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Fireball XL5

Fireball XL5“Okay, Venus? Okay, Steve!
  Right, let
s go...
  Gerry Anderson
s space
  puppet adventure Fireball XL5
  is ready for blast off
...

IN FACT, ANOTHER BLAST FROM THE PAST. Fireball XL5 was one of Gerry Anderson's most cherished fantasy series when it was shown back in the 1960s when the (for the time) sophisticated puppet series were still in their infancy.

Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation marionettes first made their debut in 1960 in the western Four Feather Falls, featuring Sheriff Tex Tucker who was the fastest draw in the West — without even touching his guns! The puppets were used again and again in immensely popular children's shows such as Supercar and the famous Thunderbirds series.

Fireball XL5 is set in the early 2060s — one hundred years ahead of the programme's very first transmission on 28 October, 1962. The peace of the universe is maintained by World Space Patrol's finest rocket ship, the eponymous Fireball XL5 and its crew, led by top astronaut Colonel Steve Zodiac.

Glamorous doctor Venus, is Zodiac's love interest (although he doesn't appear to know it!) and there is the eccentric, middle-aged navigator and engineer Professor Matthew Matic (who has a very explosive personality) and the final crew member is the indispensable co-pilot Robert the Robot, whose sing-song electronic voice is provided by Gerry Anderson himself.

Fireball XL5 patrols the galaxy, exploring exotic planets, experiencing close encounters with aliens and heroically protecting the innocent from sinister intergalactic villains such as the brilliant Mr and Mrs Space Spy. Bit of a giveaway, that! Buoyed-up with oxygen pills and anti-radiation capsules and with strings firmly attached, Fireball XL5's courageous crew mingle with the celestial stars as they fight suspect aliens and save the Earth — sometimes with the help of the cute and lovable alien Zoony (a Lazoon) while crotchety Commander Zero and long-suffering Lieutenant Ninety keep their feet firmly on the ground back on Earth at Space City, reading the latest reports in the Interplanetary News.

Hypnotic lights, planets of fire, disappearing Fireball spaceships, the abduction of the moon, intergalactic trade passengers needing escorts, a brain-like alien attempting to dominate the universe, dragon-like creatures, lost pioneers, hostile or invisible enemy life forms, sabotage, space pirates, getting lost in space, meteorite storms, a coup by aliens at Space City and even mastering the Twist — don't worry, Fireball XL5 will fix it!

Fireball XL5 is a fascinating, clever and charmingly retro journey into a mid-20th Century's vision of the 21st Century. With creative aliens and lovable characters, the script is amusing and very tongue-in-cheek. We loved the jet-mobiles, the personal thruster-packs and Robert's chanting "On our way 'ome". The catchy song Fireball XL5, sung by Don Spencer, reached number 32 in the pop charts of 1963 and the 'space' music still sounds great today.

One of our favourite episodes involves a circus. Steve Zodiac's family were trapeze artistes at the circus and his great-great-great-grandmother was the famous clairvoyant Madame Clara Zodiac, whose crystal ball has come down to him. The circus setting is definitely fun — but treachery is never far away.

Very un-21st Century is a domesticated Venus, beautiful and intelligent, sewing on buttons for the two bachelors Steve and the Professor and happy to deal with their laundry and make the coffee!

Produced by Gerry Anderson; Directors include David Elliott/Bill Harris/Alan Patillo; Director of Photography is Ian Struthers; Art Director is Bob Bell; Special Effects by Derek Meddings; Music composed, arranged and conducted by Barry Gray. Character voices include: David Graham; Sylvia Anderson; Paul Maxwell; and John Bluthal.

Designed to appeal to young audiences but finding fans among adults too, Fireball XL5 has captured the hearts of people all over the world with the space adventures of Steve Zodiac and his team. Don't be a "toot" — don't miss the "boss" Fireball XL5 DVD set.

Courtesy of Network DVD, Gerry Anderson's most cherished fantasy series Fireball XL5 Special Edition, is available to buy on DVD on 29 June (2009). This 6-disc set includes all 39 episodes from the iconic series, complete and uncut, plus exclusive extras including a 60-page book and new documentary. This release will appeal to all who are fans and is also set to convert a new generation who have yet to experience its magic.

Fireball XL5 Special Edition
| Certificate: U | RRP: 59.99 | Total Running Time: 975 Minutes (Approx) | Screen Ratio: 1.33:1 Black and White.

Special Features


A wonderland of Stardust: the making of Fireball XL5 plus contributions from creators Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, David Elliott, Alan Pattillo and Brian Johnson | Drawn In Supermarionation: New, exclusive documentary chronicles the comic strip adaptations of the early AP Films series and features contributions from Director of Merchandising Keith Shackleton and artists Bill Mevin, Mike Noble and Colin Page | A Day In The Life Of A Space General: Colourised edition of Fireball XL5, taken from a new HD transfer of the original film elements | Bill Mevin's Supercar Home Movie: Previously unseen footage filmed by TV Comic artist Bill Mevin during production on Supercar | Special Limited Edition Packaging | Zoom Ice Lolly Commercials | Image Galleries | PDF Material | 60-page Book Written by Television historian Andrew Pixley.

"Fireball XL5 is a fascinating, clever and charmingly retro journey into a mid-20th Century's vision of the 21st Century" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar