THE CHILDREN'S FILM FOUNDATION: purveyors of risk-free adventure, flairs and dodgy actors and providers of convenient BBC schedule-fillers.
This 1977 (STAR WARS didn't reach the UK until late December 1977), although its likely that the CFF knew Lucas' UK-lensed epic was on its way, and doing good business stateside) SF "blockbuster" was directed by Harley Cokeliss (also responsible for the CFF classic THE BATTLE OF BILLY'S POND as well as, apparently, THE MAKING OF THE MUPPET SHOW and episodes of adventure shows like HERCULES, XENA, ROBIN HOOD and CI5: THE NEW PROFESSIONALS).
Here, in it's glorious entirety, is THE GLITTERBALL (1977), a pre-E.T. no-budget UK alien visitor romp, without the BMX bikes.
There was also a book version, above, by writer Howard Thompson, published by Magnet in 1979. Slow Robot remembers being forced to read it as part of a summer holiday library reading scheme. Slow Robot never finished it.
The BBC, presumably short of dosh, cheekily reran creaky old CFF flicks in an afternoon slot from 1985-89. A quick way of filling a whole afternoon. Slow Robot can't recall if The Glitterball aired in this slot.
The CFF was established in 1951 and ceased production in the eighties. Amongst the last to be shot was DOOMBEACH (1989), with Glen Jackson, produced by the Children's Film Unit (successor to the Foundation), shot in Dorset and aired on Channel Four.