avatar_Leading Observer

A Forgotten TV Star

Started by Leading Observer, September 27, 2021, 01:07:00 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Leading Observer

In the early to mid 1960's Lew Grade's Incorporated Television Company [ITC] created a number of successful television programmes such as The Saint, Danger Man, and The Prisoner and through its APF subsidiary, Fireball XL5, Stingray and Thunderbirds. However there were also a number of less successful programmes, some of which never proceeded beyond the pilot stage, One of which was "QRA-Quick Reaction Alert" set on RAF Rheindorf, a fictitious RAF Station in Germany and which followed the lives and loves of the personnel based there.
It had all the usual suspects for this kind of drama, the brash USAF pilot on loan [so an American actor could be dropped in], the older Commanding Officer with personal issues from WW2/Korea who is having an affair with one of the junior WRAFs, the pilot who loves her and the odd local who may or not be a spy etc, 
As was usual, it used a lot of stock footage, in which most of the aircraft shown were totally incorrect for the setting, but the undoubted star of the pilot episode was "The MiG", the mysterious Russian aircraft that triggers the QRA at the start of the programme, which the viewers see on screen, but which eludes our hero.
Not even Lew Grade could hire appropriate Russian aircraft in that era, but one of the production crew came up with a cunning plan to use the Fairey FD2, then based at the RAE and which was about to be rebuilt as the BAC 221 to test the wing design for Concorde.
ITC approached the RAE with a request for permission to repaint the FD2 in fictitious Russian markings for filming ground shots, take off/landings and air-to-air footage to be used in the series, and much to their surprise, this was granted and, after payment of a substantial fee, the company duly repainted the aircraft and filmed at the RAE over a two week period, the aircraft then being restored to its original finish.
At the same time, the model makers at APF, experienced as they were by then building models for Fireball XL5, and even better at blowing them up, produced several different sized models of both "the MiG" and RAF aircraft for use in the in those sequences where a plane needed to be shot down, explode etc.
The Pilot episode was due to air on ATV on the evening of Thursday 25th October 1962, but with the Cuban missile crisis at its peak, it was deemed inappropriate to show a Cold war drama, and it was shelved, never to see the light of day, with the film eventually destroyed, the models adapted by APF for use in Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet etc. It was only recently that a couple of photographs surfaced depicting the FD.2 as the MiG. No film footage is known to exist.


Observation is the most enduring of lifes pleasures



Oh yes, very convincing.  Well done.
What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter


Love the story and nice build.
Phil Peterson

Vote for the Whiffies

The Rat

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles

Life is too short to worry about perfection

Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr


Excellent idea - nice one. :thumbsup:

Fictional movies/TV shows are a rich seam to mine, especially the bad ones....
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones



- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..


Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.