Five things you never knew about Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds Classic 50th Anniversary DVD is to be launched.
The Thunderbirds Classic 50th Anniversary DVD is to be launched.
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THUNDERBIRDS co-creator Sylvia Anderson has said it is “strange” to hear her character Lady Penelope voiced by Rosamund Pike in the ITV reboot.

The 88-year-old producer and writer portrayed Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward in the Supermarionation puppet series from its debut in 1965 until 1968.

Thunderbirds was the brainchild of then husband and wife team, Gerry and Sylvia. At its heart, it revolved around the adventures of the Tracy family who jetted around the world in a variety of amazing vehicles performing daredevil rescues.

In total defiance of its relatively short run, the show has been part of British popular culture for half a century.

Earlier this year in April 2015, a new version called Thunderbirds Are Go launched on ITV with Oscar nominee Pike and David Graham reprising his original part as Lady Penelope’s driver, Parker.

Here are five things you (probably) didn’t know about Thunderbirds...

Gerry Anderson and his wife Sylvia at the Dorchester Hotel, London, in 1966.

Gerry Anderson and his wife Sylvia at the Dorchester Hotel, London, in 1966.

• Fenella Fielding was Gerry Anderson’s first choice for the voice of Lady Penelope. In the end, the role went to his then wife, Sylvia.

• Thunderbirds and Gerry Anderson’s other puppet series were credited to AP Films. The initials stood for the surnames of Anderson and his former partner, cameraman Arthur Provis, who had collaborated with him on several earlier series.

• Thunderbirds was preceded by similar science fiction adventures Stingray and Fireball XL5, and by Anderson’s cowboy puppet series Four Feather Falls.

• Thunderbirds was shot on cinema-quality 35mm colour film, four years before ITV transferred from black-and-white. The far-sighted investment guaranteed the show an after-life in repeats for decades to come.

The Thunderbirds Classic 50th Anniversary DVD is to be launched.

The Thunderbirds Classic 50th Anniversary DVD is to be launched.

• Gerry Anderson said the character of Thunderbird 5 captain John Tracy was exiled permanently to outer space because the puppet was “too ugly”.

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