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Fireball XL5 – 60th Anniversary Celebration Roundup!

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Fireball XL5 on Friday October 28th 2022 there’s a real boss collection of video events lined up throughout the day – and new merchandise ready on the launching rail!

The second series to carry the Filmed in Supermarionation banner, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s Fireball XL5 first aired in the UK in 1962 and ran for 39 episodes into 1963. Set one hundred years in the future the series followed the adventures of the crew of Fireball XL5, an advanced space rocket commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. Along with Dr Venus, Professor Matthew Matic, Robert the Robot, Zoonie the Lazoon and the team at Space City led by Commander Zero, the interplanetary exploits of Fireball XL5 captivated the hearts and minds of viewers around the world – receiving great fame stateside when it became the first Anderson series to be sold to a major American network. We’ll be celebrating Fireball XL5 throughout the day with an assortment of special video events and merchandise launches – starting with one of the most exciting pieces of XL5 merchandise ever!

Of great excitement to comics fans around the world is the new Fireball XL5 60th Anniversary Comic Anthology! Available to order now, the Fireball XL5 60th Anniversary Comic Anthology is a 336-page hardback volume collecting every Fireball XL5 comic strip story from the legendary TV Century 21 comic in one place for the very first time. The collection also includes seventeen pages of brand-new linking material written and produced by artist Lee Sullivan in which the crew of Fireball XL5 join forces with characters from Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet to combat the menace of the Mysterons – and others!

For those who would like to experience a new audio adventure with the crew of Fireball XL5, you can also order Cloud of a Billion Lights on vinyl! A brand new 21 minutes of adventure initially produced for Network Distributing for inclusion in their limited-edition deluxe Fireball XL5 Blu-ray set in 2021, this original full cast audio dramas stars Marc Silk as Steve Zodiac, Genevieve Gaunt as Dr. Venus, Nicholas Briggs as Professor Matthew Matic, and Jamie Anderson as Robert the Robot. Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, the story is now specially re-edited and pressed on limited edition vinyl for 2022 – but is limited to just 1000 copies!

A live performance of the opening and closing titles from Fireball XL5 are just two of the tracks you’ll be able to enjoy with the CD release of Stand by for Action: Gerry Anderson in Concert! The long-awaited audio release of music from the live concert performed in April 2022 and hosted by Jon Culshaw is now arriving through letterboxes – and those who have pre-ordered the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the event will not have much longer to wait either!

Over on our YouTube channel, you’ll be able to enjoy the premiere of a new motion comic adaptation of the Fireball XL5 story book originally written by Barbara Shook Hazen and published by Little Golden Books. Produced by Ross Arrowsmith and with narration from Wayne Forester, this visual retelling will go live at 12.30pm UK time.

Also on our YouTube channel you’ll find another new video from Chris Dale counting down our top five favourite XL5 guest villains – but will your fondest fiendish Fireball felon make the list? Tune in at 6pm to find out!

After that, settle in at 6.50pm for a special evening of programming from our friends at Network celebrating the 60th anniversary of Fireball XL5! Space City Specials includes a previously missing episode of You’ve Never Seen This, the opening episode of Fireball XL5 (Planet 46), the first ever colourised episode of Four Feather Falls (First Train Through, now also newly restored in High Definition) and another newly colourised episode of Fireball XL5 (The Sun Temple). There may also be one or two special features and interesting announcements made during the stream, of particular interest to those wondering about physical releases of the colourised episodes…

 

To access Space City Specials, head on over to the Network on Air website and sign up for a free streaming account. Doing other things during the stream? Don’t worry; Space City Specials will be available to access for twelve hours!

There’s something for everyone in the bumper Fireball XL5 60th anniversary celebration – you’d be a real tootie to miss it!

Written by
Chris Dale

Writer, editor & voice actor on Big Finish's Doctor Who, Terrahawks, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet audio ranges. Host of the Randomiser on the Gerry Anderson Podcast.

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