Gerry Anderson FAQ

What does FAB stand for?

What does FAB stand for in Thunderbirds

The real meaning of FAB in Thunderbirds…

This has got to be one of the most asked questions: What does FAB stand for in Thunderbirds?

Well here’s the answer in one simple word: Nothing!

In the 60’s the buzzword was “fabulous”. This was shortened to FAB and used simply as a call sign like ‘Roger’ or ‘Ten-Four’ to acknowledge received instructions. If it was an acronym, then the best suggestion we’ve heard for a potential meaning is “Fully Acknowledged Broadcast”. So now, next time someone asks you what FAB stands for, you can give them the authoritative answer: nothing!

Are you disappointed with the answer to the often-asked question: What does FAB stand for in Thunderbirds? It’s Gerry Anderson’s official answer and was repeated by many members of the crew who worked on the show at the time.

But what does Jeff Tracy say? If you’d like an in-universe answer to the question then look no further. Check out the video below:

There are a few apocryphal tales on this too. A couple of callers to an LBC radio show a few years ago cited these answers:

Name: Derek, Maida Vale
Qualification: Huge Thunderbirds fan
Answer: I used to collect all Thunderbirds comic books and in one issue only, FAB stood For Always Brothers. I once won a competition in Smash Hits magazine with this very answer!
(James O’Brien: But your comic probably wasn’t written by Gerry Anderson)

Name: David, Chelmsford
Qualification: Overheard it from Gerry Anderson’s son on a plane journey
Answer: It means Fully Audible Broadcast. 
(James O’Brien: I’m not buying it. I’ve got it from the horse’s mouth!)

But even if a Thunderbirds comic book did state that FAB stood for ‘for always brothers’ it was certainly retrofitted. And ‘fully audible broadcast’?! We don’t think so.

To reiterate, and put this to bed once and for all:

FAB doesn’t stand for anything! It was just a cool-sounding callsign invented by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson to mean ‘affirmative’, but it’s not an acronym. Sorry folks!

Want to read more about Thunderbirds?

Listen to the Genesis of Thunderbirds story on the Gerry Anderson Podcast

Watch the Thunderbirds prequel story on our YouTube channel

Read about the beginnings of International Rescue

And while you’re here… Check out our FAB Thunderbirds merch!


How can I submit my script, story or idea?

Anderson Entertainment does not accept unsolicited script submission. There are a number of potential legal consequences which can result from reading unsolicited material which may turn out to be similar to a project we are developing or may develop. Accordingly, the general policy of Anderson Entertainment is to not read or consider unsolicited material, ideas or suggestions of any nature whatsoever.

Can you tell me more about the Space 2099 project?

We’ve received a lot of e-mails recently about Space 2099 – a reboot of Space:1999. We cannot give you any information because the Gerry Anderson Estate is not involved in the project in any way. We have not been approached by anyone associated with the production and therefore cannot give you any information about it. The best thing we can recommend is that you look for the Space 2099 page on Facebook and get updates from there.

Can you tell me more about the UFO reboot?

We’ve received a lot of e-mails recently about the new UFO reboot that has been talked about for some time. At the moment the Gerry Anderson Estate and Anderson Entertainment are not involved with the production in any way so we cannot give you any information about the project.

Where did Thunderbirds get its name?

For many years we believed that Thunderbirds was named after ‘Thunderbird Field’ in Arizona – a base where Gerry Anderson’s brother trained during the Second World War.

However, during extensive research for a book on Lionel Anderson’s life, we discovered that this fact had been mis-remembered by Gerry. The truth is much more exciting and intriguing. 

You can read the full story about how Thunderbirds got its name here.

Where can I buy the three new Thunderbirds episodes? (Thunderbirds 1965)

Thunderbirds 1965 was a project undertaken by POD 4 Films in 2015 for the 50th anniversary of Thunderbirds. The project produced three new half-hour episodes of classic Thunderbirds using the original Supermarionation techniques and was funded via Kickstarter.

