Gerry Anderson's greatest hits

From Thunderbirds to Space: 1999, a selection of the best TV creations from the British puppetry and sci-fi specialist...

Gerry Anderson's greatest hits
Written By
Susanna Lazarus

In memory of TV producer Gerry Anderson – the British "supermarionation" and sci-fi king of the 1960s and 70s – who has died aged 83, we've gathered together a selection of his greatest creations, from his most iconic TV show Thunderbirds, to his later live action series UFO and Space: 1999. 


First up is Anderson's signature show – the creation for which he is most famous. The opening titles are known far and wide and are instantly recognisable from the first few beats...

The series followed the adventures of the Tracy family who operated fictional emergency service International Rescue, with the aid of Lady Penelope and her butler Parker. One of the most famous episodes – Attack of the Alligators – is memorable in particular for its use of real crocodile footage, as seen in the clip below: 


Before Thunderbirds came Stingray, aimed at a young audience and the first British television programme to be filmed entirely in colour. It followed the eponymous hi-tech combat submarine, flagship of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP). Manned by Captain Troy Tempest, in the course of its adventures it encountered a number of underwater races – some friendly, some hostile...

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

Another of Anderson's famous marionette creations was Captain Scarlet – star of popular late-sixties series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Set in 2068, the show began with a team of human astronauts accidentally attacking a Martian city inhabited by the Mysterons, who in turn launch a series of counter-strikes on planet Earth. Fortunately, the indestructible Captain Scarlet and his agency Spectrum are on hand to defend mankind. The second episode – The Winged Assassin – sees Scarlet protecting the Director General of the United Asian republic from assassination. Here's the first part...


Fast forward to 1970 and Anderson had moved into live action with British sci-fi series UFO. Unlike many of its predecessors, the series was aimed at an older audience (it featured adult themes including adultery, divorce and drug use) and saw secret international agency SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) defending earth from alien invaders. Here they are in action...

Space: 1999

And last – but by no means least – here's Space: 1999, another sci-fi creation that marked the final partnership between Anderson and his then-wife Sylvia, following the break-up of their marriage during filming of the show's first series. The two seasons focused on the plight of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha – the Earth's Space Research Centre on the Moon – which is hurled out of orbit following a massive thermonuclear explosion. Focusing on the adventures of the 311 stranded personnel searching for a new home, the show featured a string of different alien civilisations and societies encountered by the rogue spaceship. Here are the opening titles...

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