The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

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The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
As I have said before I am re-watching the UFO series (albeit out of the order, with the episodes that I have already seen before being watched first before I move onto those I have not seen etc). I have just watched this episode after the brilliant 'Survival' episode and I am shocked at how both bizzaare & contradictory this episode actually is.

Unfortunately it appears to be the case of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson going all 'fan-boyish' over the fact that they had the prospect of David Tomblin (of 'The Prisoner' fame) to direct an episode that they decided to let him write the script as well. This is a huge mistake as although David Tomblin is genius with regards to his work on the excellent 'The Prisoner' series, he is definitely the wrong person to work on UFO.

I have outlined the main issues I found with the episode below.

1 - THe title of the episode.
---------------------------------
The title 'The Cat with ten lives' is completely wrong for the UFO series (which normally has one-word or abbreviated titles in their episodes like 'ESP',  'Identified' & 'Survival' which emphasize the dramatic effect etc).  The title 'The Cat with Ten lives',however, sounds like one used in a typical 'Prisoner' episode eg: 'A town called Harmony',  'The Girl Who was Death',  'The Computer wore menace shoes' - ( BTW that last one was a Simpsons episode-skit on the 'Prisoner' series) which emphasize the ongoing eccentric 'mind-altering' themes of that particular show which is quite out of step with the UFO series

2 - Massive Continuity errors
----------------------------------
It's clear to see the importance of any ongoing TV serial, where there will be guest scriptwriters both coming & going, to have a strict 'series bible' in order to avoid any continuity errors. Unfortunately UFO does not have one and it shows. It seems that David Tomblin had been given free reign to write the script & did so whilst completely ignoring the premise laid out in the very first episode 'Identified'.
I remember reading a STARBURST interview with the producers of the ultra campy 'Buck Rogers in the 25th century' who explained that when the production of a series nears the end of the 1st season, the producers immediately start re-visiting scripts that they had previously rejected in the hope that they can 'spice them up' so that they can be produced (which, according to the producers, is why the last few episodes of 'Buck Rogers' became particularly cheesy & stupid). This is definitely the case with the 'Cat with Ten Lives' which was produced as the 19th episode, and was unfortunately broadcasted as the 4th episode (which really confuses the continuity flow of the series).

It seems that with the 'Cat with ten Lives' episode Tomblin delivered what looks like a reject script for 'Captain Scarlet', with the 'UFO aliens' being reverted to the 'Mysterons'. This completely contradicts everything about Aliens presented to the viewer in both 'Identified' and the subsequent episodes that follow. In 'Identified' we learn that the Aliens are actually humanoid and come from a 'dying planet' (later confirmed in episodes 'ESP' and 'Close Up'). And that the aliens are taking drugs which halt the aging process but as a side-effect has also left them  sterile with poor muscular development. We also learn that the atmosphere can be poisonous to those aliens bodies who have long defied the aging process (and that prolonged exposure can lead them to die of old age as shown in 'Identified'). Also as shown in the 'Computer Affair' there are those aliens who are much younger (ie: those who have not yet started taking the age-defying drugs, and thus not needed any organ transplants as yet), and therefore are unaffected by the atmosphere but their alien metabolism cannot tolerate certain 'earth-made' drugs (such as the truth serum which kills the young alien in 'The Computer Affair').

However in Tomblin's script the SHADO Medic Dr Jackson gives a bizzaare theory, based purely on conjecture surrounding an autopsy he made on a single alien body (with a damaged cranium no less!) in which he described as "100% human?" (ie: I think what Jackson was meant to say that it was a body that was 'originally from earth' etc). Nevertheless based on this assertion Jackson theorizes that the aliens are actually 'formless beings' (like the Mysterons),who capture human bodies and implant their minds into them (again just like the Mysterons), and have a 'master agent' similar to 'Captain Black' on earth (again just like the Mysterons except their agent is actually a Siamese cat - WTF?).
This ridiculous plot-point really evokes the premise of 'Captain Scarlet' almost to point that I was expecting the silly 'kettle-drum' music cue to kick-in once Jackson stopped talking.

The entire reason behind Gerry & Sylvia Anderson making UFO (their first'live action' show) was to distance it from all previous Anderson puppet shows (including Captain Scarlet), and not to pay homage to 'Captain Scarlet' like Tomblin's crappy script appears to do. Plus this ridiculous 'theory' made by Jackson about the Aliens origins only throws up the following contradictions that confuse anyone following the series from episode 1 onwards:  

Alien contradictions (courtesy of David Tomblin)
[1] - The fact that the alien bodies (along with their UFO ships) wither & die when exposed to earth's atmosphere indicates that they are actually not 'originally from earth'
[2] - The fact that certain Earth-drugs (that are fit for human consumption) actually kills aliens is also an indication of this.
[3] - Why would 'formless' beings give a toss about their home planet actually dying when technically it wouldn't affect them?
[4] - Another theory that Jackson spurts out is that the aliens implant their minds into these 'earth-human' bodies because they don't like travelling through light-speed because they fear 'going senile' (whaaat?). He's making a lot of assumptions based on one autopsy on a damaged alien body!
[5] - If the aliens are 'formless' beings who like to posses 'earth-human' bodies then why are they bothering with capturing other humans and stealing their organs for the purpose of transplantation? That's like a car owner who has an 'old banger' of a Toyota who then proceeds to steal a new Toyota, but instead of driving the new one he just uses it for spare-parts to keep his 'old banger' going! (WTF?)