As stated by the producers – the episodes were only ever to be released to Kickstarter backers as a special celebration.

At this point, there are (as far as we know) no plans for a public release. The episodes were only available to Kickstarter backers and it is not possible to buy them. The episodes turn up from time to time on eBay but have not been publicly released.

If any plans for a public release are announced then they will be covered on the news page and this FAQ answer will be amended. But if you’re reading this, then the three new Thunderbirds episodes are not currently available for purchase.

However, if you’re looking to expand your Thunderbirds experience then try these:

Watch Thunderbirds Legends online for free

Listen to Gerry Anderson talk about the Genesis of Thunderbirds

Check out our Thunderbirds merch collection

Watch Thunderbirds on Britbox (UK only)

Where can I buy Thunderbird 2 toys?

So you want to get some Thunderbird 2 toys? Good old Thunderbird 2. Everyone knows it. The giant green transporter with the little backwards wings has been adored by Thunderbirds fans since it was first unveiled in September 1965.

As a result, Thunderbird 2 toys have long been the favourite of Thunderbirds fans. Always in high demand, and always absolutely FAB, Thunderbird 2 remains a fan favourite across the globe.

Thunderbird 2 toys can be purchased from the Official Gerry Anderson Store. New variants are being licensed and released all the time, including a range of very cool Japanese Thunderbird 2 toys and models.

Thunderbird 2 toys - the Konami Thunderbird 2

If you’re looking for older versions like the Dinky Thunderbird 2 (even the blue one) then your best bet is to search on eBay. But remember – original 60s toys in mint condition, and especially those in their original boxes are going to be on the expensive side!

The famous blue Dinky Thunderbird 2 toys

If you’d like to know more about Thunderbirds merchandise in general that you can look at the Thunderbirds merchandise Wikipedia page or consult a number of merchandise guides that have been produced over the years.

Where can I buy Fireball XL5 collectables?

If you’re a Fireball XL5 fan then you’ve come to the right place! The official Gerry Anderson store stocks Fireball XL5 DVDs, Blu-rays, mugs, t-shirts and more.

So if you wish you were a spaceman, the fastest guy alive – let them fly you round the universe in Fireball XL5! Visit the Fireball XL5 collection now.

Where can I buy Thunderbird 5 toys?

Thunderbird 5 toys have always been difficult to get hold of. International Rescue’s space station is a difficult shape, and isn’t action oriented, so toy manufacturers have tended to shy away from them.

However, if you want to buy Thunderbird 5 toys, you’re in luck. The official Gerry Anderson store brings in Thunderbird 5 toys from Japan, meaning that you should be able to get hold of these rare, but lovely models!

Check out the Tomica mini metal Thunderbird 5, or the Aoshima Thunderbird 5 model kit for examples.

Why was my Dinky Thunderbird 2 Blue?

For many growing up in the sixties Dinky’s famous blue Thunderbird 2 was a major childhood frustration. Even if you had a black and white television, you still knew from the TV21 comics that Thunderbird 2 was green. So why was the Dinky Thunderbird 2 blue?!

Well – the story goes something like this…

Dinky were desperate to shift as many units of the new Thunderbirds toys as possible since they knew they were going to be a huge hit. Dinky employed a child psychologist/behavioural expert to make sure the toys would fly off the shelves.

In the expert’s opinion at that time, they should make the Dinky Thunderbird 2 blue, because children didn’t buy green toys – or at least they weren’t sufficiently attracted to them when on the shelves. So the psychologist suggested an eye-catching metallic blue. Totally inaccurate of course, and they did later release a green version.

It’s also worth noting that by the next decade (with UFO and Space:1999) the psychologist had either been replaced or changed their views – recommending that the SHADO Interceptor and Space: 1999 Eagle be painted a garish metallic green, when their on-screen counterparts were in fact white!

Many collectors stripped and repainted their blue TB2 models. Did you? Comment below and let us know!

If you want to grab a Thunderbird 2 toy in the right colour then look no further than the Gerry Anderson store…



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