My favourite television programme way back in the 1960s was Thunderbirds, the Gerry Anderson puppet series. At primary school a group of us became characters from the show (we didn’t think of them as puppets). I wanted to be Scott Tracy (whose puppet was apparently based on Sean Connery) but had to be Virgil, as Scott had already been taken! Two of the girls in our class of 10 year olds were cast as Lady Penelope and Tin Tin, but I don’t think they were really interested . . . they just had the correct hair colouring!
I regularly bought the TV 21 comic which accompanied the series, and even had the annuals for Christmas. I gorged myself on sweet cigarettes so that I could collect all the Thunderbirds cigarette cards (which I still have in the loft), even buying a 100 pack of the pretend smokes because it had more cards inside. I’m lucky to still have my teeth.
But despite this massive interest, I really can’t recall the robot that was in the series of programmes. Because Thunderbirds was set in the future, with a space station and rockets launched from under swimming pools, I guess I just accepted the robot as part of the scenery. You can find out more about the Thunderbirds robot here.
The two postcards on this page show the Robot Guard from episode 7, 30 Minutes After Noon, and Braman the Robot from episode 11, Sun Probe. Braman is obviously very intelligent because he is able to challenge the character Brains (based on the real life Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame . . . yes, really) to a game of Chess.
Now I know that it’s a children’s programme, but I have to admit to being rather excited that Thunderbirds is making a come back this Easter on ITV. The puppet strings have gone and the effects have got much more professional. Have a look at the trailer below, I’m sure it will be a massive hit.