Gerry, this is not a series, this is a feature film!
Lew Grade,
Thunderbirds Title
Released by ATV
ProducerGerry & Sylvia Anderson
Directed ByBrian Burgess
David Elliott
David Lane
Alan Pattillo
Desmond Saunders
Music DirectorBarry Gray
Special EffectsDerek Meddings
Season 124
Season 28
Duration50 Minutes
Original Air Date30th September 1965
Series Guide
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Stingray Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

For other uses of Thunderbirds see Thunderbirds (Disambiguation)

Thunderbirds is an acclaimed television show originally aired in the mid 1960s. It was the fourth Gerry Anderson show to be filmed in Supermarionation and the second in Videcolor. It is the most popular and fondly remembered of all Gerry Anderson shows.


The series takes place in the year 2065. It tells the story of the International Rescue Organisation, headed by millionaire and former astronaut Jeff Tracy. Other members of the organisation are Jeff's five sons: Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon, John, a scientific genius and engineer "Brains" - constructor of the Thunderbirds craft, and agents scattered all around the world, the most important of which are Lady Penelope and her butler Parker. Using their sophisticated rescue equipment, the mission of International Rescue is to save people in distress no matter where in the world the help is needed.


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, superpowerful, and extraordinary. The initial pitch to Lew Grade started with Gerry 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, who was 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!!!" Thereupon 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



  • 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 "Sunprobe" 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

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 year in which Thunderbirds takes place has always been in debate, while the canon suggests the year would be 2026 (src), Gerry 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 orders of the Tracy brothers has also been controversial; John and Virgil often swap places as second and third eldest. However, official canon (Original reaserch?) states that John is the second and Virgil is the third, as this is the order they appear in the title sequence.

External links

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 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: Thunderbirds (TV)Following series:
StingrayThunderbirds Are Go
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