[6] - Later in the episode when the Aliens capture Lt Regan & his unfortunate wife they do not carry out this 'mind implantation' procedure that Jackson spends so many minutes of screen-time theorizing about. Instead they just 'brainwash' Regan (like they do in other UFO episodes like 'The Long Sleep' and 'Destruction') and make him susceptible to orders from 'Captain Cat'
[7] - If they did perform this so-called 'mind-implantation' operation directly on Regan then they wouldn't have to bother with the cat anyway :)


To avoid all the above plotholes which only serves to confuse the viewers, Jackson should have just theorized from his autopsy that the reason why the UFO pilot was of 'earth origin' is that the Aliens appear to be experimenting with their 'brainwashing' techniques to see if they can mind-control an 'earth abductee' & make them pilot a UFO in order to use them in suicide-runs against the SHADO moonbase.
This makes a lot of sense as we see the aliens making a suicide attack against Moonbase in the beginning of the episode, as well as 'mind-controlling' Regan (through 'Captain Cat') to force him to crash his interceptor into the base near the end. And this also marries up with previous UFO episodes where the Aliens use mind-control on humans to make them act as either spies (such as the female secretary in the 'Destruction' episode), or brainwashing humans to act as assassins (such as Paul Foster in the 'Kill Straker' episode).

Thankfully the UFO novelisations and the excellent UFO comic strip (which appear in the Countdown/ TV Action comic) completely ignore Tomblin's crappy suggestion that the aliens are 'formless entities possessing human bodies', and I sincerely hope that the remaining UFO episodes that were produced after this episode do the same :)  


3 - David Tomblin's really eccentric direction & script-writing
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Like I said at the beginning of the post David Tomblin is a good director & scriptwriter for serials like 'The Prisoner' with its 'mind-buggering' eccentric premise on paranoia. However his direction on 'Cat with Ten lives' is far too eccentric for a series that is trying to play a balancing of both a straight action-adventure serial for kids, and a drama for adults. By throwing an eccentric director/ scriptwriter like Tomblin into the mix and you have something that's a bit too difficult for both demographics to even understand let alone enjoy. I simply don't think Tomblin has the right kind of directorial chops for UFO (Unlike director Ken Turner who had done an exceptional job on the excellent episode 'Destruction' or Gerry Anderson himself on the episode 'Identified'). I have listed some of these directorial/ script writing absurdities below :

[1] The eccentric mannerisms of Lt Regan (ie: from the way he kisses his own hand before firing a missile, to the campiness he conveys when putting on his helmet & sliding down the chute etc)    
[2] The fight scene between Foster and Regan in the moonbase training room seems really campy and 'out of the place' (particular the scene where Foster comically adjusts his wig after the fight)
[3] The scene where Regan & Fosters literally engage in a 'cat fight' where Regan is behaving like a cat by trying to scratch Fosters face (this implies that Regan is being 'mind-controlled' by an actual cat, and not an alien entity that is in possession of a cat's body which is another blatant plot-hole in Tomblin's insane script :).
[4] The whole bizaare 'seance' scene with the hammy acting of both Regan's '100 year-old cousin' & his crazy wife (BTW - what was the point of that whole scene? Were the aliens actually 'pushing the glass'? And who left the Ouija board outside the cousin's house? Was it 'Captain Cat'?)
[5] It seems that there is really lax security in the SHADO organisation where pilots who are meant to be on furlough can simply change their minds & jump on space flights to the Moonbase without anyone even questioning it.
[6] It also seem that pilots who are not on duty can still be let into Moonbase unesorted & allowed to walk around the entire facility (including the interceptor bays which apparently are not guarded either).
[7] Apparently a cat can wander into SHADO HQ without anyone noticing it. And once it is noticed (by the lovely Lt Ayshea no less) no-one seems to panic or question about the obvious breach of security that allowed the cat in, in the 1st place.
[8] The fact that Straker would force a Pilot who is clearly suffering from PTSD back into active service is really 'out-of-character' for the uber-cautious SHADO commander.
[9] The incredible speed of 'Captain Cat'. One minute he is staking out Regan's cousin's house, the next he is about 10 miles down the road waiting for Regan & his wife to drive by. And when Straker unleashes the hounds after 'Captain Cat', the frisky feline seemingly runs 10 miles away from the Harlington-Straker studio before it is caught & killed.
[10] For some reason Lois Maxwell's character (a Harlington & Straker secretary) is wearing a cast without any explanation in one scene near the end of the episode (and I don't recall her wearing one in any of her earlier scenes). Plus in the scene in question both the make-up & lighting briefly make her look like a transvestite for some reason (very androgenous, maybe this was intentionally done by Tomblin as part of his 'mind-buggering' visual traits?)
 
