The UFO Annual 1972

As Personal Assistant to Commander Straker of SHADO and guardian of his cover as head of the Harlington-Straker Film Studios, I am always alert to potential security breaches.

I recently became aware of something called The UFO Annual 1972. Alarm bells rang immediately because until now there has only been one UFO Annual. Published in September 1970 by Polystyle publications to coincide with the first broadcast of UFO, it was re-released the following year to cater for regions like Yorkshire and London which didn’t screen the series until 1971.

When I got hold of a copy of the new publication, I was relieved to see that it is actually produced by Fanderson, the official Gerry and Sylvia Anderson Appreciation Society. It’s a very convincing pastiche of the annual Polystyle might have published back in 1971. It has eighty-four pages, packed with colour photos and features. There are background interviews with Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and Ed Bishop. There are also detailed features in which SHADO operatives explain how our organisation works. These are balanced out with two text fiction stories, profusely illustrated with stills from the TV show.

I do recall that one of the disappointments expressed by readers of the original UFO Annual was the lack of TV21 style cutaways – and Fanderson has responded to this by including three cutaways by Graham Bleathman – the Markers Universal Transporter, the Lunar Module, and the Interceptor Launch Silo’s. This last cutaway answers a lot of questions that were raised 50 years ago about what happens after the Interceptor Pilots jump into their launch chutes.

Because UFO was set in a future that is now our past, there is also a very useful article looking forward to the technical and political developments that might have been expected for the 1980’s. This puts the whole project in context. It’s a piece of guesswork – what might have been – but no-one can deny that it will be very collectible in its own right. Unfortunately, under the terms of their license with ITC, Fanderson can only sell their products to club members. But you can find out how to join here at https://fanderson.org.uk/