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Old 19-03-2014, 09:14 AM   #1
mike s
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Default Straker and Ellis in 'Close-Up'

I've never quite worked out the interaction in this episode between the two characters

having watched it just now I think Straker makes a bit of a rubbish attempt to chat Ellis up and she proceeds to brush him off at the end (+ he makes some truly heinous sexist comments right to her derrr)

in fact its slightly confusing I think and possibly they filmed it out of order and hadn't quite decided which way it would go while filming, which would explain some of the odd body-language possibly..?

(have I been thinking about this too much..?)
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Old 19-03-2014, 10:35 AM   #2
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perhaps its indicative of the values and accepted behaviour of the time. Females, no matter, how intellignt and capable are treated as there to scream and react or fall into the male leads arms. Just an indication we have moved on. In a new version it would not surprise me if Straker, freeman or foster was female and why should they not be??
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Old 19-03-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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yeah I agree - the thing that I'm not sure of is what actually happens..? is the upshot that he tries to chat her up but she eventually rejects him..?


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perhaps its indicative of the values and accepted behaviour of the time. Females, no matter, how intellignt and capable are treated as there to scream and react or fall into the male leads arms. Just an indication we have moved on. In a new version it would not surprise me if Straker, freeman or foster was female and why should they not be??
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Old 19-03-2014, 06:03 PM   #4
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Watched it the other day, from my own perspective as female, it comes across as Straker being incredibly awkward, attempting to compliment but shooting himself in the foot. I do agree it's a bit badly handled, could have been better put together and is somewhat confusing, mainly because it is out of character for Straker. (Other references to his love life are with women very much on the outside of Shado)

It's soon followed in the order I view the series (DVD box set) by 'The Man Who Came Back' where the Virginia Lake character shows a very modern view of the male/female role.

Perhaps both were attempts to highlight sexual tensions to spice up the series, within what anyone would have to agree was a very attractive cast of both genders.

It's certainly an oddity in the series though. Much like that scene in Identified where Straker is in the office with Freeman and clearly blows a white powder off his desk. Was it intended to indicate drug use or something entirely innocent??

Last edited by Odahs; 19-03-2014 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 19-03-2014, 06:14 PM   #5
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Just to add, it comes across to me that Ellis already knows she is very attractive, intelligent and capable, this is where for me the awkwardness comes from, particularly when the attention is from an older man.
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Old 19-03-2014, 06:30 PM   #6
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yeah - I think its confusing because the script probably changed as they went - in the earlier scenes she is def interested in seeing him when on leave, but then blows him off quite casually at the end

my guess is the ending scenes were shot first

I think its interesting, he is human after all, and I think they could have pursued it

the show at times is horribly knuckle dragging, its outrageous the girls having to wear that gear - that said, GD was spectacular (in fact as you rightly said it was an unusually good looking cast)



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Just to add, it comes across to me that Ellis already knows she is very attractive, intelligent and capable, this is where for me the awkwardness comes from, particularly when the attention is from an older man.
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Old 19-03-2014, 07:23 PM   #7
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I guess fashions change, it was made at the end of the sixties and mini skirts were in fashion! It was Sylvia who designed the costumes and one could argue she ensureed the women in the show are all highly empowered. Not afraid of being feminine at all, regardless of demanding roles. The wig as part of the uniform was totally inspired (if borrowed). So many of the actresses look so different in and out of the moonbase uniform.

It certainly influenced me as a child growing up, that it was OK to be a girl! I do know a couple of male friends who feel a bit guilty watching the show. Shame really as I think particularly the Shado staff show women as intelligent and empowered and equal to men. The more traditional at the time view of women in society is very much left to the non-shado guest roles.

I won't get onto the subject of men in string vests in confined spaces, it works both ways! Or for that matter slightly older men with bleached blonde hair (or even wigs) with blue eye shadow and an air of authority! Carlin, Bradley and Foster were really cute too!
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:49 AM   #8
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well when I was a kid I definitely noticed that the moonbase crew and the cloudbase Angels were all women, and they'd kill you without hesitation in the line of duty, and I didn't think it odd at all I thought it was cool - they are still talked down to by the males but overall I think it was very progressive
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Old 20-03-2014, 04:36 PM   #9
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Default Emotionally impaired....

In my opinion, when one considers Straker's disastrous relationship with Mary, and the tragic events surrounding John, it's hardly surprising that he was awkward, reticent or even impaired when it came to relationships of any kind.

Was John's death ever made known at SHADO HQ? If it wasn't (and I wouldn't put it past Straker to keep it a complete secret, even from Alec) then imagine the burden he was carrying, having nobody with whom to share it. That was always the fascination with Straker for me - the stereotypical handsome Alpha male leader, ruthless and single-minded, but struggling to connect with the opposite sex in anything other than a strictly work relationship.

Kindest regards

Patrick
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:12 PM   #10
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Absolutely Patrick, the awkwardness just gives him even greater appeal. That's what I love about the whole character, capable and ruthless, yet there are flaws for us all to see. All done so very very well by Ed Bishop.

It's so good watching all the episodes again at the moment, I think over the years it just gets better!
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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Default SHADO Has Two Faces...

I'm inclined to agree with some of what both Patrick and Odahs have said. Straker's marriage ultimately foundered due to his extended time away from home while building up SHADO, and his relationships therein (be they real or only imagined) with other women.