[11] The sheer look of 'disappointment' on the 3 moonbase girls when they realise that Regan's suicide run was thwarted at the last minute and he crashes away from the base (I know they were meant to look saddened by the death of Regan, but for some reason Tomblin conveys them as looking somewhat disappointed as if they were secretly hoping that Regan would kill them too. Maybe they were all suffering from PTSD as well? :)

4- Barry Gray's awful scoring for the episode.
----------------------------------------------------
I have complained about Gray's work on UFO before but this time his love for the unique 'Hammond organ' sound is pushed to the very limit in this episode. Particularly around the scenes of the cousin's house, including the seance where the organ is literally 'outhammed' by the acting of said cousin & wife.



AND NOW THE GOOD BITS ABOUT THE EPISODE
--------------------------------------------------------
This episode does have an excellent opening with the all-out alien attack on Moonbase. It's a great sequence with the moonbase tanks trying to shoot down the attacking UFOs (certainly the most exciting sci-fi action sequence on either the TV or cinema screen 'pre-Star Wars') with excellent modelling work by Meddings & co.  There is also great tension in the scene between Straker & Virginia Lake discussing the desperate tactics of the Aliens in their all-out war to destroy moonbase (unfortunately the mood changes once the scene shifts to Regan's cousins house & the whole crazy Seance shtick).
Other episode highlights include:

[1] Alexis Kanner's performance as LT Regan (Kanner both looks & acts like Irishman Richard Harris that you would think he was possessed by him and not the cat). It is a pity that Regan is killed off in this episode as he would have made an interesting series regular.
[2] The actress playing Regan's unfortunate & tragic wife is very beautiful and gave a wonderful & sympathetic performance.

[3] At last Lt Ayshea manages to speak some lines (other than 'yes sir'/ 'no sir'). And she actually has some scenes where she is progressing the storyline. This was a great moment in both the episode & the UFO series as well (we simply need more scenes of the lovely Lt Ayshea of saying & doing things in UFO).



Unfortunately despite these positives, 'Cat with Ten lives' is the 2nd worst episode of UFO that I have seen so far (narrowly beaten by the abominable 'Confetti Check A-OK' episode which I have spoke at the length on another post). I have a feeling that these 2 episodes ('Cat' and 'Confetti') would have definitely turned-off some viewers from watching UFO. And the fact that the 'Cat' Episode which
was among the last to be produced was actually shown as the 4th episode in the original broadcast run meant that UFO risked losing some viewers way too early in the series.

In my opinion I think Gerry & Sylvia Anderson should have passed on using David Tomblin's as a director/ writer for an episode of UFO :(


BTW - like I said before in other posts I have not seen all the UFO episodes (the ones I have seen are: 'IDENTIFIED, COMPUTER AFFAIR, EXPOSED, A QUESTION OF PRIORITES, THE LONG SLEEP, CONFLICT, PSYCHOBOMBS, DESTRUCTION,  THE DALOTEK AFFAIR, ORDEAL, ESP, SURVIVAL, KILL STRAKER,  CLOSE-UP,  THE SQUARE-TRIANGLE,  CAT WITH TEN LIVES, and CONFETTI CHECK A-OK), so please do not post any spoilers for the remaining episodes that I have not seen as yet.
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Clare Cross
You make some interesting points.  However, I wonder how closely you were really watching?  Your comment:  

[10] For some reason Lois Maxwell's character (a Harlington & Straker secretary) is wearing a cast without any explanation in one scene near the end of the episode (and I don't recall her wearing one in any of her earlier scenes).

Miss Holland, for she, unlike the Cat's Mother, does indeed have a name, is scratched by the cat when she tries to stroke it.  We don't see her injury, but let's assume it's a reasonably bad scratch.  When seen later Miss Holland is wearing a bandage and not a 'cast'.  

And you make a couple of references to the cat suddenly being 'about ten miles' down the road.  Where does this ten miles come from?  

[9] The incredible speed of 'Captain Cat'. One minute he is staking out Regan's cousin's house, the next he is about 10 miles down the road waiting for Regan & his wife to drive by. And when Straker unleashes the hounds after 'Captain Cat', the frisky feline seemingly runs 10 miles away from the Harlington-Straker studio before it is caught & killed.


Sorry to nit-pick.  But I notoiced these things straight away.  
TRT
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

TRT
In reply to this post by Shado-cabinet
Hi SHADO-cabinet,
Thanks for your interesting thoughts. I agree with Clare about Miss Ealand. The Cat with Ten Lives isn’t amongst my favourite episodes, but that’s mainly the thought of a pack of dogs being set upon a cat, which I find utterly abhorrent - 10 times worse than alien abduction and surgical removal of spare parts.

