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Terrahawks – Zelda’s Top Five Monsters!

For many Terrahawks fans one of the most memorable elements of the series was the show’s terrifying monsters! From the cryogenic store within her Martian base the evil android queen Zelda would regularly unthaw another terrifying creation to terrorise the Terrahawks! Some appeared only once, while others made multiple appearances, and by the end of Terrahawks’ run the series had built up a formidable array of memorable recurring monsters and villains that remain popular to this day. Here are five of our favourites!

Honourable mention – The Sporillas

While certainly an iconic and memorable monster, it’s difficult to find a way to include a Sporilla on this list since we never saw the same Sporilla more than once! The first one we meet (appropriately enough in the episode The Sporilla) turns out to be an ally to the Terrahawks once they release it from Zelda’s control, and subsequent appearances are either hallucinations (Mind Monster) or clip show episodes (Ma’s Monsters). The next time we see a ‘real’ Sporilla is in the episode Space Giant, but it clearly isn’t the same one the Terrahawks encountered previously! Both The Sporilla and Space Giant however do a good job of making their respective Sporillas both menacing and sympathetic, which earns them an honourable mention here.

5 – Sram, Lord of Felony

The first of Zelda’s ‘monsters’ to be pitted against the Terrahawks, Sram appeared in five episodes of the show (seven if you count Mary’s hallucinatory Sram in Mind Monster and his stock footage appearance in the first season clip show finale Ma’s Monsters).

Despite his fearsome appearance Sram ultimately became little more than a generic heavy, with the character’s inappropriately dignified speaking voice being dropped after Thunder-Roar. For the rest of the series Sram did little more than show up to bellow his thunderous mountain-shaking roar, with the notable exception being the revelation of his musical prowess in the episode Play It Again Sram, when he is revealed to be “a demon of the drums!”

The episode Thunder Path provided the iconic sight of the powerful villain at the controls of the equally powerful Overlander, but once the character lost his (admittedly ill-fitting) voice from Thunder-Roar the chance to develop him much further was also lost. Although great fun to look at, and a reliable heavy for the show, Sram was ultimately not the most interesting character in Zelda’s clan.

4 – Yuri the space bear

“The delightfully devious furry Napoleon” was introduced in the episode The Ugliest Monster of All, much to the disgust of the Martians! However, his cute and cuddly nature won the hearts of the Terrahawks – until he unleashed his telekinetic abilities to wreck havoc in Hawknest!

Teamed with Yung-star for all his subsequent appearances on the show, Yuri eventually began to realise how much fun he could have in tormenting Zelda’s son, and by his final appearance in Terratomb took great delight in crashing his partner’s ZEAF into a mountain!

Much like Sram, the lack of an understandable voice meant Yuri saw limited development throughout the series. However, the character scores bonus points thanks to his puppeteers being able to develop his body language, creating a mischievous and playful persona that often communicated a lot despite him being unable to speak a word. Although his appearance and abilities limited his dramatic potential, Yuri was a reliably devious adversary that Terrahawks viewers always looked forward to seeing more of!

3 – Captain Goat

The only character on this list to make just one appearance in the television series, Captain Goat was released from cryogenic slumber in the episode Jolly Roger One. This manic space pirate, voiced by Robbie Stevens, then accompanied Yung-star and It-Star in their mission to set up a pirate radio station on an abandoned space platform – before overseeing the subsequent battle against Spacehawk!

Sporting only one working eye, a claw hand, an artificial parrot on his shoulder and a tendency to refer to It-star as “Jim lad”, Captain Goat embodies all the familiar tropes of pirate lore, resulting in a character that is instantly familiar and appealing. It-star and Yung-star could easily have carried out their mission without Goat (as the Terrahawks themselves don’t meet or even see him), but his presence elevates the story from standard Terrahawks fare into a tale that pays deliberate homage to the pirating genre.

