Original Thunderbirds and Stingray spacecraft designs from 1960s TV shows found in loft

Posted on 14/01/2020 in Press Coverage

Original sketches of Thunderbirds and Stingray spacecrafts made for the 1960s children’s TV shows have been unearthed from a loft after more than 50 years.

And the box of nostalgic television treasures, spanning three decades from the 1960s, also includes photos and memorabilia relating to Space 1999, UFO and Joe 90.

The original artwork, some on tracing paper, was created by Space Models UK, a company which launched in Feltham, Middlesex, in the early 1960s. It went on to build models for Thunderbirds, a futuristic show co-created by Gerry Anderson and his wife Sylvia and produced between 1964-66, as well as models for Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90

Early space rocket designs

The eclectic mix of items also includes transparencies from Joe 90 and Thunderbirds, a film script from 1969 British science-fiction movie Doppelgänger and scripts from 1982 TV series Terrahawks and 1970s series The Protectors, all from the Anderson stable.

The TV and film memorabilia are set to go under the hammer in one lot at Hansons Auctioneers on January 23 with a guide price of £400-£600.

Steve Fulford, Hansons valuer, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I started delving into that box of treasures. It was like I was discovering secrets and insider knowledge from my favourite childhood shows. I grew up watching Thunderbirds and Joe 90. I prefer the original puppet supermarionation to more recent remakes of Anderson shows.

“To see the original plans for those Thunderbirds spacecrafts which became so familiar to generations of children is phenomenal. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson were ahead of their time though many of their ideas don’t seem far-fetched now.

Sylvia Anderson with FAB 1, Lady Penelope and Parker.

“It was also wonderful to see original black and white images of the space models and props during production. For example, one picture shows Sylvia Anderson, the voice of Lady Penelope, with the character’s famous car FAB1, a pink Rolls-Royce saloon car driven by her manservant Parker.

“There’s also an image of Father Unwin’s Gabrielle car from Secret Service, the Eagle Transporter from Space 1999, Ed Straker’s car from UFO and original drawings of Stingray.

“Millions of people have enjoyed the Anderson magic and there must be many people out there who would love to own this nostalgic treasure trove.”

Transparencies in the collection

The owner of the collection, who did not wish to be named, said: “My dad, Brian Pugsley, was a director of Space Models UK. He died at the age of 81 last year and we found the memorabilia in his West London loft. It must have been there for decades. He sold the company 15 years ago.

“My mother made her views felt on the colour of Lady Penelope’s car. Apparently, there was talk of making it racing green but she said ‘no, Lady Penelope wouldn’t have chosen that colour’. "

FAB1 was always meant to be pink. At the time Sylvia Anderson had a pink car and chose that colour. Sylvia (1927-2016) was an English television and film producer, writer, voice actress and costume designer, best known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson, her husband between 1960 and 1981.

In addition to serving as co-creator and co-writer on their TV series during the 1960s and early 1970s, Anderson's primary contribution was character development and costume design. She regularly directed the bi-weekly voice recording sessions, and provided the voices of many female and child characters, in particular the creation of Lady Penelope and Parker in Thunderbirds.

Gerry Anderson MBE (1929-2012) was an English television and film producer, director, writer and occasional voice artist. He’s most famous for his futuristic television programmes, especially his 1960s productions filmed with supermarionation - marionette puppets containing electric moving parts.

The memorabilia will be sold in a Toy Auction on January 23 at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS. To find out more, or to arrange a free toy valuation, email [email protected].