Marvelous Moonbase Maiden Gabrielle Drake
Gabrielle Drake (born 30 March 1944) has had a long and successful career. For many of her fans, though, she could have stopped acting completely in 1970 and still be a legend. Let's look a little deeper into the life and career of the delightful Gabrielle Drake.
|The moonbase maidens only wore their purple wigs and silver mesh outfits on the moon for some reason, and there were several episodes when Gabrielle's character Lt. Gay Ellis made it back to earth.|
Gabrielle is about as English as they come, but she wasn't actually born in England. Her family was in Lahore, British India at the time of her arrival on earth, so that's where Gabrielle technically is from.
|This is how Gabrielle's character is most fondly remembered by generations of science fiction fans.|
Gabrielle's mother, Molly Drake, was an amateur songwriter, and a few recordings that she made before her passing have come to light. Some of Molly's talent passed on to her children, especially son Nick, whose musical style was remarkably similar to his mother's.
When the family returned to England in 1952, Gabrielle got her first taste of acting on the ship back home performing in plays.
The family lived near Birmingham. Gabrielle eventually went on to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, quite a prestigious appointment.
|The Lt. Gay Ellis action figure.|
Gabrielle's brother, Nick Drake, became a famous singer/songwriter in the late '60s. His career was a bit of a family affair, with Gabrielle singing backup while Nick performed some songs written by their mum. Nick's success was sketchy during his lifetime, but his folk singing has become a bit of a cult favorite over the years.
Since Nick passed away from unfortunate circumstances in November 1974, Gabrielle has worked hard to keep his memory alive. She worked up a documentary, "A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake," and published her memoir, "Nick Drake: Remembered for a While," published in 2004. Gabrielle has released some very personal thoughts about the matter which have not gotten wide dissemination, but show the depth of her feelings.
Gabrielle became a celebrity before Nick. Her first filmed appearance was on a television series, "Best of Friends," in 1963.
A number of other television series appearances followed. They included "The Avengers," "The Saint," "Intrigue" and "Haunted."
In 1970, Gabrielle got her first recurring television role, as Lt. Gay Ellis on "UFO."
The show only lasted for one season, but it made a lasting impression. There is absolutely no question that it is a classic of science fiction, and virtually every science fiction fan is familiar with the "purple-haired moon girls" - though very few know what the purple was actually all about (apparently, Gerry Anderson's wife Sylvia, the fashion expert in the outfit, simply thought that wigs would be popular in the future - and why not make them purple while we're at it!).
During the year's filming, Gabrielle got an offer to appear in a major motion picture, "Connecting Rooms," with Bette Davis. It was an offer that Gabrielle could not pass up. Thus, she disappeared from "UFO" midway through, only to re-appear towards the end. A change in filming locations midway through the show's run also played a major factor in her disappearance, which was accompanied by that of several others in the cast.
After UFO's cancellation, Gabrielle continued to appear in television series such as "Kate" and "Misleading Cases."
|Gabrielle always had outstanding posture on U.F.O.|
Gabrielle also made more film appearances, some of which are classics of their genre.
These included "There's a Girl in My Soup," "Suburban Wives" and, best of all, "Au Pair Girls." There was a peculiar flavor of sex comedy popular in Britain in the early 1970s, and Gabrielle excelled at it.
Gabrielle's next recurring role was as Jill Hammond/Jill Williams on "The Brothers" from 1972-1974 until she decided to pursue other opportunities (probably a poor choice, the show ran for several more seasons). Many people who are not UFO fans remember her from this series, though the show did not make it across the Atlantic. Like many other things associated with the Drake family, it has achieved cult status.
After that, Gabrielle mostly concentrated on television work. She had another recurring role on "Kelly Monteith" in 1979.
Like so many top British actors, Gabrielle eventually found her way onto long-running series "Crossroads." She played Nicola Freeman in the mid-80s.
Gabrielle also developed a long relationship with "Coronation Street." She first appeared in 1967 as Inga Olsen. She came back over four decades later, in 2009, to play Vanessa. Incidentally, the show, which began in 1960, remains on the air as I write this and may outlive us all.
Most recently, Gabrielle's television work included appearances on "The Royal" and "Doctors."
Gabrielle has also had a long career in the theater. In fact, her theatrical work probably outshines her filmed oeuvre.
Gabrielle made her stage debut in 1964 at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, playing Cecily in "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Decades later, after a lifetime of parts in other productions, Gabrielle had her own one-woman show, "Dear Scheherazade." She also read poetry in the recital, "Beloved Clara," in 2011.
Gabrielle has been married to Louis de Wet for many decades and lives in the restored Wenlock Abbey in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
|The SHADO early warning system.|