Ed Bishop Commentary: Sub-Smash

While listening to this commentary it occurred to me that perhaps Ed Bishop hadn’t actually watched the episode for a very long time.

There are long pauses in the commentary, as if Bishop is more interested in seeing the episode rather than commentating on it. But one thing that does stand out is the sheer joy he obviously felt as he relived the filming.

00.10 Opening Sequence

That was our resident alien that we had there , he was in every episode that they  required an alien. Gita Santana and it was great to go out to have lunch with him . He’d sit there with his eyes y’know and he’d be talking  about his agent  or ten percent. Or whatever. This is a fantastic opening. Really grabs you. This incidentally  is  one of my, very close to the favourite  episode, Sub-Smash. I really  enjoyed this. Very very hard work

I’ll show you when we get to the set.

01.17 Nina Barry

There are the girls (drawn out pronunciation of ‘girrrrrls’). Those guys used to always say they  were going down laundry chutes jumping down there. Fantastic opening.

02.06 Atlantica Lifebuoy

Boy when Derek Meddings blew anything up there was no half-measures man.  He really…(laughter)……..  eliminated it. Fantastic effects.

02.40 Captain Waterman

That’s Gary Myers . He was the Cadbury Milk-Tray guy. Australian. Nice guy, very athletic.

04. 02 Freeman and Straker

That’s wonderful George Sewell. I think he and I  played together very well because our  timings were very different . He had that  quick London way of speaking and I had  a slower kinder of American delivery which……… We always seemed to complement each other and the scenes together were a lot of exploration.. exposition really. They always seemed to make sense,. He was a joy to work with too. Still around, still working.

04.50 Alan Fennell

Dear Alan Fennell passed away couple of weeks ago. Brilliant guy.

05.21 Waterman goes below

That’s right He was the captain of the ship, Gary was. There’s Anthony Chinn. I worked with him several times in various things. Wonderful Asian actor.

06.23 Foster

(Laughter) He was very good, Michael, he could make a gesture speak volumes. The lovely Dolores, at home, on Moonbase or in Skydiver.

07.11 Lt Lewis

Now that’s Paul Maxwell, a very close friend of mine, personal friend. He died a couple of years ago.  Paul and I were always up for he same parts. We came into competition many many times. We lost track of who had the most ‘hits’ but we were always coming up against other.

07.45 Straker at the bottom of the ladder

Yes. Now the essence of this episode was because I suffer from claustrophobia personally and Dolores suffers quite a bit from claustrophobia so …….. somebody had the bright idea to use this phobia in a script in some way.

08.45 Straker and Waterman

That was one of the things I liked about the series was the ………like  Dolores could be on Skydiver one episode and that  she could be at Moonbase on  another  and at SHADO Central control in another episode. There was a kind of fluidity. You didn’t see one person in one job constantly. There are a few characters like Ford, but most .. they kind of moved around. I found that interesting.

10.13 Skydiver about to dive

Michael Billington, Colonel Foster, he was also, the actor, very into physical fitness, training .Did a lot of exercising , weight lifting, running. I don’t think that they used those abilities that he had back here in the series enough.

10.50 Nina listening to sonar

I think this is one of Dolores’s best episodes. And they gave her a real, real  chance. I absolutely believed that she was  looking  at those monitors and getting information out of it.  See its…( picture of monitor). Maybe she was looking forward to the terrible crawl she had to go, through the pipes, but I thought this was the best  episode for her in this series.

11.49 Contact lost

See now, I believed her intensely.The rest of us were just wondering  what we were going to have for lunch, but somehow or other  Dolores conveyed that menace, curiosity. Which is not an easy thing to do.

13.54 Moving Chin below

Now you see for the rest of the episode we were all at 45 degrees angles and they built the set like that. And I’m telling you it was murder to work on. It was like walking in those houses in a funfair, you know, that were off at an angle. You just,   you can’t walk,  you can’t do anything. You’re all working at an….. It was at least 45 degrees off the perpendicular. You felt drunk as soon as you walked on it. It was really very difficult filming this.

Now this is something I don’t understand, this sequence  coming up here. But he’s the captain of the ship and he’s exiting screen left. (laughter) I thought there was some law of the sea that the captain was the last guy  to go or something. I always had a question mark about  this. See you later guys! ( Laughter.) I’m outta here.

17.35 Inside the submarine

Yes, now we’re working at the old 45 degree set.

18.18 Straker and Foster


19.36 Freeman in the Albatross

That pilot Burnell Tucker was a colleague of mine, I’ve worked with him  many times. Did a lot of radio plays together. He’s still around, still working. These guys ( the rescue team ) I didn’t know at all. I’ve never met them.

22.20 Straker leaning against door jamb

Straker actual got dirty in this one. Very unusual for him. (laughter)

21.17 Lt Lewis

Paul  was a regular Anderson actor. We had been together in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and I think he was in Thunderbirds, or one of the previous series that Gerry  did.

22.05 Straker in the Captain’s cabin

That scar on my lip. I got that in the army when I was talking when I should have been listening. Sometimes it’s a very fatal error. I never notice it much in the series except in that shot.

