A look at the story behind Thunderbirds (1960).

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Dominic Sandbrook ...
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Steve Bennett ...
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Harold Wilson ...
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Stephen Cole ...
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Phil Ford ...
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Mary Turner ...
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Keith Wilson ...
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Alan Perry ...
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Alan Shubrook ...
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Peter York ...
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A look at the story behind Thunderbirds (1960).

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2 January 2008 (UK)  »

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Features Stingray (1964) See more »

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Engaging and fun documentary
3 April 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Shown recently as part of Thunderbirds night of BBC4, this documentary looks back at the success of the Gerry Anderson television shows, with particular emphasis on Thunderbirds. The tone is very affectionate and I worried that it would become a bit of a love-in or get too serious about the topic. Fortunately neither happened and instead the film got the tone just right with an affectionate but fun air that recalled the influence the show had without ever presenting it as something akin to curing cancer! Davenport's slightly dry narration helps things (in terms of humour I mean, not dry as in dull) because it is clear we are not meant to be po-faced and serious with it and can settle a bit as a casual viewer. The contributions all match this and they all seem to be enjoying talking about the subject and having fun doing it. This again makes it easier to watch and more engaging than a duller alternative. Of course if the contributions themselves were poor then this wouldn't have mattered but they are mostly cheerful rich in memories and anecdotes. With the Andersons as well as other key cast and crew making up the bulk of the contributions, the stories are much better than some films that would have C-list celebs rambling as if they had been fans for years but are really reading off a script.

The focus on Thunderbirds may be suggested by the title but the film benefits from a wider look at the series around it and how they generally came to exist and how they were received. Stingray is the first big step and later we have the significantly darker (and for my money, better) Captain Scarlet and the way they fit together in a career line is interesting and well presented. Overall then this is an interesting and engaging film thanks to the fun tone with pertinent and relaxed contributors. Goes without saying that fans should lap this up.


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