Despite walking the plank into the vacuum of space rather than be taken alive by the Terrahawks Goat was ‘reclaimed’ by Zelda to fight another day, but sadly this memorable man o’ war was not to return on television. Jolly Roger One remains a popular episode of Terrahawks however, no doubt due largely to the good Cap’n’s exploits!

2 – Lord Tempo

Appearing late in the first production block of Terrahawks Lord Tempo the Time Lord made three television appearances, but by the end of the series had become firmly established as one of the show’s greatest recurring adversaries.

The character’s ability to travel through and manipulate time was established in his first appearance, but part of his appeal lies in how few rules were laid down to govern those abilities. Beyond his claim that “even I cannot alter history” his powers over time appear almost unrestricted, offering much potential for time-related attacks against the Terrahawks; from temporarily murdering Kate Kestrel in My Kingdom for a ZEAF, to attempting to introduce a time warp in the Terrahawks computer system, and even reconstituting himself after he has been blown to pieces in First Strike.

The design of the character is also extremely memorable; he dresses like a gangster, yet appears ancient, and is operated by his puppeteers in a way that suggests a quiet dignity rather at odds with the rest of Zelda’s clan. Tempo’s voice also adds much to the character, with an echoing effect being added to Jeremy Hitchen’s Bela Lugosi-inspired performance that gives the impression that Tempo isn’t entirely rooted in this one particular moment of time.

Although Lord Tempo only made three appearances on television his episodes stand among Terrahawks’ strongest, and we can only imagine what other timebending antics this enigmatic character would have got up to had the television series continued!

1 – MOID

The Master of Infinite Disguise first appeared in Happy Madeday, where his true appearance was masked until the conclusion of the story. Although Tiger questioned whether Zelda had had a hand in MOID’s creation, his precise nature and origins remained a mystery for the remainder of the series. MOID’s unsettling appearance was at odds with the melancholy tone of his voice in his single line of dialogue (“I wear many faces…but have none of my own…”) and suggested a character worth revisiting.

After a brief appearance appearing to relish the chance to operate Zelda’s torture chamber in To Catch a Tiger, and an even briefer non-speaking cameo disguised as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Play It Again Sram, MOID’s final appearance in the episode Unseen Menace was perhaps his most memorable, and fully embraced the somewhat tragic note upon which Happy Madeday had ended. Disguising himself as the Invisible Man, MOID is able to infiltrate Hawknest but finds himself unable to harm the Terrahawks due to his inability to kill; “the one shred of self esteem I have left”.

Until this episode MOID had been a character of contradictions, and Unseen Menace used those contradictions to redefine the character as a sympathetic antagonist who may not have been entirely in control of his actions. When close to Zelda he appears as willing to inflict physical harm to the Terrahawks as any of her family, yet away from her influence he becomes almost another person entirely. As unsettling as it is to see him watching Kate Kestrel while she sleeps, his longing for a life that has room for beauty and goodness seems very genuine, as do his tears at the conclusion of the story when he once again has to be sent back to Zelda.

MOID’s four appearances in Terrahawks (five if you count his appearance in hallucinatory form in Mind Monster) were limited to the show’s first production block, as aside from a brief mention in Jolly Roger One he was entirely absent from its second. The unfilmed script Attempted MOIDer would have seen the character return briefly (after once again spending most the story disguised as someone else) and once again hindered by his inability to kill. Having so successfully redefined the character as an enslaved and broken man in Unseen Menace, re-treading the same ground in Attempted MOIDer might have seen the character become stuck in a rut he could never have escaped from thanks to the largely episodic nature of Terrahawks as a series. Unless a drastic shakeup to the character’s role in the show was planned, it was perhaps better to allow MOID to go out on the unusually poignant note that Unseen Menace offered him.

All six of the above characters returned in episodes of the Big Finish audio series; some up to their old tricks, others finding redemption, and some just making brief cameos! Did you enjoy hearing these characters again – and are you happy with this list, or have we somehow missed one of your favourite recurring Terrahawks monsters? Let us know in the comments below!

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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