Gerry Anderson fans will be thrilled to hear that some original Thunderbirds sketches are coming up for auction after being found hidden in a loft. The box of nostalgic TV treasures from the 1960s show the earliest illustrations for the spaceship models featured in the classic sci-fi series.
The collection includes original artwork, some on tracing paper, of models which later became immortalised as Thunderbirds 2, 3 and 4 in the futuristic show set on Tracy Island. The eclectic mix of items also features Lady Penelope’s famous pink FAB 1 car and never-before-seen memorabilia relating to Stingray, Space 1999, UFO and Joe 90. They were discovered during a property clearance after the director of Space Models UK – the company who made the models for the cult shows – died aged 81 last year. The TV memorabilia will now go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, Derbyshire, on January 23 with a guide price of between £400 and £600.
The owner of the collection, who did not wish to be named, said: “My dad, Brian Pugsley, was a director of Space Models UK. He died at the age of 81 last year and we found the memorabilia in his West London loft. It must have been there for decades. He sold the company 15 years ago. My mother chose the colour of Lady Penelope’s car. They wanted to make it racing green but she said ‘no, Lady Penelope wouldn’t have chosen that colour’.”
Space Models UK was launched in Feltham, Middlesex, in the early 1960s and went on to build models for Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90. Other memorabilia in the Anderson collection include transparencies from Joe 90 and Thunderbirds, a film script from 1969 British science-fiction movie Doppelgänger and scripts from 1982 TV series Terrahawks and 1970s series The Protectors.
Steve Fulford, Hansons valuer, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I started delving into that box of treasures. It was like I was discovering secrets and insider knowledge from my favourite childhood shows. I grew up watching Thunderbirds and Joe 90. I prefer the original puppet Supermarionation to more recent remakes of Anderson shows. To see the original plans for those Thunderbirds spacecrafts which became so familiar to generations of children is phenomenal. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson were ahead of their time though many of their ideas don’t seem far-fetched now. It was also wonderful to see original black and white images of the space models and props during production. For example, one picture shows Sylvia Anderson, the voice of Lady Penelope, with the character’s famous car FAB 1, a pink Rolls-Royce saloon car driven by her manservant Parker. There’s also an image of Father Unwin’s Gabrielle car from Secret Service, the Eagle Transporter from Space 1999, Ed Straker’s car from UFO and original drawings of Stingray.”