23.07 Straker and Foster in the Captain’s cabin

Mike was a very good actor and he looked good and he looked after himself. He came within a hair’s breath of becoming James Bond; think he was screen tested several times for the part. I think he would have been very good had he been cast in that part.

He was a fine actor Paul, did  a lot of major parts in Hollywood before he came here and settled in England. Really a very nice actor and a nice guy.


(Laughter) I loved that position, it was so comfortable; just rest your back!

26.20 Straker and Nina

Now that was quite a thing for Straker to reach out his hand there and actually physically touch somebody, especially  a woman , a member of the opposite sex.

27.20 NIna in the tube

Ah that poor girl, she ..  I think she had about a whole day, or two-thirds of a day in that bloody tube, She really worked hard on that..

29.05 Lewis in the escape hatch

Now yes, they would just shoot this as if they were shooting through an aquarium of coloured water. I don’t think Paul got wet at all  on the shooting of this, but sure the way they cut it together it looks fantastic. I  mean you actually feel  a sense of relief when he gets that dammed thing open and out.

30.35 Straker and his watch

Yes, now there’s the watch that I wore in every episode  and I was very pleased and honoured that at the end of the series the producers, Gerry , Sylvia and Reg, they  gave me the watch , suitably engraved on the back and I’m pleased to be able to say that I’ve worn it every day on my left wrist since then and it’s been one of my prize possessions.

31.27 Trapped in the tube

I always feel uneasy when I see that sequence, cause I remember how, really, how much personal discomfort and sheer agony Dolores went through at that time. She was a real trooper.

32.05 Straker and Lt Chin

That’s the second touch in one episode for Straker . That was quite a commitment.

36.10 Foster and Chin

I mean on several occasions in various episodes  when there’s been physical violence, And Colonel Foster’s been there, Straker’s always moved to the background and said  ( Laughter) Hey Paul, take care of this.  It’s a wonderful relationship.

36.45 Nina in the tube

Oh, poor old Dolores. She’s earning her wages in that one.

38.02 Paul about to leave

(Laughter) That was my line. That was my line. I liked that Straker’s line.. Colonel Foster get off this boat.(laughter)  You’re breathing my oxygen. God he could move like a cat Michael, he was very, very  agile.

38.49  Foster leaves

I mean,  the whole art work, the whole lighting in this episode; like  when they open the door and that little bit of water come  out, I mean who would take the trouble to do that? If you did three or four takes you had to keep cleaning up the puddle, but on this episode the attention, the  detail, it was as claustrophobic and as tight as the script itself. I think poor Dolores  was tense two or three days even before she got into that tube.

39.41 Straker alone

Now Straker you see, he thinks he’s alone. When I started to play Straker, I tried, I made a promise to myself that I would try to, if I was ever in a dangerous situation I would try to act as  if I didn’t know the end of the script. And I really had to work with this one, cause, I mean, the guy really thinks that  this is it.

41.36 Hallucinations

Of course these are clips from previous shows with the death of Straker’s son, the birth of his son, his ex-wife. The lovely Suzanne Neve. We did Confetti-Check I think first, and  the relationship worked so well that they brought her back for Question of Priorities. I didn’t see a great deal of her.  I think she gave up the business afterwards, not after this, but soon after. I had worked with her first in the very prestigious  BBC production of Portrait of a Lady. She was the star with Richard Chamberlain so it was a pleasure to work with her again here  in UFO although the episodes were very painful.

43. 24 Foster on board the rescue craft

Now Michael showing  a little   hairy chest there, Come on! (laughter) Ya got it.. ya flaunt it.

44.02 Writing in the book

Now this is interesting this sequence here. Now he’s writing in the log,  and I wanted add a few lines from the burial service at sea which I thought was very interesting because here’s a guy who’s  so ‘of this world’ and at the moment of death he writes in something like .. but they didn’t want it. There was a big controversy about it, but they did let me do a  kind of voice-over which comes up in a minute, which they, the other guys tried to drown with music, but I think it just exists, if you listen.

This is it ( Therefore we commit…) It was just in there , just in. But I don’t know, as more dishevelled and bloody those characters are, the more sympathy  I felt for them.

46.04 Foster at the hospital

Only Michael could wear that costume. I had one like  it but I just looked ridiculous in it.

46.34 Straker looking at Nina

And they all lived happily ever after. Well this is Ed Bishop speaking and I certainly have enjoyed this trip down memory lane to a project we did, gosh, thirty –five years ago, seeing faces that I’ve half-forgotten, situations, and really happy times. Lot of hard work but we really did enjoy our work on UFO and I hope you’re enjoying this dvd release. A new release on life.

One thought on “Ed Bishop Commentary: Sub-Smash

  1. I actually loved Ed Bishop’s commentary on this episode. It was like having him sitting next to you on the sofa watching the episode with you and sharing his own memories and thoughts about the show. A lovely, intimate, conversational type commentary, not just a load of scripted, dry facts – instead we were treated to his own personal remembrances. Wonderful!

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