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The Secret Service
Secret service
Production
Released by ATV
ProducersGerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
DirectorsAlan Perry
Leo Eaton
Brian Heard
Peter Anderson
Ken Turner
Music DirectorBarry Gray
Special EffectsDerek Meddings
Details
MediumColour
Episodes13
Duration25 Minutes
Original Air Date21st September 1969
Series Guide
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Joe 90 UFO

The Secret Service was a unique blend of live action and Supermarionation originally shown on three ITV regions in 1969 - ATV, Granada & Southern. Unfortunately, no more than thirteen instalments were ever produced before Lewis Grade cancelled it. The reason Grade gave was his conviction that Americans would not be able to understand the strange gobbledygook language which Father Unwin spoke, called "Unwinese," a trademark of the comedy of comedian Stanley Unwin, the lead voice actor--a claim which missed the point entirely! For Gerry Anderson, one of the two chief producers of the programme, was one of Unwin's fans and had wanted to incorporate Unwinese into one of his productions; he argued that it could be explained as "jargon" code, which is spoken rather than written. Alas for American viewers, Grade refused to accept this. Thus The Secret Service was never syndicated to the United States.

Set in present day (1969) Britain and working for B.I.S.H.O.P., or British Intelligence Service Headquarters's "Operation Priest," Father Stanley Unwin and his gardener Matthew Harding led a double life. In reality they were both secret agents and they made quite a team. Using a unique device called the Minimiser, Father Unwin could reduce Matthew down to one-third normal size, and he could then be transported around in a special case.

Father Unwin drove around in a yellow vintage 1917 Model T Ford named "Gabriel," with Matthew in tow. With his reduced stature, Matthew could enter aeroplanes, tanks and cars without being seen.

Main Characters

Main Equipment

Main Locations

Episodes

Cast and Crew

Credited

Produced by
David Lane

Format by
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Directed by
Alan Perry

Characters Created by
Sylvia Anderson

Music Composed and Directed by
Barry Gray

Vocal Title Music by
The Mike Sammes Singers

Teleplay by
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Production Supervisor
Des Saunders

Supervising Visual Effects
Derek Meddings

Lighting Cameraman
Paddy Seale

Script Editor
Tony Barwick

Supervising Editor
Alan Killick

Art Director
Keith Wilson

Production Manager
Frank Hollands

Puppet Co-Ordinator
Mary Turner

Puppet Operators
Wanda Webb
Rowena White
Charmaine Wood

Wardrobe
Iris Richens

Sculptors
Tim Cooksey
Plugg Shutt

Film Editor
Alan Killick

Camera Operator
Ian Vinson

Assistant Director
Geoff Pittman

Dialogue Synchronisation
John Drake

Senior Visual Effects Director
Jimmy Elliott

Visual Effects Designer
Mike Trim

Models
Peter Aston

Property Master
Peter Holmes


Visual Effects Unit

Director
Bill Camp

Lighting Cameraman
Les Paul

Camera Operator
Nick Procopides


Location Unit

Director
Ken Turner

Lighting Cameraman
Ted Wooldridge

Camera Operator
Noel Rowlands

Manager
Gren Nott


Supervising Sound Editor
Peter Pennell

Sound Editor
Tony Roper

Music Editor
George Randall

Sound Re-Recording
Anvil Films Limited

Character Voices
Keith Alexander
Sylvia Anderson
Gary Files
David Healy
Stanley Unwin
Jeremy Wilkin

Executive Producer
Reg Hill


Trivia

  • The Secret Service was the final Gerry Anderson programme to use the Supermarionation brand, although a few years later, he did try unsuccessfully to revive the genre in the pilot The Investigator. It was also the only Anderson production to combine super-marionation with live action and the only Anderson programme situated in what was then the present day.
  • Because Agent Paul Blake (voice of UFO cast member Keith Alexander) was represented by the Captain Scarlet super-marionation puppet using browner, less black-coloured hair and eye-glasses, "fanon," or fan-fiction canon, has equated him with Captain Scarlet's grandfather on his (Captain Scarlet's) mother's side, and thus Captain Scarlet's mother with Paul Blake's daughter as both characters share the same name of Paul.
  • Production of The Secret Service took place concurrently with that of UFO, and Unwin's antique car actually appears in an episode of UFO.

References

Main article: References or Tributes
Supermarionation:
About Supermarionation: What is it? | Who makes it? | The marionettes | the legacy
The Series: Supercar | Fireball XL5 | Stingray | Thunderbirds | Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons | Joe 90 | The Secret Service | The Investigator
The Films: Thunderbirds Are Go | Thunderbird 6
Other Uses: Calling Elvis
Imitators and tributes: Paul starr | Team America World Police | Interster | X-Bomber (Star Fleet) | Superthunderstingcar | Thunderbirds F.A.B. | Misc. Parodies and references




Preceding series: The Secret ServiceFollowing series:
DoppelgängerUFO
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