Many of the voice artists heard in Gerry Anderson’s television shows made frequent appearances in other TV series and films. Stars such David Graham and Shane Rimmer became synonymous with voicing the roles of Parker and Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds, despite their many other acting credits. However, some of the voice artists stepped away from Supermarionation and the acting profession entirely after their time voicing these iconic characters and took on different careers, with their voices leaving a lasting impression on millions of people.
Len Jones, now 72, voiced the character of pint-sized hero Joe McClaine in all 30 episodes of Gerry Anderson’s television series Joe 90, which first aired in the UK on 29 September 1968. At the time, Jones was a 16-year-old child actor who had already appeared in television series such as Z-Cars and Adam Adamant Lives!, and his film credits included Seventy Deadly Pills and Sky West and Crooked. After Joe 90, Jones went on to appear in hits such as The Adventures of Black Beauty, Spring and Port Wine, Straw Dogs and the children’s television series Here Come the Double Deckers. Jones’ last known acting credits were in 1975 with appearances in episodes of Survivors and Dixon of Dock Green, when he would have been around 24. Since then, little is known about Jones, his whereabouts and what he went on to do.
Now a special book is being released to celebrate the TV series Joe 90. Project 90: Technical Operations Manual is being released on 15 July 2023 and promises to unravel the hidden world of the World Intelligence Network’s top-secret Project 90. The hardback 128-page guide explores the comprehensive details of Project 90 – from approved vehicles and state-of-the-art equipment, featuring over 100 new illustrations and new images of vehicles, to skilled personnel and gripping mission case studies. This exclusive information is certified and classified, offering a rare glimpse into the hidden realm of secret intelligence.
Jamie Anderson, Director of Anderson Entertainment, said “I’m very excited for Joe 90 fans to be able to get their hands on a copy of this stunning book. It is a must-have collectable for anyone fascinated by the mysterious world of Joe 90 with its espionage and secret agents. Before the release of the book in July, I would love to be able to track down Len Jones, the actor who gave Joe McClaine his voice. Len seems to have disappeared from the world of film and television, and I would be thrilled to meet him, present him with a copy of the book and chat with him about what it was like to ‘be’ Joe. The last I heard was from a radio interview in 2006, when Len was living in the Southeast somewhere. But that was 17 years ago, so who knows where he is now.
I’ve been known to be a bit of a critic of Joe 90; it certainly isn’t my favourite of my father’s works. As a kid, I always found Joe to be quite irritating. However, I now finally find myself being able to watch it and appreciate the craft and the imagination that went into it. Technically, Joe 90 is yet another step up from Captain Scarlet, and the characterisation is much improved. If we can find Len, then I think it could complete my reconciliation with Joe 90.”
A feature in the Bolton News from 2005 states that Len lived in Feltham near London at that time and gave up acting aged 23 to work as a London bus driver. In a radio interview with Christian O’Connell for Virgin Radio’s breakfast show in June 2006, Christian was told by a friend of Len’s that Len was working in a warehouse at the time.
Jamie Anderson concluded “if Len Jones is reading this, or if anyone knows where Len is, please get in touch. I’d be so excited to finally meet Len, 55 years after being the voice of Joe McClaine, and talk with him about what it was like. I know that there are many thousands of fans who would also love to know more about Len and his time working with my father on Joe 90. I’m appearing at the Brit Sci Fi Festival in Leicester in June, talking about the new book Project 90: Technical Operations Manual, and it would be an absolute honour to have Len attend as our most special guest, if he can possibly make it.”
Are you Len Jones, or do you know where Len Jones is? If so, please get in touch with Jamie and the team at Anderson Entertainment: [email protected]
Project 90: Technical Operations Manual is released on 15 July 2023 and is available to pre-order now from the Official Gerry Anderson Store.