Thunderbirds (1965-1966)

UK, 30 September -25 December 1966
2 series, 32 episodes, average 50m
35mm film, “filmed in Videcolor and Supermarionation”, 4:3
mono, English

A British science fiction television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

Premise

From their secret base hidden beneath a remote island, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons comprise International Rescue, a band of adventurers who use state-of-the-art to stage daring and hazardous rescues. They are aided by scientist Brains and the aristocratic Lady Penelope and her faithful butler Parker.

Credits

Crew
© MCMLXIV [1964] A.P. Films Ltd.
An APF television production in association with ATV. An ITC world wide distribution
Produced by: Gerry Anderson
Director of Photography: John Read
Supervising Editor: Len Walter
Music by: Barry Gray
Supervising Special Effects Director: Derek Meddings
Character Visualisation: Sylvia Anderson
Art Director: Bob Bell

Cast
Sylvia Anderson (Lady Penelope)
Ray Barrett (Alan Tracy/John Tracy)
Peter Dyneley (Jeff Tracy)
Christine Finn (Tin-Tin Kyrano)
David Graham (Brains/Parker/Gordon Tracy/Kyrano)
David Holliday (Virgil Tracy)
Shane Rimmer (Scott Tracy)
Matt Zimmerman

Episodes

Series One

Trapped in the Sky (30 September 1965)
Written by: Gerry & Sylvia Anderson
Directed by: Alan Pattillo
International Rescue are called out on their first mission when the villainous Hood plants a bomb in the new experimental airliner Fireflash. The Hood is out to learn the secrets of International Rescue but the Tracy brothers have other things on their mind as they race to save the lives of the Fireflash passengers and crew.

Pit of Peril (7 October 1965)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
A 500-ton US Army walker, the Sidewinder, falls into a pit and International Rescue try to rescue the crew trapped inside.

The Perils of Penelope (14 October 1965)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Alan Pattillo and Desmond Saunders
Lady Penelope pursues a kidnapped scientist but finds herself at the mercy of a megalomaniac.

Terror in New York City (21 October 1965)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Elliott, David Lane
Thunderbird 2 is damaged when it is accidentally attacked by a US Navy ship. When an operation to move the Empire State Building ends in disaster the same ship has to transport Thunderbird 4 into position to mount rescue a reporter and his cameraman who are trapped beneath the wreckage.

Edge of Impact (28 October 1965)
Written by: Donald Robertson
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
The Hood sabotages the Red Arrow aircraft programme, causing one of the aircraft to crash into the TV Tower. International Rescue are called in to rescue the engineers before the tower collapses.

Day of Disaster (4 November 1965)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: David Elliott
A space rocket is stranded on a riverbed after the bridge it is being transported over collapses. With its automatic countdown started, International Rescue race against time to retrieve the crew before the rocket launches.

30 Minutes after Noon (11 November 1965)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Elliott
A secret agent attempts to infiltrate a criminal gang but is trapped inside a plutonium store that is about to explode.

Desperate Intruder (18 November 1965)
Written by: Donald Robertson
Directed by: David Lane
Brains and Tin-Tin set off race against The Hood to retrieve sunken treasure from Lake Anasta.

End of the Road (25 November 1965)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: David Lane
International Rescue's security is is danger when Tin-Tin's friend Eddie Houseman uses his contacts to save his ailing road-construction company.

The Uninvited (2 December 1965)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
Thunderbird 1 is attacked by a mysterious fighter aircraft and crashes in the Sahara Desert. Scott is rescued by two archaeologists who then find themselves trapped in lost Pyramid of Khamandides.

Sun Probe (9 December 1965)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Lane
Thunderbird 1 is attacked by a mysterious fighter aircraft and crashes in the Sahara Desert. Scott is rescued by two archaeologists who then find themselves trapped in lost Pyramid of Khamandides.
The episode was remade as the 2086 episode Sunburn.

Operation Crash-Dive (16 December 1965)
Written by: Martin Crump
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
Fireflash airliners are disappearing in mid-air and Thunderbird 4 is called in to rescue a crew stranded on the ocean floor.

Vault of Death (23 December 1965)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: David Elliott
A bank employee is trapped inside a new, airtight security vault at the Bank of England and International Rescue must rescue him before the air is extracted.

