The Royal mail have bought out a set of stamps honouring Gerry Anderson. Philately, the dullest of pursuits is the exact opposite of the excitement I used to feel watching Thunderbirds as a little boy.
As a nipper I loved Thunderbirds. It was sophisticated yet simple, action packed yet funny; it bought espionage, sabotage, disaster, theft, space travel and a variety of other incredible situations into my living room. There was nothing else like it on TV back then, and nothing to match it now. What it allowed was for the young mind to immerse itself into this completely manufactured world. It had the gadgets, the vehicles, the thrills and spills. It had lead characters smoking fags, drinking and risking life and limb.
It had a science fiction element employed in Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno situations. Everyone had their favourite International Rescue vehicle; mine was Thunderbird 2 with its non aerodynamic shape and its belly full of smaller rescue vehicles.
It also had catch phrases; ‘Thunderbirds are Go!’, ‘F.A.B.’ ‘yes M’Lady’ and ‘Calling International rescue’
Its intro gave a taste of what was to come in the episode and unusually each was 50 minutes long. For a kid of my age the Tracey family were cool, Brains Hackenback appealed to the inner geek and Lady Penelope had the Va-Va-Voom. There was also Parker for us cockneys to identify with. The music was stirring, mysterious and light hearted in equal measure.
Creator Gerry Anderson also gave us Stingray; too primitive. Joe 90; too dull. Captain Scarlet; too realistic. Thunderbirds was the daddy.
More so than the other Gerry Anderson creations Thunderbirds really was the programme that me and my friends all watched and the programme that you could immerse yourself in. I loved it. Not ironically or knowingly, I just loved it.
As Jeff Tracey said at the top of the show Thunderbirds are go!
THUNDERBIRDS Intro to my favourite episode 'Vault of death' with my favourite character Light Fingered Freddy