Believe Patrick has commented elsewhere, re the impact all of this had on Mary...



Gay Ellis knows and understands herself an awful lot better than Straker knows (or will acknowledge) himself. And in Close-Up, it shows. She not only can wear that silvery suit and the mauve wig up there at Moonbase, she owns it! That'll be true wherever she is, or whatever she's doing. And those around her will know it too...

Straker, on the other hand, while running SHADO to the proverbial fare-thee-well, has all but locked himself outside of the human race. He's good at ordering people about, but he'll never be at ease around them. That's been lost, and there's the tragedy...

Last edited by boatshewsd2; 20-03-2014 at 06:32 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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That brings on a nice play on words,

In protecting humanity he loses his own humanity!

I always feel though he does eventually find his woman, she appears early on and takes on a greater role in the show as time goes on... the last scene as they walk away, the leaders of SHADO and perhaps facing the future together? The one woman who he has to hide nothing from or explain anything to... I'm sure that would have featured in series 2.
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Old 20-03-2014, 06:38 PM   #13
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That brings on a nice play on words,

In protecting humanity he loses his own humanity!

I always feel though he does eventually find his woman, she appears early on and takes on a greater role in the show as time goes on... the last scene as they walk away, the leaders of SHADO and perhaps facing the future together? The one woman who he has to hide nothing from or explain anything to... I'm sure that would have featured in series 2.
...hopefully, along with Santayana's old warning:

Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it...
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Old 20-03-2014, 09:13 PM   #14
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Was John's death ever made known at SHADO HQ? If it wasn't (and I wouldn't put it past Straker to keep it a complete secret, even from Alec) then imagine the burden he was carrying, having nobody with whom to share it. That was always the fascination with Straker for me - the stereotypical handsome Alpha male leader, ruthless and single-minded, but struggling to connect with the opposite sex in anything other than a strictly work relationship.

Kindest regards

Patrick
When Straker's son became mortally ill his only hope was a drug that could only be obtained from the US and the only way to get it to England was to use a SHADO transport.

Then a UFO was shot down off the coast of Ireland and the survivor tried to contact SHADO HQ, the only asset that they could to locate the alien was the transporter carrying the drug.

I always remember the look on Straker's face when he realises he will have to choose between his only son or the alien and the shocked expressions on the people in the command centre when he chooses to put the needs of the many people on Earth who might be saved, if they could only contact the only alien who tried to talk to them, ahead of his son.

From memory Alec was present at the time and given the number of people in the centre it may have become common knowledge within the SHADO community.

Straker's character was almost always portrayed as supremely logical often to a fault, as in this case, he rarely expressed emotion a trait that made him perfect in the role of commander of the secretive organisation that was SHADO but made him far less suited as a husband.
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Old 21-03-2014, 06:31 AM   #15
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I think it was Alec that gave the order to divert the freighter to Ireland, though Straker says something like 'what have you done' there is no explanation that it involves John at the time or in that episode that I remember, Alec simply replying that it is 'standard procedure'.

Interesting catching 'Sub Smash' last night, as Straker's life flashes before him, it is John and Mary that are on his mind, even to the point of calling out 'Mary' when he thinks his time has come.
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Old 21-03-2014, 12:08 PM   #16
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Straker doesn't tell anyone else in SHADO about his son
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Old 21-03-2014, 07:02 PM   #17
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Agreed Mike, and as Mary never wants to see him again, it is something he is living with alone.

It is amazing how complex the Straker character is and that we are discussing it all so many years after the show aired.

Last edited by Odahs; 21-03-2014 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 21-03-2014, 09:53 PM   #18
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Speaking of the women of Moonbase, the command structure there always seemed a little hazy. All of them were Lieutenants, while there were 3-4 Colonels on Earth. Notice a bit of a gap in the ranks there?

I believe the original casting had another (male) character as OIC Moonbase, but that got dropped along the way (no suitable actor?), so the role had to be filled in among the other characters.
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Old 22-03-2014, 12:06 AM   #19
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Agreed Mike, and as Mary never wants to see him again, it is something he is living with alone.

It is amazing how complex the Straker character is and that we are discussing it all so many years after the show aired.


Might just be the most shattering end to any episode of the series, and it's all Mary.

Her anguished screams and sobbing reverberate long after screen fades to black...
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Old 22-03-2014, 06:38 AM   #20
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Said it before, Suzanne Neve, what a star! It so sticks with you that last scene. Was trying to figure which episodes had 'stuck' the most from childhood the other day (trying to discount re-watches and bearing in mind my parents sent me to Sunday School and I missed some of the first airing in the Anglia region because of it, I use to run home all the way to catch what I could!!)

Favourite all time is Sound of Silence (which I watched last night!!) Something so spooky about it and though it's more of a Foster episode, with the mobile action at the lake it's always going to be my favourite to watch.

Computer Affair stuck with me well, as did Flight Path, Ordeal and several others.

But the episode that had the most long lasting effect, was without doubt A Question of Priorities, there is the shock of the accident and death, but it is Suzanne Neve's performance that makes that episode. It makes sense of the whole series to me (in terms of the Straker character). I could quote lines all day but her delivery and acting ability were superb.

"Important? What can be more important than your own son's life?"

Unforgettable.
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