30 Sep: Thunderbirds Are Go!

The first ever episode of Thunderbirds, the revolutionary British TV show starring puppets, aired on September 30th, 1965. It was instantly a hit in Britain, and elsewhere in the world, but its failure to captivate a US audience led to its untimely demise after just two seasons.

The show used a system, coined by its creators as “Supermarionation” which involved pre-recording the voices, which would then be played back during filming. Each marionette’s head contained filters which converted the dialogue into pulses, which in turn travelled to solenoids in the puppet’s lips.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss why each marionette needed three heads; look at how the Mercury Seven – the first batch of Nadi astronauts – were honoured by the show; and reveal which of the three of us still has Thunderbirds merch from when they were a kid.

Further Reading:

• ‘30 September 1965: Thunderbirds Are Go!’ (Money Week, 2020): https://moneyweek.com/409685/30-september-1965-thunderbirds-are-go 

• ‘Thunderbirds (Series One)’ (Fanderson, 2022): https://fanderson.org.uk/productions/thunderbirds-series-one/ 

• Thunderbirds – Trapped in the sky (Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, 1965) https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x28x1gu 

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022. 

• ‘Trapped in the Sky (Suite) | Soundtrack’ (Barry Gray, 1965):