Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia
Gerry, this is not a series, this is a feature film!
Lew Grade,
Thunderbirds Title.jpg
Released by ATV
Producer Gerry & Sylvia Anderson
Directed By Brian Burgess
David Elliott
David Lane
Alan Pattillo
Desmond Saunders
Music Director Barry Gray
Special Effects Derek Meddings
Medium Colour
Episodes 32
Season 1 26
Season 2 6
Duration 50 Minutes
Original Air Date 30th September 1965
Series Guide
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Stingray Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

For other uses of Thunderbirds see Thunderbirds (Disambiguation)

Thunderbirds - the fourth Gerry Anderson series to be filmed in Supermarionation, and the second in Videcolor - is an acclaimed television show originally aired in Great Britain, as well as in many countries around the world. More than 50 years after its mid-1960s debut, it remains the most popular and fondly-remembered of all Anderson shows.


Set in either 2026 or 2065 (Depending on who you believe), Thunderbirds tells the story of the top-secret lifesaving organization International Rescue, headed by millionaire and former astronaut Jeff Tracy and based at Tracy Island, located somewhere in the greater South Pacific.

Other members of the organisation include Jeff's five sons - pilots Scott and Virgil, astronauts/space monitors Alan and John, and aquanaut Gordon - along with scientific genius and engineer "Brains," designer/builder of the Thunderbirds craft.

Supporting IR in its mission is a network of field-agents scattered all around the world, the most important of which are the London-based Lady Penelope and her butler Parker.

Using its vast array of sophisticated rescue equipment, the mission of International Rescue is to save people in distress no matter where in the world the help is needed.

They also have to thwart the schemes of the Hood, a ruthless international crook who will stop at nothing to steal the secrets of their organisation.


After hearing of a tragic disaster in a German mine, in which rescue equipment was too remote to get there on time to save the trapped men, Anderson was inspired to create a new series. "International Rescue" would be its name, and special craft, named Rescue 1 through 5, would be the ultimate rescue tools, super-fast, super-powerful, and extraordinary. His initial pitch to Lew Grade started with him saying it might not be a show he (Grade) would be interested in financing. Grade promptly responded by grabbing Gerry on the shoulder and saying, "Gerry. Do you see that light bulb up there? If you wanted to make a TV show about that light bulb, I would finance it!" Thus the real pitch began...

(However, the name of the programme, and the vehicles, would change to Thunderbirds when he was inspired by writing to his older brother, a member of the RAF who was training in the United States during World War II; he referred to an American Air Force base known as "Thunderbird Field.")

When Gerry showed his half-hour pilot to Lew Grade, Grade responded, "Gerry, this is not a series; this is a FEATURE FILM!!!" whereupon he told Anderson to expand all the episodes produced to an hour-long format.

Main Characters

Main Equipment

The Thunderbirds

The Pod Machines



Other Media Stories

Feature Films

Compilation Films

  • Thunderbirds to The Rescue -- a compilation of the installments Trapped in the Sky and Operation Crash- Dive.
  • Thunderbirds in Outer Space -- a compilation of the installments Sun Probe and Ricochet.
  • Countdown To Disaster -- a compilation of the installments Terror in New York City and Atlantic Inferno.



  • Thunderbirds (Novel) by John W. Jennison|John Theydon
  • Calling Thunderbirds by John W. Jennison|John Theydon
  • Thunderbirds: Operation Asteroids by John W. Jennison
  • Thunderbirds: Lost World by John W. Jennison
  • Lady Penelope: Cool For Danger by Kevin McGarry
  • Lady Penelope: A Gallery Of Thieves by Kevin McGarry
  • Thunderbirds: Ring Of Fire by John W. Jennison|John Theydon
  • Lady Penelope: The Albanian Affair by John W. Jennison|John Theydon
  • Countdown To Action! by Joan Marie Verba
  • Action Alert! by Joan Marie Verba
  • Deadly Danger! by Joan Marie Verba
  • Situation: Critical! by Joan Marie Verba
  • Extreme Hazard! by Joan Marie Verba
  • Danger Zone! by Joan Marie Verba

Audio Books

  • Introducing Thunderbirds (audio)
  • FAB (audio)
  • The Stately Homes Robberies (audio)


Thunderbirds (soundtrack vol.1)|First volume of the soundtrack for Thunderbirds TV series, written by Barry Gray has been released on CD from Silva Screen Records on 25th of March 2003. Nine months later Silva Screen Records released the Thunderbirds (soundtrack vol.2) of the soundtrack. The most recent version of the series soundtrack was released in 2020.


  • Thunderbirds is the only Supermarionation series with an hour-long format.
  • The year in which Thunderbirds takes place has always been in debate; while the canon suggests the year would be 2026 (src), Gerry Anderson himself disagrees, claiming the true year to be 2065, - 100 years into the future at the time it was made.
  • In a similar vein, the birth-order of the Tracy brothers has also been controversial; John and Virgil often swap places as second and third eldest. (However, official canon (Original research?) states that John is the second and Virgil is the third, as this is the order they appear in the title sequence.)


Thunderbirds on Thunderbirds Wiki: Thunderbirds Wiki

Thunderbirds logo.png

International Rescue: Jeff TracyScott TracyVirgil TracyAlan TracyGordon TracyJohn TracyBrainsTin-Tin KyranoLady Penelope Creighton-WardAloysius Parker
Others: Lucille TracyKyranoGrandma TracyThe Hood

TV Series Episodes:
Season 1
Trapped In The SkyPit of PerilThe Perils Of PenelopeTerror In New York CityEdge Of ImpactDay Of Disaster30 Minutes After NoonDesperate IntruderEnd Of The RoadThe UninvitedSun ProbeOperation Crash-DiveThe Mighty AtomCity of FireThe ImpostorsThe Man From MI.5Cry WolfDanger at Ocean DeepMove - And You're DeadThe Duchess AssignmentBrink Of DisasterAttack of the Alligators!Martian InvasionThe Cham-ChamSecurity Hazard
Season 2
Atlantic InfernoPath of DestructionAlias Mr. HackenbackerLord Parker's 'OlidayRicochetGive Or Take A Million

Thunderbirds Are GoThunderbird 6

Audio Adventures:
Introducing ThunderbirdsF.A.B.The Stately Homes Robberies

Young CorgiThe Vault

Tracy IslandCreighton-Ward Mansion

Thunderbird 1Thunderbird 2 (Pod Vehicles: MoleFireflyDOMOElevator CarsTransmitter TruckRecovery VehiclesMonobrakeExcavatorMobile CraneFire TruckLaser CutterThunderizerNeutralizer TractorJet-Air TransporterFire TenderYellow Trailer Truck | Red and Black TruckRed Curved Vehicle) • Thunderbird 3Thunderbird 4Thunderbird 5Thunderbird 6
Other Craft and Vehicles

About Supermarionation: What is it? | Who makes it? | The marionettes | the legacy
The Series: Four Feather Falls |Supercar | Fireball XL5 | Stingray | Thunderbirds | Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons | Joe 90 | The Secret Service
The Films: Thunderbirds Are Go | Thunderbird 6
Other Uses: Calling Elvis | The Investigator
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: Thunderbirds (TV)Following series:
StingrayThunderbirds Are Go