The title of the episode isn’t vastly out of line with the others…
The Man Who Came Back, The Responsibility Seat, Reflections in the Water. Confetti Check A-OK, A Question of Priorities, The Square Triangle, The Psychobombs, Computer Affair, The Long Sleep, The Sound of Silence…
The Prisoner starts with “Arrival” and has an episode called “Checkmate”… the rest are all longer, but not out of kilter with the UFO episode title length, and there are only 17 episodes compared to UFO’s 26

The nature of the aliens is a matter of conjecture… it’s never resolved. Take a look at Mindbender next … if you loved Cat, you’re in for a treat! Same story, basically. And it gets even more meta.
As for the totally human alien… couldn’t that be a decoy? Or a case of Trigger’s broom? I mean, the aliens COULD be a meme… IRL there is a type of fungus that rewrites a wasp’s brain and turns it into a zombie with programmed behaviours.

I don’t think it could ever be considered a homage to Captain Scarlett, though. The idea of unseen aliens that influence human affairs is a well loved trope and one that plays to human psyche… Russian hackers, Illuminati, Bilderberg etc.

The Moonbase crew I think, I’ve always read it as them realising how vulnerable they actually are up there, but having to be resigned to living in that way. If Moonbase is destroyed, they have no way of getting home… why abandon the base? OK, they could hike to Dalotek Base I guess…

The Hammond organ makes the series, IMHO.

The cat in the wasteland… the wasteland is near the studios. The dogs run there too. And have you ever driven the roads round Hertfordshire? I can take you to some places where you can drive a good 5 or 10 minutes and someone leaving the same house as you, on foot and at a light jog through the field or the woods, can be at the roadside waiting for you as you pass.

TRT


On 11 Aug 2020, at 05:47, Shado-cabinet [via SHADO] <[hidden email]> wrote:


As I have said before I am re-watching the UFO series (albeit out of the order, with the episodes that I have already seen before being watched first before I move onto those I have not seen etc). I have just watched this episode after the brilliant 'Survival' episode and I am shocked at how both bizzaare & contradictory this episode actually is.

Unfortunately it appears to be the case of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson going all 'fan-boyish' over the fact that they had the prospect of David Tomblin (of 'The Prisoner' fame) to direct an episode that they decided to let him write the script as well. This is a huge mistake as although David Tomblin is genius with regards to his work on the excellent 'The Prisoner' series, he is definitely the wrong person to work on UFO.

I have outlined the main issues I found with the episode below.

1 - THe title of the episode.
-----------------------------
The title 'The Cat with ten lives' is completely wrong for the UFO series (which normally has one-word or abbreviated titles in their episodes like 'ESP',  'Identified' & 'Survival' which emphasize the dramatic effect etc).  The title 'The Cat with Ten lives',however, sounds like one used in a typical 'Prisoner' episode eg: 'A town called Harmony',  'The Girl Who was Death',  'The Computer wore menace shoes' - ( BTW that last one was a Simpsons episode-skit on the 'Prisoner' series) which emphasize the ongoing eccentric 'mind-altering' themes of that particular show which is quite out of step with the UFO series

2 - Massive Continuity errors
-----------------------------
It's clear to see the importance of any ongoing TV serial, where there will be guest scriptwriters both coming & going, to have a strict 'series bible' in order to avoid any continuity errors. Unfortunately UFO does not have one and it shows. It seems that David Tomblin had been given free reign to write the script & did so whilst completely ignoring the premise laid out in the very first episode 'Identified'.
I remember reading a STARBURST interview with the producers of the ultra campy 'Buck Rogers in the 25th century' who explained that when the production of a series nears the end of the 1st season, the producers immediately start re-visiting scripts that they had previously rejected in the hope that they can 'spice them up' so that they can be produced (which, according to the producers, is why the last few episodes of 'Buck Rogers' became particularly cheesy & stupid). This is definitely the case with the 'Cat with Ten Lives' which was produced as the 19th episode, and was unfortunately broadcasted as the 4th episode (which really confuses the continuity flow of the series).

It seems that with the 'Cat with ten Lives' episode Tomblin delivered what looks like a reject script for 'Captain Scarlet', with the 'UFO aliens' being reverted to the 'Mysterons'. This completely contradicts everything about Aliens presented to the viewer in both 'Identified' and the subsequent episodes that follow. In 'Identified' we learn that the Aliens are actually humanoid and come from a 'dying planet' (later confirmed in episodes 'ESP' and 'Close Up'). And that the aliens are taking drugs which halt the aging process but as a side-effect has also left them  sterile with poor muscular development. We also learn that the atmosphere can be poisonous to those aliens bodies who have long defied the aging process (and that prolonged exposure can lead them to die of old age as shown in 'Identified'). Also as shown in the 'Computer Affair' there are those aliens who are much younger (ie: those who have not yet started taking the age-defying drugs, and thus not needed any organ transplants as yet), and therefore are unaffected by the atmosphere but their alien metabolism cannot tolerate certain 'earth-made' drugs (such as the truth serum which kills the young alien in 'The Computer Affair').

