Welcome to this special update. June 11th 2012 would have been George Victor Bishop’s 80th birthday, and the Herald is commemorating this special occasion with a selection of photographs of Ed Bishop in some of his various roles throughout his long career.
After receiving this truly extraordinary comment and eulogy to Ed from our reader Griff Wason, it was decided to append it to this article to display, properly formatted and to its fullest:
S’truth, I can’t believe that Ed would have been eighty today. I met Ed many times and in many places. He always remembered my name, and sometimes we resumed subjects from conversations we had shared months back. He must have had a prodigious memory, and I understand his memory recall for ‘lines’ was practically photographic. To me, he was a thoroughly decent, jovial, considered, self-deprecating and intelligent man. Ed also had an integrity of character which was just as evident in person as it was on screen. When talking, he had the uncanny knack of making it appear that you were the only one in the room he was interested in speaking too – even if it may not have been the case.
Eighty years young: it is perhaps the paradox of TV and Cinema that any actors involved stay in an ageless, groundhog day time-bubble that perhaps on viewing, encourages, taunts, or even haunts them – seeing themselves as they once were. Hearing their words identically repeated – faults and all. Timelessly repeated moments of triumph, emotion, failure and resolution never changing over the decades. But, perhaps in the case of UFO, the technology of restoration bought back (to fans such as ourselves) out of the 35mm negative gloom a gleaming version that was probably never witnessed even in the original cutting room. For me, UFO is as fresh, stimulating, ascetic, stylish, sinister, thought provoking and captivating as it was when I first saw it as a child. For me, Ed Bishop and his fellow actors carried out the performances of their lives, and they will always live on in UFO.
One of my favorite Ed Bishop stories is as follows:
Not long after UFO had been completed and aired, Ed had trouble finding acting work. So he returned to the USA to find work, leaving his family – and nearly all of his money – in the UK. As Ed put it in his inimitable way, “His family had this dreadful habit of needing to eat three times a day.” Ed went and stayed with a friend in Central Park West, New York. He had just two problems: no money and no work.
UFO was newly out and he was being ‘wined and dined’ by CBS and ITC, whose press folk persisted in asking what his plans were and what new projects he was involved in… there were none. Ed had to ‘tough out’ those questions as best he could.
Well, Ed was a very good DIY’er (especially hanging wallpaper), and to keep himself going he registered with an agency to find employment for that kind of work. After all, he had no money, and no prospects so this was his best next option.
One Saturday, he had a job wallpapering a kitchen at an apartment in the Bronx for $75. There he was busy in the kitchen working away with the wallpapering, when at seven pm, the whole family excused themselves and retired to the TV room to watch UFO!
A particularly dark and disillusioned time in Ed’s career, but one that he referred back to more than once. I have to admit that when I have had a particularly tough time of things, I often recount this Ed’s anecdote, and it never fails to perk me up! Thanks, Ed! 🙂
Ed, wherever you are, you are sorely missed by many, many people. To me, your portrayal of Ed Straker in UFO was your best ever work, and you will certainly live on in that role forever.