UFO watch (Episode 10 – The Responsibility Seat)

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Written by Tony Barwick
Directed by Alan Perry

Straker dislikes having to do PR work for his cover job as head of the Harlighton-Straker film studio, but perks up when he realises that journalist Joe Fraser is actually Jo Fraser (Jane Merrow).  But it doesn’t take him long before he decides that she is “intelligent, attractive and a possible security risk”,  Is she an undercover reporter sniffing out clues on SHADO?  Or can she really be in love with him?

This is the main plot of The Responsibility Seat and it gives Straker a chance to get out of the SHADO bunker.  It’s a slightly unexpected turn of events to see him exchanging sweet nothings over a candlelit dinner but it’s nice to see him unwind for once.  Needless to say, she’s a wrong ‘un and it doesn’t end well.

With Straker off in hot pursuit, this leaves Alec Freeman in charge of SHADO HQ.  He’s got a busy time of it, with a possible UFO in the Earths atmosphere as well as a runaway vehicle heading on a collision course direct to Moonbase.

This episode also gives a little more exposure for Lt Keith Ford (Keith Alexander).  Ford has been a familiar presence at SHADO HQ since the first episode and he’s usually been given the odd line or two to confirm that UFO’s have broken through the Moon’s defences.  Here he gets a slightly larger role in proceedings as he raises an eyebrow or two when Freeman begins to find the Responsibility Seat something of a hot potato.

And the third part of the plot enables Paul Foster to share in the action as he climbs aboard the out of control vehicle and manages to stop it before it crashes into Moonbase.  For once, this wasn’t due to alien interference – instead the crew had been suffering from anoxia or lack of oxygen.

A solid episode, although it’s difficult to believe that Straker would be turned by a pretty face quite so easily.  But it gives both Ed Bishop and George Sewell a chance to do something a little different, so for those reasons it’s a good watch.