"Filmed in VIDECOLOR [explosions, drum roll, music builds to a climax] and SUPERMARIONATION"! The opening sequence of Thunderbirds
is itself a masterclass in Gerry Anderson's marionette hyperbole: who else would dare to make a virtue out of the fact that (a) the show is in colour and (b) it's got puppets in it? But everything about this series really is epic: Thunderbirds
is action on the grandest scale, pre-dating such high-concept Hollywood vehicles as Armaggedon
by 30 years and more (the acting is better, too), and fetishising gadgets in a way that even the most excessive Bond movies could never hope to rival. Unsurprisingly, it transpires that the visual effects are by Derek Meddings, whose later contributions to Bond movies like The Spy Who Loved Me
echo his pioneering model work here.
As to the characters, the clean-cut Tracey boys take second place in the audiences' affections to their cool machines--the real stars of the show--while comic relief is to be found in the charming company of Lady Penelope and her pink Rolls (number plate FAB1), driven by lugubrious chauffeur Parker, whose "Yes, milady" catch phrase resonated around school playgrounds for decades. (Spare a thought for poor old John Tracey, stuck up in space on Thunderbird 5 with only the radio for company.) The puppet stunt-work is breathtakingly audacious, and every week's death-defying escapade is nail-bitingly choreographed in the very best tradition of disaster movies. First shown in 1964 and now digitally remastered, Thunderbirds is children's TV that still looks and sounds like big-budget Hollywood.
On this DVD: The four episodes are: "The Cham Cham", "Security Hazard", "Atlantic Inferno" and "Path of Destruction".
Four more episodes of Gerry Anderson's cult Supermarionation series. In 'The Cham Cham', Lady Penelope and Tin-Tin go undercover in the music business when a series of American rocket crashes coincide with performances by pop group the Cass Carnaby Five. 'Security Hazard' sees Jeff become apopleptic when a young boy stows away aboard Thunderbird 2 and observes International Rescue in action. In 'Atlantic Inferno', Scott is left in charge when Jeff goes on holiday, and has to decide what to do when a nearby oil rig catches fire. 'Path of Destruction' sees the team racing to halt the carnage being created by an out-of-control, atomic-powered tree-logger.