However in Tomblin's script the SHADO Medic Dr Jackson gives a bizzaare theory, based purely on conjecture surrounding an autopsy he made on a single alien body (with a damaged cranium no less!) in which he described as "100% human?" (ie: I think what Jackson was meant to say that it was a body that was 'originally from earth' etc). Nevertheless based on this assertion Jackson theorizes that the aliens are actually 'formless beings' (like the Mysterons),who capture human bodies and implant their minds into them (again just like the Mysterons), and have a 'master agent' similar to 'Captain Black' on earth (again just like the Mysterons except their agent is actually a Siamese cat - WTF?).
This ridiculous plot-point really evokes the premise of 'Captain Scarlet' almost to point that I was expecting the silly 'kettle-drum' music cue to kick-in once Jackson stopped talking.

The entire reason behind Gerry & Sylvia Anderson making UFO (their first'live action' show) was to distance it from all previous Anderson puppet shows (including Captain Scarlet), and not to pay homage to 'Captain Scarlet' like Tomblin's crappy script appears to do. Plus this ridiculous 'theory' made by Jackson about the Aliens origins only throws up the following contradictions that confuse anyone following the series from episode 1 onwards:  

Alien contradictions (courtesy of David Tomblin)
[1] - The fact that the alien bodies (along with their UFO ships) wither & die when exposed to earth's atmosphere indicates that they are actually not 'originally from earth'
[2] - The fact that certain Earth-drugs (that are fit for human consumption) actually kills aliens is also an indication of this.
[3] - Why would 'formless' beings give a toss about their home planet actually dying when technically it wouldn't affect them?
[4] - Another theory that Jackson spurts out is that the aliens implant their minds into these 'earth-human' bodies because they don't like travelling through light-speed because they fear 'going senile' (whaaat?). He's making a lot of assumptions based on one autopsy on a damaged alien body!
[5] - If the aliens are 'formless' beings who like to posses 'earth-human' bodies then why are they bothering with capturing other humans and stealing their organs for the purpose of transplantation? That's like a car owner who has an 'old banger' of a Toyota who then proceeds to steal a new Toyota, but instead of driving the new one he just uses it for spare-parts to keep his 'old banger' going! (WTF?)

[6] - Later in the episode when the Aliens capture Lt Regan & his unfortunate wife they do not carry out this 'mind implantation' procedure that Jackson spends so many minutes of screen-time theorizing about. Instead they just 'brainwash' Regan (like they do in other UFO episodes like 'The Long Sleep' and 'Destruction') and make him susceptible to orders from 'Captain Cat'
[7] - If they did perform this so-called 'mind-implantation' operation directly on Regan then they wouldn't have to bother with the cat anyway :)


To avoid all the above plotholes which only serves to confuse the viewers, Jackson should have just theorized from his autopsy that the reason why the UFO pilot was of 'earth origin' is that the Aliens appear to be experimenting with their 'brainwashing' techniques to see if they can mind-control an 'earth abductee' & make them pilot a UFO in order to use them in suicide-runs against the SHADO moonbase.
This makes a lot of sense as we see the aliens making a suicide attack against Moonbase in the beginning of the episode, as well as 'mind-controlling' Regan (through 'Captain Cat') to force him to crash his interceptor into the base near the end. And this also marries up with previous UFO episodes where the Aliens use mind-control on humans to make them act as either spies (such as the female secretary in the 'Destruction' episode), or brainwashing humans to act as assassins (such as Paul Foster in the 'Kill Straker' episode).

Thankfully the UFO novelisations and the excellent UFO comic strip (which appear in the Countdown/ TV Action comic) completely ignore Tomblin's crappy suggestion that the aliens are 'formless entities possessing human bodies', and I sincerely hope that the remaining UFO episodes that were produced after this episode do the same :)  


3 - David Tomblin's really eccentric direction & script-writing
---------------------------------------------------------------
Like I said at the beginning of the post David Tomblin is a good director & scriptwriter for serials like 'The Prisoner' with its 'mind-buggering' eccentric premise on paranoia. However his direction on 'Cat with Ten lives' is far too eccentric for a series that is trying to play a balancing of both a straight action-adventure serial for kids, and a drama for adults. By throwing an eccentric director/ scriptwriter like Tomblin into the mix and you have something that's a bit too difficult for both demographics to even understand let alone enjoy. I simply don't think Tomblin has the right kind of directorial chops for UFO (Unlike director Ken Turner who had done an exceptional job on the excellent episode 'Destruction' or Gerry Anderson himself on the episode 'Identified'). I have listed some of these directorial/ script writing absurdities below :

