Gabrielle Drake (born 30 March 1944) is the British actress who is memorable to all science fiction fans as Lt. Gay Ellis from the classic Gerry Anderson television series UFO. That part of her career is what we are going to focus on here, though she later took parts in soap operas Crossroads and Coronation Street and has had a long and honored career on the British stage. While the part appeared to be a bit of a lark for her - she left production midway through to film something else - it has become by far her signature role. This page is a tribute to her in that iconic role.
Gabrielle's brother, incidentally, was the '60s offbeat musician Nick Drake who unfortunately died at a young age. He went through the whole tortured-artist thing and it ended badly. Gabrielle has consistently helped to promote his work since his death from a drug overdose in 1974. She even wrote a coffee-table book, "Nick Drake: Remembered for a While." She is very forthright about the entire episode:
"It’s trite to say nobody understood Nick. We did understand him and it still happened."
Gabrielle, though perhaps one of the most British of British actresses, actually was born in Lahore, Pakistan. Her father worked in an import/export company or as an engineer and she spent her first 8 years travelling around Burma, India, and the Orient. The family returned to England when Gabrielle was eight years old, after which they moved back near Stratford-upon-Avon. She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School for Girls in High Wycombe. After leaving school, she spent some time in Paris as an au pair girl looking after a family with four children. She then trained for several years at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts, then she joined a group of other recently graduated students to form the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.
|The Blu-ray of the UFO series prominently features Gabrielle|
Gabrielle is basically the "face" of the UFO series. People may not remember her name or even what she starred in, but they generally at least have a fuzzy recollection of the science fiction girl with the purple hair. That's Gabrielle as Lt. Ellis. She has gone on to star in many other movies, television series and classy stage productions, but many always will fondly remember her as Lt. Gay Ellis.