The Mighty Atom (30 December 1965)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: David Lane
The Hood lures International Rescue to an emergency at an atomic irrigation plant in the Sahara and tries to photograph the Thunderbirds with a miniature camera disguised as a mouse.

City of Fire (6 January 1966)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Elliott
An explosion in a car park causes a fire in the world's tallest tower and International Rescue are called in to rescue a family trapped in the basement.

The Impostors (13 January 1966)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
A gang of criminals pass themselves off as International Rescue as a cover for the theft of top-secret military plans.

The Man from MI.5 (20 January 1966)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Lane
A criminal gang steals secret plans and Lady Penelope teams up with a British Secret Service agent to get them back.

Cry Wolf (27 January 1966)
Written by: Dennis Spooner
Directed by: David Elliott
Two Australian boys are playing at being International Rescue when their play “distress” call is picked up by John on Thunderbird 5. After being given a tour of Tracy Island and a ticking off from Jeff, the boys are tricked by The Hood into entering an old mine shaft before stealing secret photographs from their government agent father. They again broadcast an emergency signal but International Rescue refuses to believe them…

Danger at Ocean Deep (3 February 1966)
Written by: Donald Robertson
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
The Ocean Pioneer tanker explodes and Brains and Lady Penelope investigate. They discover a chemical reaction between the cargo of liquid Alsterene and OD60, which is found in the sea and International Rescue race to save the crew of The Ocean Pioneer II.

Move – and You're Dead (10 February 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Alan Pattillo
Alan returns to motor racing but his rivals rig a bridge with a motion-sensitive bomb which will explode as Alan and Grandma Tracy cross it.

The Duchess Assignment (17 February 1966)
Written by: Martin Crump
Directed by: David Elliott
The impoverished Duchess of Royston is kidnapped by criminals who are trying to get her one asset, the painting Portrait of a Gazelle, by Brigasso.

Brink of Disaster (24 February 1966)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Lane
Jeff, Brains and Tin-Tin are trapped on a monorail as it speeds towards a damaged bridge.

Attack of the Alligators! (10 March 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: David Lane
A growth hormone accidentally released into a South American river causes alligators to grow to huge proportions and besiege a remote house from which International Rescue must rescue a trapped family.

Martian Invasion (17 March 1966)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: David Elliott
The Hood causes an explosion on a film set and two actors are trapped in a cave. When International Rescue arrive, The Hood again tries to film them.

The Cham-Cham (24 March 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Alan Pattillo
Aircraft are shot down during the live broadcast of a hit pop song Tin-Tin and Lady Penelope investigate, but end up trapped on an out-of-control ski lift.

Security Hazard (31 March 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
The Tracy family reminisce about their many successful missions after a young boy infiltrates the island.

Series Two

Atlantic Inferno (2 October 1966)
Written by: Alan Fennell
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
The World Navy is testing a new nuclear torpedo but accidentally endanger offshore drilling rig Seascape.

Path of Destruction (9 October 1966)
Written by: Donald Robertson
Directed by: David Elliott
The Crablogger, a huge logging machine that converts wood into fuel, is out of control and heading straight for an unfinished dam.

Alias Mr Hackenbacker (16 October 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
Brains' new aircraft, the Skythrust, falls into the hands of fashion criminals who hi-jack the plane to steal a new French design from renowned designer François Lemaire.

Lord Parker's ‘oliday (23 October 1966)
Written by: Tony Barwick
Directed by: Brian Burgess
A malfunctioning solar reflector threatens Italian coastal village Monte Bianco where Lady Penelope and Parker are on holiday.

Ricochet (6 November 1966)
Written by: Tony Barwick
Directed by: Brian Burgess
A pirate radio station aboard a satellite is endangered by the detonation of a rogue unmanned space rocket and is set on collision course with a Middle Eastern oil refinery.

Give or Take a Million (25 December 1966)
Written by: Alan Pattillo
Directed by: Desmond Saunders
As Christmas approaches, preparations are underway at both Tracy Island and a local children's hospital which is expanding to incorporate a new radiotherapy wing. Elsewhere a pair of criminals try to break into a high-tech vault storing gold bullion.