[1] The eccentric mannerisms of Lt Regan (ie: from the way he kisses his own hand before firing a missile, to the campiness he conveys when putting on his helmet & sliding down the chute etc)    
[2] The fight scene between Foster and Regan in the moonbase training room seems really campy and 'out of the place' (particular the scene where Foster comically adjusts his wig after the fight)
[3] The scene where Regan & Fosters literally engage in a 'cat fight' where Regan is behaving like a cat by trying to scratch Fosters face (this implies that Regan is being 'mind-controlled' by an actual cat, and not an alien entity that is in possession of a cat's body which is another blatant plot-hole in Tomblin's insane script :).
[4] The whole bizaare 'seance' scene with the hammy acting of both Regan's '100 year-old cousin' & his crazy wife (BTW - what was the point of that whole scene? Were the aliens actually 'pushing the glass'? And who left the Ouija board outside the cousin's house? Was it 'Captain Cat'?)
[5] It seems that there is really lax security in the SHADO organisation where pilots who are meant to be on furlough can simply change their minds & jump on space flights to the Moonbase without anyone even questioning it.
[6] It also seem that pilots who are not on duty can still be let into Moonbase unesorted & allowed to walk around the entire facility (including the interceptor bays which apparently are not guarded either).
[7] Apparently a cat can wander into SHADO HQ without anyone noticing it. And once it is noticed (by the lovely Lt Ayshea no less) no-one seems to panic or question about the obvious breach of security that allowed the cat in, in the 1st place.
[8] The fact that Straker would force a Pilot who is clearly suffering from PTSD back into active service is really 'out-of-character' for the uber-cautious SHADO commander.
[9] The incredible speed of 'Captain Cat'. One minute he is staking out Regan's cousin's house, the next he is about 10 miles down the road waiting for Regan & his wife to drive by. And when Straker unleashes the hounds after 'Captain Cat', the frisky feline seemingly runs 10 miles away from the Harlington-Straker studio before it is caught & killed.
[10] For some reason Lois Maxwell's character (a Harlington & Straker secretary) is wearing a cast without any explanation in one scene near the end of the episode (and I don't recall her wearing one in any of her earlier scenes). Plus in the scene in question both the make-up & lighting briefly make her look like a transvestite for some reason (very androgenous, maybe this was intentionally done by Tomblin as part of his 'mind-buggering' visual traits?)
 
[11] The sheer look of 'disappointment' on the 3 moonbase girls when they realise that Regan's suicide run was thwarted at the last minute and he crashes away from the base (I know they were meant to look saddened by the death of Regan, but for some reason Tomblin conveys them as looking somewhat disappointed as if they were secretly hoping that Regan would kill them too. Maybe they were all suffering from PTSD as well? :)

4- Barry Gray's awful scoring for the episode.
-----------------------------------------------
I have complained about Gray's work on UFO before but this time his love for the unique 'Hammond organ' sound is pushed to the very limit in this episode. Particularly around the scenes of the cousin's house, including the seance where the organ is literally 'outhammed' by the acting of said cousin & wife.



AND NOW THE GOOD BITS ABOUT THE EPISODE
---------------------------------------
This episode does have an excellent opening with the all-out alien attack on Moonbase. It's a great sequence with the moonbase tanks trying to shoot down the attacking UFOs (certainly the most exciting sci-fi action sequence on either the TV or cinema screen 'pre-Star Wars') with excellent modelling work by Meddings & co.  There is also great tension in the scene between Straker & Virginia Lake discussing the desperate tactics of the Aliens in their all-out war to destroy moonbase (unfortunately the mood changes once the scene shifts to Regan's cousins house & the whole crazy Seance shtick).
Other episode highlights include:

[1] Alexis Kanner's performance as LT Regan (Kanner both looks & acts like Irishman Richard Harris that you would think he was possessed by him and not the cat). It is a pity that Regan is killed off in this episode as he would have made an interesting series regular.
[2] The actress playing Regan's unfortunate & tragic wife is very beautiful and gave a wonderful & sympathetic performance.

[3] At last Lt Ayshea manages to speak some lines (other than 'yes sir'/ 'no sir'). And she actually has some scenes where she is progressing the storyline. This was a great moment in both the episode & the UFO series as well (we simply need more scenes of the lovely Lt Ayshea of saying & doing things in UFO).



Unfortunately despite these positives, 'Cat with Ten lives' is the 2nd worst episode of UFO that I have seen so far (narrowly beaten by the abominable 'Confetti Check A-OK' episode which I have spoke at the length on another post). I have a feeling that these 2 episodes ('Cat' and 'Confetti') would have definitely turned-off some viewers from watching UFO. And the fact that the 'Cat' Episode which
was among the last to be produced was actually shown as the 4th episode in the original broadcast run meant that UFO risked losing some viewers way too early in the series.

In my opinion I think Gerry & Sylvia Anderson should have passed on using David Tomblin's as a director/ writer for an episode of UFO :(


BTW - like I said before in other posts I have not seen all the UFO episodes (the ones I have seen are: 'IDENTIFIED, COMPUTER AFFAIR, EXPOSED, A QUESTION OF PRIORITES, THE LONG SLEEP, CONFLICT, PSYCHOBOMBS, DESTRUCTION,  THE DALOTEK AFFAIR, ORDEAL, ESP, SURVIVAL, KILL STRAKER,  CLOSE-UP,  THE SQUARE-TRIANGLE,  CAT WITH TEN LIVES, and CONFETTI CHECK A-OK), so please do not post any spoilers for the remaining episodes that I have not seen as yet.


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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
In reply to this post by Clare Cross
Hi Clare

Thanks for your reply.

My apologies, I forgot the character's name was Miss Holland (I only just remembered the scene with the 'bandage' when I was finishing the post). Yes that would make sense that she got scratched by Captain Cat (as he appears to have super-strong paws, hence his amazing speed & dexterity in the episode).

