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Thunderbird 6: Wikis


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Thunderbird 6

Theatrical poster, showing the Thunderbirds machines
Directed by David Lane
Produced by Gerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
Written by Gerry Anderson
Sylvia Anderson
Narrated by Keith Alexander
Starring Peter Dyneley
Sylvia Anderson
Shane Rimmer
Jeremy Wilkin
Matt Zimmerman
David Graham
Keith Alexander
Gary Files
Christine Finn
John Carson
Geoffrey Keen
Music by Barry Gray
Cinematography Harry Oakes
Editing by Len Walter
Studio Century 21 Cinema
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) July 29, 1968 (1968-07-29)
(UK premiere)
Running time 89 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Preceded by Thunderbirds Are Go
(1966 film)

Thunderbird 6 is a British science fiction-adventure film released in 1968. It was the second film based on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's popular Supermarionation television series Thunderbirds.



Having given Brains, inventor of International Rescue's Thunderbird machines, an open brief to design their latest project, executives of the New World Aircraft Corporation attend a meeting to hear his proposals. They are astonished to hear that in an age of high technology and speed, he thinks it would be a good idea to build a 21st-century airship. The committee room descends into hysterical laughter at his suggestion.

Some time later, back on Tracy Island, Brains is informed by Jeff Tracy that a new rescue vehicle is desperately needed to complement the other Thunderbirds, although he admits he does not know what form this new craft should take. Brains is reluctant to work without a specification, after his bad experience at the corporation meeting. However, Jeff reminds him that while the company management had laughed at the idea, they had then proceeded to build the airship.

Alan Tracy, Tin-Tin, Lady Penelope and Parker are to be guests aboard the luxury new airship Skyship One as representatives of International Rescue on its epic maiden voyage around the world. Brains is unable to travel because of Jeff's insistence that a new "Thunderbird 6" be operational as soon as possible. Alan has purchased an old de Havilland Tiger Moth bi-plane in which he and Tin-Tin fly to England to join Penelope and Parker for the airship launch. Meanwhile, Brains continues to produce concepts for the new rescue vehicle but all designs are rejected by Jeff.

Before the launch, the crew of Skyship One are murdered and replaced by associates of the "Black Phantom" (resembling the Hood wearing a wig), led by Captain Foster. Because the ship is automated, it maintains a crew only in the event of an emergency, so the impostors' lack of knowledge goes unnoticed. Their intention is to record Lady Penelope's conversations during the trip and edit her speeches to make a false distress call to transmit to Jeff, sending International Rescue to the Black Phantom's lair at a disused airfield (10 miles south of Casablanca), where he can capture their aircraft.

During the flight, Alan and the other guests become suspicious that the crew are not as knowledgeable as they ought to be, although Penelope is very taken with the dashing Captain Foster. After noticing a number of bugging devices in many of the rooms (especially those used by Penelope) they report their suspicions to Jeff via secret code while investigating the reasons for the spying. Eventually the crew manage to piece together the "distress call" and transmit it to John in Thunderbird 5, resulting in the launching of Thunderbirds 1 and 2. After establishing the crew's intentions, Penelope informs Jeff of their suspicions, confirming that the Thunderbird machines were heading for a trap. Jeff orders Scott and Virgil to destroy the Phantom's base. Meanwhile, Alan confronts the crew, leading to a shoot-out in the engine room. A stray bullet hits the gravity compensator, causing the ship to slowly descend towards a huge missile base in Dover.

After the ship crashes onto a radio transmission mast, International Rescue must hold the ship in place to prevent it falling on the base before the ship, and the base below, can be evacuated. As Skyship One is balanced precariously on the tower, a light-weight aircraft is required for the rescue, so Brains flies the vintage Tiger Moth onto the top deck of the airship. However, the crew are holding the passengers at gunpoint, and Captain Foster commandeers the plane. Once in the air, a shoot-out occurs, in which Foster and the other conspirators are killed. Penelope is forced to take the controls, following instructions from Alan. This results in a number of near misses, including almost landing on an unfinished motorway and narrowly missing a chimney.

Meanwhile, the tower holding Skyship One collapses, causing it to crash spectacularly onto the missile base below. Alan attempts to land the bi-plane, but it runs out of fuel and crashes into some woods. The crew are unharmed, although they initially think they left Parker on the airship, they find him stuck in a tree having fallen from the plane just before it crashed.

Safely back at Tracy Island, Brains proudly reveals the new Thunderbird 6, which turns out to be the Tiger Moth, which Jeff and the others agree has certainly proven its worth.


By the time production of this film began, the Supermarionation technique had been refined, permitting the construction of more realistically proportioned puppets for Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Anderson chose to return to the old-style puppets for Thunderbird 6 in order to maintain continuity with the previous Thunderbirds film and television episodes, although many of the puppets were remade for the two Thunderbirds films to a noticeably higher standard than their television counterparts. A number of Captain Scarlet-style puppets were used in background shots.

Barry Gray considered the musical score for the film superior to Thunderbirds Are Go because the world travel allowed for a large variety of musical themes.[1] The soundtrack was released in a limited edition in 2005.

Place in the canon of Gerry Anderson

Lady Penelope's Rolls-Royce, FAB1, was in the cargo hold during the round the world trip, so is presumably destroyed along with Skyship One.

The "Black Phantom" bears a striking resemblance to archvillain the Hood who is apparently killed in the first feature film, Thunderbirds Are Go. It is unclear if the Black Phantom is actually the Hood, a relation of his, or a completely different character, although on the DVD commentary, Sylvia Anderson states that Black Phantom is not the Hood.

It remains a mystery why Jeff Tracy ever wanted a "Thunderbird 6" to start with or why it was needed so urgently, as he could not give any practical reason for it in the early scenes in the film. It is also unclear who he intended to pilot it, as the only Tracy Islanders without their own craft were Tin-Tin, Brains, Kyrano, Grandma, and himself.


  • When Lady Penelope is forced to take the controls of the bi-plane, it was actually flown Joan Lily Amelia Hughes, MBE.
  • The unfinished motorway on which the bi-plane almost landed was the (then unopened) M40 between London and Oxford.
  • In the Whistle Stop Cafe, the trains are OO gauge models, from Hornby. They include 9F 2-10-0 No. 92220 Evening Star, a B12 4-6-0 and the Caledonian Single No. 123.


  1. ^ CD Liner Notes by album producer David Hirsch.

See also

External links



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