeps going back-and-forth between shots! Notice also that the two women do not wear their purple wigs while in the spacesuits; yet in the later episode "Ordeal", Lt. Ellis is seen to retain her wig while wearing a spacesuit.




Jo Fraser's criminal past from her police record is left vague to the viewer, but implies she was after something from Straker. But what? It's never revealed. Did she (or someone she was working for) suspect he was more than just the head of a movie studio?




the responsibility seat.wav

weather balloon.wav

If there's one thing I hate.wav

substitute vodka for whisky.wav

she didn't have you fooled for a moment.wav 


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