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Robert was the only character in an Anderson series which was actually voiced by Anderson, albeit with the aid of an artificial larynx. As Anderson describes in a deleted scene of Filmed in Supermarionation: Then, it was very, very difficult, if not impossible to produce the sort of robot voice which would have to be monotone.
So we found out that in Edinburgh University, they were creating the human voice artificially. They gave us a vibrator — of course, of course, everybody smiled at — not that kind of vibrator.
And it was a vibrator that people who had their larynx removed through cancer would be able to put the vibrator under their chin, and it made a constant buzz. And I was then able to modulate that by mouthing the words. It was not my voice. It was the sound of the vibrator which I modulated, and that it why, erm Robert always used to say: Zero is assisted by Lieutenant Ninety. For unspecified reasons, the storey, T-shaped Space City control tower rotates.
In one episode a character inadvertently makes it rotate fast enough for those inside to suffer vertigo.
Fireball XL5 patrolled Sector 25 of charted interstellar space although there only appeared to be three sectors marked on the space chart seen in the Space City control room. Fireball XL5 space ship[ edit ] The patrol space ship Fireball XL5 takes off utilising a mile-long launch rail culminating in a degree incline, or sky ramp, which, as Anderson claimed, was inspired by an old Soviet design, a concept also used in the film When Worlds Collide.
The ship is composed of two detachable sections. A winged nose cone, the Fireball Junior, contains the cockpit and separates from the main body to land on other worlds. The remainder of the ship contains a navigation bay, laboratory, lounge, workshops and separate crew quarters, together with fuel and the main rocket motors for interstellar travel. The main ship generally remains stationed in orbit after arriving at an alien planet. When Fireball XL5 returns to its base on Earth, Space City, the whole ship lands horizontally, without separating, using underside-mounted retro-rockets.
Although the series uses many classic, early 20th-century science fiction themes reminiscent of the space opera of E. Fireball XL5 is portrayed travelling around the galaxy at sub-light speeds until the episode Faster than Light , and the series observed few of the limitations of known science and rocketry. The crew never wore space suits: In common with many of the Anderson puppet shows, most of the important characters have American accents, with some notable exceptions: Venus is French, Jock the engineer is Scottish and some of the aliens have remarkably sedate British accents e.
Language issues between alien races and Earth were rarely encountered as most races appeared to speak perfect English. Theme song and merchandising[ edit ] Fireball XL5 had separate opening instrumental theme music and a closing theme song. In Britain, a two-page black-and-white Fireball XL5 comic strip appeared in the weekly TV Comic between and before moving to the newly launched weekly TV Century 21 comic in January for another five years.
The strips that appeared between and were in colour only reverting to black-and-white in Four hard cover Annual books were published in Britain by Collins between and featuring colour and black and white comic strip and text stories, while in the United States Gold Key Comics printed a single-issue colour comic book in The disc also includes an episode of Four Feather Falls and an extended version of the Wonderland of Stardust documentary released as a bonus on the Region B box set released earlier in Personally chosen to be part of his crew by Steve Zodiac and with 5 years of service on the XL5 according to the episode "The Last of the Zanadus" voiced by Sylvia Anderson.
Professor Matthew "Matt" Matic: An engineer, navigator and scientist of XL5 voiced by David Graham , speaking in a voice similar to the actor Walter Brennan. Venus from planet Colevio voiced by David Graham.
His vocabulary grew as the series progressed, often due to him mimicking other characters. Despite his gruff exterior, he cares deeply for his subordinates and respects them, especially Steve.
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Despite the seeming high tension between him and Zero, Zero called him "the best lieutenant Space City has. Recurring[ edit ] Jock Campbell: He often needs saving by the crew of XL5. Amazonia — a planet mentioned in the episode Prisoner on the Lost Planet as being a member of the United Planets Organization alongside Earth and which had banished its mad queen to an unnamed planet of active volcanoes. Aridan — the desert planet that once had water but is now an arid wilderness seen in the episode "Space Pirates" Conva — a regularly featured planet first introduced in the episode "Space Pen" as a planetwide prison for criminals and featured prominently in the episode "Convict in Space", in which one of its convicts escapes.
Granatoid — home of the Granatoid robots who appear in "The Granatoid Tanks" and described though not seen as having a completely technocratic society, led by a robot voiced by an uncredited Gerry Anderson. Granvenia — a planet mentioned as the destination of fuel tankers that are being diverted to the planet Suventa in the episode "Hypnotic Sphere".
Hedera — a planet rich in plant life that was visited in the episode "Plant Man from Space" and home of a rampant strain of Ivy called Hedera helixa. Herbos — a jungle planet seen briefly in the episode "Last of the Zanadus". Magneton — a planet visited in the episode "Space Magnet" and inhabited by the invisible Solars. Membrono — a planet that was nearly destroyed by another, unnamed planet in the episode "The Doomed Planet".
Minerra — a planet rich in radioactive minerals needed for earth resources seen in the episode "Space Pirates" Mirana — a perpetually burning planet seen in the episode "Hypnotic Sphere". Monotane — a desert planet inhabited by a space monster in "Space Monster". New Earth — a planet with a thin atmosphere and little gravity that was to be colonised by the crew of the spaceship Mayflower-3 in the episode Space Immigrants until spaceship Fireball XL7, sent out to prepare for the arrival of the Mayflower-3, was captured by megalomaniacal aliens.
Planet 46 — home of the Subterrains and a barren planet with an oxygen atmosphere; introduced in the pilot episode Planet 46 and appearing in numerous other episodes. Planet 73 — a planet colonised by Earth and attacked by the Granatoids in the episode The Granatoid Tanks. Planet 82 — a planet renamed Robotvia by Professor Al Himber.
Platonia — a planet featured in the episode Planet of Platonia and revealed to be rich in Platinum and inhabited by silver-skinned aliens who eat course meals. A trade agreement with Earth had created a power-struggle on the planet, which the XL5 crew was sent to calm. Rajusca — A desert planet featured in the episode Sun Temple, in which the Earth is attacked by sun worshipping Rajuscans living in the desert. Suventa — an ice-planet that is home to an unnamed brain-creature which hopes to use hypnotic satellites to take control of the universe.
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Triad — a planet featured in the episode, The Triads, which is almost identical to earth in every way, except for being three times its size. Consequently, everything on it, plants, people, animals, etc.
The gigantic human inhabitants are friendly, but are at least years behind earth technologically and were just attempting their first space launches when the crew of the XL5 visited.
Zanadu — a planet that featured a mysterious temple in the episode Last of the Zanadus Zofeit — a planet whose inhabitants, the Zofeits, were almost wiped out only two males surviving by a lone alien in the episode XL5 to H The crew of XL5 rescued the two survivors, who were evacuated to Earth.