Alternative Titles

Les aventures de Lady Pénélope – France
International Rescue – working title
Myrskylinnut – Finland
Les sentinelles de l'air – France
Tairnearan Tar As – Ireland (Gaelic)
Turbocharged Thunderbirds
– USA (1994 syndication)

Sequels
Thunderbirds Are Go (1966)
Thunderbird Six (1968)

Remake
Thunderbirds (2004)
Thunderbirds Are Go (2015)

See also
Thunderbirds 2086 (1983)

Extracts included in
The 1960's: Music, Memories and Milestones (1988)
Digging to China (1998)
I Love Christmas (2001)
Stepfather II (1989)
TV Hell (1992)
Zippy and George's Puppet Legends (2005)

References

Periodicals

  • Animato no.40 (Winter/Spring 1999) pp.44-51 – illustrated article (The worlds of Gerry Anderson by Richard Holliss)
  • Broadcast 24 September 1999 p.2 – note (Programming: BBC Broadcast acquires remastered Thunderbirds)
  • Broadcast 23 February 2001 pp.2; 5 – illustrated note (Thunderbirds summer run by Jon Rogers); illustrated note (Scarlet returns by Penny Hughes)
  • Cinefantastique vol.35 no.3 (June/July 2003) p.11 – illustrated soundtrack review (Thunderbirds music is go!)
  • Cinefantastique vol.36 no.4 (August/September 2004) pp.48-49 – illustrated interview with Gerry Anderson (Master of by Dan Scapperotti)
  • Cult TV vol.2 no.1 (January 1998) pp.37-40 – illustrated article (The Cult TV top 20 kid's shows of all time!)
  • Cult TV vol.2 no.2 (February 1998) pp.32-36 – illustrated article (A-Z of Tracy Island by Martin Stephenson)
  • Cult TV June 1998 pp.19-28; 58-63 – illustrated article (The 50 greatest TV moments of all time by Rob Fraser, Steve Jarratt, John Kent, Paul Kirkley et al); illustrated article (Auto-erotica by John Kent)
  • Film Score Monthly vol.8 no.5 (June 2003) p.43 – illustrated soundtrack review (Score: Toys from the attic by Steve Johnson)
  • Génération Séries no.32 (April / June 2000) pp.50-55 (France) – illustrated article (Thunderbirds: SF et realisme? by Baptiste Marcel)
  • Music from the Movies no.37 (2003) p.30 – illustrated soundtrack review (Archival by Andrew Keech)
  • Playback Special Collectors Edition (1995) p.61 – illustrated article
  • Radio Times vol.306 no.3993 (2 September 2000) pp.16-17 – illustrated article (New shows are go by Brian Viner)
  • Radio Times vol.306 no.3994 (9 September 2000) p.48 – illustrated article (Great Scott, it's good to be back by Alison Graham)
  • Screen International no.988 (16 December 1994) p.6 – note (Anderson thunders about re-edit by Mike Goodridge)
  • Sight and Sound vol.11 no.2 (February 2001) p.60 – illustrated DVD review (Puppet love by Kim Newman)
  • Starburst no.102 (February 1987) pp.37-39 – illustrated interview with Gerry Anderson (Gerry Anderson by Stephen Payne)
  • Starburst no.267 (November 2000) p. 90 – illustrated DVD review of Volumes 1 and 2
  • Starburst no.307 (February 2004) – illustrated article (Top 50 sci-fi movies, books and TV series ever!)
  • Starburst no.310 (May 2004) p.76 – illustrated article
  • Starburst no.311 (June 2004) p.78 – illustrated article
  • Starburst Special no.47 (April 2001) pp.62-67 – illustrated interview with Sylvia Anderson (Unstrung heroine by Carrie Morgan)
  • Starburst Special no.62: Lord of the Rings pp.6-14, 16 – illustrated article
  • Starlog no.307 (February 2003) pp.82-89 – Illustrated interview with Gerry Anderson (Puppetual motion! by Tom Weaver)
  • Television Mail 1966 Supplement (UK) pp.whole issue – article (5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Thunderbirds are go!)
  • Television Today no.5763 (26 September 1991) p.19 – review (by Keith Pottage)
  • TV Zone no.120 (November 1999) pp.64-67 – credits, illustrated article

Books

  • Supermarionation Classics by Dave Rogers, John Marriot, Chris Drake, Graeme Bassett pp.98-191 – illustrated credits, article, episode guide