UFO Zone

 

 

Looking back the strong point of Granada Studio Tours was the good shows they put on. Their attempt at a roller coaster in the form of Gladiators Skytrack wasn't successful, and their attempt at a traditional dark ride failed to impress. It didn't start out too badly. In the queue there were monitors setting up the story with a fake news report, featuring real life news anchor Trevor McDonald, about how an alien spaceship has crashed into the studios, and how the first civilians will soon get a tour. You got to the station, and got into one of the rides cars, that ran under an overhead rail.
From there you entered the spaceship. What was that like? Do you remember the TV show The Crystal Maze? If not you should definitely look it up on you tube, as it was a fantastic show. Well the spaceship on this ride looked like a scruffy version of that shows future zone. To be fair they tried to create an atmosphere with darkened lighting, but it wasn't enough to stop things having a cheap and rubbish feel.
The story, although predictable wasn't done to badly. It starts of with a tour of the ship, but there were a few clever hints that something is wrong, such as an empty pod in the hatching chamber, and leads to a panicky evacuation from the ship due to imminent danger, with it ending with an alien attacking you, achieved with a holographic effect. The trouble with the story was much of it was told through commentary played to you in the car, that consisted of bad, clichéd b-movie style acting.
It's a shame really as this was an ambitious idea, that could have been good if it had been pulled off. Sadly with the budget they had they either had to tone down their ambition (perhaps with fewer spaceship scenes, with parts of it in a temporary military base/laboratory that could have been done better on a budget) or to have sent things up to embrace the cheesy b-movie feel. In the end the ride closed to the public with the rest of the park in 1998. As far as I know no parts of the ride were ever re-used at any other location.