But yes, the bizarre movements of the 'Captain Cat' are noteworthy in the episode. He is literally everywhere in the episode. From stalking outside Regan's cousin's house, to later waiting on the road (some miles away!) for the  Regans car to drive by. He then appears at the SHADO HQ with Regan, only to do a vanishing act later in the episode when he is discovered by Straker as an alien spy. He apparently re-appears some miles away from the Harlington & Straker studio (hence the long scene of the dogs running after him). It's a pity he got killed, maybe Straker could have hired him to do Whiskas commericals etc :)

But yes, 'Cat with Ten Lives' is only trumped by 'Confetti' as the worst episode of UFO I have seen so far (which is no mean feat given how terrible I thought 'Confetti' actually was.
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Clare Cross
In reply to this post by TRT
We used to live in a very sub-urban area.  At the front there was a very new (at the time) housing estate.  At the back it was literally open country; fields, forests, country tracks and lanes, etc.  It was like two different worlds right next to each other.  The point is, within five minutes walking one way I could have been at the shops, at school or on a busy main road.  Five minutes the other way and I would have been in the middle of nothing but unspoiled countryside.  So the suggestions that the house and the studios were somehow 'ten miles' away from country lanes and fields is not really credible.  

I always thought that Cat... was a bit insane, but it never struck me as bad.  I suppose they were all just trying to push UFO in different directions, possibly hoping that these could be explored more fully if a proper second series was commissioned.  Jackson seemed a bit mad, so maybe he was just letting his imagination get the better of him.  Maybe he was wrong on some of his theorising, but right on others.  I guess we'll never know.  
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
In reply to this post by TRT
Hi TRT

Thanks for your reply (but no spoilers please, as I haven't seen some of the UFO episodes you mentioned in your post).

Well the aliens described in 'Identified' as a physical race of humanoids who are faced with extinction thanks to their efforts of trying to reverse the aging process appears to be the 'series bible' for the UFO series, as all the novelizations & comic strips seem to adhere with it which is fine by me. Anything that strays from this basis, like 'formless beings' theory spouted out in Tomblin's 'Cat' script can easily be ignored as an 'incorrect conjecture' (as Dr Jackson makes pains to point out that he was 'conjecturing' based on his autopsy on one damaged UFO pilot).

And yes, as I mentioned in my reply to Clare, that 'Captain Cat' is one frisky feline who gets everywhere
(maybe has has SOL propulsion too). It's a pity he got killed by the dogs, the Whiskas company would have paid a fortune for him to appear in their commercials :)
TRT
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

TRT
I deliberately despoilered my mention of Mindbender. I just suggest you watch it next and compare to Cat.



On 11 Aug 2020, at 15:38, Shado-cabinet [via SHADO] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi TRT

Thanks for your reply (but no spoilers please, as I haven't seen some of the UFO episodes you mentioned in your post).

Well the aliens described in 'Identified' as a physical race of humanoids who are faced with extinction thanks to their efforts of trying to reverse the aging process appears to be the 'series bible' for the UFO series, as all the novelizations & comic strips seem to adhere with it which is fine by me. Anything that strays from this basis, like 'formless beings' theory spouted out in Tomblin's 'Cat' script can easily be ignored as an 'incorrect conjecture' (as Dr Jackson makes pains to point out that he was 'conjecturing' based on his autopsy on one damaged UFO pilot).

And yes, as I mentioned in my reply to Clare, that 'Captain Cat' is one frisky feline who gets everywhere
(maybe has has SOL propulsion too). It's a pity he got killed by the dogs, the Whiskas company would have paid a fortune for him to appear in their commercials :)


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TRT
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

TRT
In reply to this post by Clare Cross
As I said, Clare, I live about 15 minutes drive from Borehamwood. It is a few minutes walk from abandoned gravel quarries, dense town, forests, farmland, golf courses, industrial estates  , motorway, airfield etc etc. Tykes lake, if you fancy a stretch of water…


On 11 Aug 2020, at 15:33, Clare Cross [via SHADO] <[hidden email]> wrote:

We used to live in a very sub-urban area.  At the front there was a very new (at the time) housing estate.  At the back it was literally open country; fields, forests, country tracks and lanes, etc.  It was like two different worlds right next to each other.  The point is, within five minutes walking one way I could have been at the shops, at school or on a busy main road.  Five minutes the other way and I would have been in the middle of nothing but unspoiled countryside.  So the suggestions that the house and the studios were somehow 'ten miles' away from country lanes and fields is not really credible.  

I always thought that Cat... was a bit insane, but it never struck me as bad.  I suppose they were all just trying to push UFO in different directions, possibly hoping that these could be explored more fully if a proper second series was commissioned.  Jackson seemed a bit mad, so maybe he was just letting his imagination get the better of him.  Maybe he was wrong on some of his theorising, but right on others.  I guess we'll never know.  


