Every team needs their leader, and with teamwork forming such a prominent theme in many of Gerry Anderson’s productions, some strong characters have taken their places in ‘the responsibility seat’ to conduct the operations of International Rescue, the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, Spectrum, and many more. Let’s take a look at my top ten leaders that have to use quick thinking and nerves of steel to take command in the perilous situations that every Gerry Anderson production provides.
10. Commander Wilbur Zero – Fireball XL5 – Voiced by John Bluthal
At the top of the World Space Patrol, Commander Zero has a lot to deal with. Lieutenant Ninety often bears the brunt of Zero’s short temper which is sparked not only by the burdens of leadership, but troublesome family matters and the zany antics of Zoonie the Lazoon. Zero certainly has his fair share of problems but always appreciates the work of his top astronauts, including Colonel Steve Zodiac.
9. Captain Thrice – Lavender Castle – Voiced by David Holt
In his quest to find the illusive Lavender Castle, Captain Thrice takes command of the Paradox and its diverse crew. Thrice is aided by his trusty Walking Stick who is able to talk with the power of Lavender Castle. He is a knowledgeable explorer and an expert pilot but can occasionally make mistakes which put the Paradox crew in danger from the evil Dr. Agon.
8. The Bishop – The Secret Service – Voiced by Jeremy Wilkin
The Bishop is a figure cloaked in mystery. Based in Whitehall he is a high-ranking figure in British Intelligence supervising Father Stanley Unwin on his missions for British Intelligence Service Headquarters Operation Priest (B.I.S.H.O.P). Little is known about The Bishop but with charm, sophistication and using his knowledge of the key players in international espionage he coolly co-ordinates Unwin and Matthew Harding on their assignments.
7. Shane Weston – Joe 90 – Voiced by David Healy
Shane Weston serves as the chief of W.I.N London and oversees the perilous missions of Joe 90. Weston is a man who knows the ins and outs of international espionage and always has the right man, or boy, for the job. Despite some fairly unforgivable wordplay and puns, he has the respect of his top agents and isn’t afraid of confrontation with those who question him.
6. Commander John Koenig – Space: 1999 – Played by Martin Landau
When the moon blasted out of Earth’s orbit on September 13th 1999, John Koenig maintained command of Moonbase Alpha on it’s odyssey through unexplored space. Koenig has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring the men and women living and working on the moon are able to survive and find a new home in the vast emptiness of space. He is passionate and resolute in defending the Alphans from all the threats the universe has to offer.
5. Commander Ed Straker – UFO – Played by Ed Bishop
Overcoming all personal and professional odds, Ed Straker is in charge of S.H.A.D.O, the front-line in defending earth from alien attack. His military responsibilities have been a heavy burden on him and have caused the break up of his family and the death of his son. Straker is judicious and carefully places his trust in his colleagues whilst being prepared to discipline firmly when required.
4. Colonel White – Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons – Voiced by Donald Gray
Colonel White is the mighty commander-in-Chief of Spectrum, co-ordinating the organisation’s fight against the Mysteron menace. White expects ruthless discipline from all personnel but is also confident in his officers’ capabilities out in the field. He pushes his agents to the limit, with Captain Scarlet and Blue occasionally challenging the Colonel’s authority, usually to no avail.
3. Commander Sam Shore – Stingray – Voiced by Ray Barrett
Commander Shore is the dominating voice of the Marineville control room which oversees the operation of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol. Following an accident in his sub while guarding a cobalt mining rig, Commander Shore is bound to a hoverchair. Despite his often gruff demeanor when commanding the likes of Troy Tempest, Shore is a caring father to Atlanta and also has a twinkle of fun occasionally.
2. Doctor Tiger Ninestein – Terrahawks – Voiced by Jeremy Hitchen
Dr. Stein conducted an experiment many years ago to see how nine identical clones might grow up differently. Tiger Ninestein was one of the results of that experiment and went on to become the leader of the Terrahawks who combat the threat of invasion from evil android queen, Zelda. His situation is unique. If he dies, he will be replaced by one of his clones who adopt his personality traits. Ninestein does not suffer fools gladly and objects to having his authority questioned. However, by expecting the unexpeced at every turn, Ninestein is able to second guess the intentions of Zelda and stop her from wiping out humanity. He may be stern, but Ninestein knows how to utilise his team to get results.
1. Jeff Tracy – Thunderbirds – Voiced by Peter Dyneley
Who else could take the number one spot but the man at the top of International Rescue, Jeff Tracy. Following the death of his wife, Jeff, along with his five sons, dedicated himself to setting up an organisation that uses incredible technology to save lives in impossible situations. Jeff co-ordinates operations and advises the boys with a cool head and a paternal instinct. He takes difficult decisions when necessary, setting a good example to the rest of the family when they have to take his place in command. There is nothing more exciting in the history of television than Jeff Tracy uttering the immortal words – “Thunderbirds Are Go!”
Who have I missed out? Do you agree or disagree with my top ten leaders? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.