Fireball XL5 (ITV Adventure, Gerry Anderson)

Gerry Anderson supermarionation series Fireball XL5 detailed the adventures of Steve Zodiac patrolling Sector 25 of the Solar System in his rocketship in the year 2063.

Fireball XL5 (which had the working title of Century 21) is a clear forerunner of Thunderbirds, albeit still in black and white (the last of Anderson’s shows to be filmed in black and white). Set in the year 2063 it follows Steve Zodiac, space doctor Venus and Robert the Robot as they head up the World Space Fleet.

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The stories are top notch and you can clearly see Anderson’s ouvre developing at a rate of knots. The closing title music by Barry Gray would also be released as a single and became something of a minor hit reaching number 32. It was sung by Australian children’s entertainer Don Spencer who at that early stage in his career was trying to make it as a singer in the UK.

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A similar programme often confused with Fireball XL5 is Space Patrol, produced by Gerry Anderson’s ex business partner and co-founder of AP Films, Arthur Provis due to a number of similarities and settings.

Voice Cast: Gerry Anderson; David Graham; John Bluthal; Paul Maxwell

Creator and Producer: Gerry Anderson / Theme Music: Barry Gray

UK / ITV – ATV – ITC / 39×25 minutes / Broadcast 28 October 1962 – 27 October 1963.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.