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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
In reply to this post by Clare Cross
Hi Clare

Well I suppose you are correct about the Cat being a normal feline that was just being manipulated by 'psychic-suggestions' made by the aliens from their homeplanet (a bit like the unfortunate Croxley character in the superior 'ESP' episode), and that the cat wasn't possessed by the 'formless beings' that Jackson spent half the episode 'incorrectly theorizing' about (Tomblin should have really re-watched 'Identified', 'The Computer Affair, & ESP before writing his stupid script for 'Cat With ten Lives'). Still I do hope that, like Croxley, the cat managed to regain its mind from alien control before the dogs got to it
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Clare Cross
It's worth bearing in mind that although Jackson's theory is pretty wild, he may just be right.  We know that the Alien's bodies contain human organ transplants.  But what if the Alien's bodies are not originally their own?  Would we know one alien body from another?  What if the Aliens went out in search of new bodies; found a suitable nearby planet and went about their business.  Eventually the supply was exhausted and so they had to look elsewhere... Earth.  So, in turn, they came to Earth to get organs to keep these host bodies alive.  They may have been doing this for thousands of years, artificially prolonging the lifespan of their doomed race.  They may by now have lost all trace of what they originally were.  

I'm not saying for one moment that this is the solution to the 'problem' that lies inherent within the Cat script... but it might be!  If the Alien planet is divided up, as is ours, into different countries, maybe these different countries have different techniques and preferred ways of doing things.  Some nations may be far more advanced than others.  

This is the great thing about UFO... it gives us more questions than answers and we never really come close to knowing the truth.  Who knows what UFO 2 might have revealed...  
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
Hi Clare

Well the big flaw in Jackson's theory re the aliens being 'Formless entities possessing human bodies' is expressed in my 'Old Toyota' example in my original post (ie: A guy with an old Toyota would just steal a new one to drive, and not use it for spare parts  for his crappy Toyota).  So the whole notion about Aliens stealing human organs is to sustain their bodies (which is their 'actual bodies' ie: they are not 'formless beings' as theorized by Dr Jackson in the episode).

But you are correct that there may be 2 alien nations visiting earth in UFOs with different plans and needs for the Earth. The booklet that came with the Carlton DVD boxset does mention the original concepts written by Andersons & Reg Hills (some of which did not make it into the series), and that the so-called 'UFO Men' were to consist of 2 separate alien cultures who were at war with each other, and that they were using earth as a sort of battleground. If this concept is still canon in the series then the 2 warring alien cultures must have the same equipment and uniforms (ie: UFOs, and red spacesuits). That would explain why the Aliens sometimes just want to abduct humans for organ transplantation, whilst at the other times they seem to just want to destroy the earth (as in 'Destruction' and the 'Long Sleep'). If this early UFO concept still stands then it could be explained that there are obviously 2 alien cultures visiting the earth in their UFOs. One culture just wants to sustain itself with human organs, whereas the other culture just wants to stop their alien rival from doing that (even if that means blowing up the earth in the process).

TRT
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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

TRT
Hi,
Not necessarily…
As I postulated earlier… there’s a fungus that rewrites the connections in a wasp brain. It doesn’t rewrite the brains of bees, humans, cats, dogs, bats, pangolins etc.
The “alien” may be a similar entity. It’s biologically unable to function in a totally human body. It may have a very long time between “seeding”, but when it does it produces billions of spores, enough to take over a planet.
There may be the odd human that IS able to be modified by the alien spore. They may be the odd alien that mutated to be able to infect humans. The alien life form may be able to rewire the brains enough to create a resonant structure with another brain and thus control it with ESP. They might secrete a toxin which is hallucinogenic.




On 11 Aug 2020, at 17:22, Shado-cabinet [via SHADO] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi Clare

Well the big flaw in Jackson's theory re the aliens being 'Formless entities possessing human bodies' is expressed in my 'Old Toyota' example in my original post (ie: A guy with an old Toyota would just steal a new one to drive, and not use it for spare parts  for his crappy Toyota).  So the whole notion about Aliens stealing human organs is to sustain their bodies (which is their 'actual bodies' ie: they are not 'formless beings' as theorized by Dr Jackson in the episode).

But you are correct that there may be 2 alien nations visiting earth in UFOs with different plans and needs for the Earth. The booklet that came with the Carlton DVD boxset does mention the original concepts written by Andersons & Reg Hills (some of which did not make it into the series), and that the so-called 'UFO Men' were to consist of 2 separate alien cultures who were at war with each other, and that they were using earth as a sort of battleground. If this concept is still canon in the series then the 2 warring alien cultures must have the same equipment and uniforms (ie: UFOs, and red spacesuits). That would explain why the Aliens sometimes just want to abduct humans for organ transplantation, whilst at the other times they seem to just want to destroy the earth (as in 'Destruction' and the 'Long Sleep'). If this early UFO concept still stands then it could be explained that there are obviously 2 alien cultures visiting the earth in their UFOs. One culture just wants to sustain itself with human organs, whereas the other culture just wants to stop their alien rival from doing that (even if that means blowing up the earth in the process).




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Re: The 'Cat with ten lives' episode really tries to overtake 'Confetti' as the worst UFO episode so far.

Shado-cabinet
Hi TRT

Thanks for your post

It sounds like you should write a story about these alien beings (that are based on this fungus). It sounds like an interesting & original concept.