One of the key themes in most Gerry Anderson series is how technology can make our lives better – and how easily it can go wrong! When it comes to creating artificial life however the Anderson shows make it seem easy, although the results don’t always turn out exactly how their creators hoped! Here are five of our favourite Gerry Anderson robots and androids from across the Anderson universe.
#5 – Slomo
This robotic secretarial assistant or RSA unit was one of the very first characters devised for Space Precinct (an earlier version also appears in the 1986 Space Police pilot alongside Shane Rimmer’s Lieutenant Brogan), and was always on hand to run various errands for the Precinct 88 team. Their influence appears to have helped Slomo develop a personality of his own, and he is multi-talented enough to do everything from impersonating voices to disarming bombs.
While some older fans may find Slomo irritating he’s certainly handy in a crisis – just don’t ask him to use the stairs…
#4 – Robert the Robot
While the robotic co-pilot of Fireball XL5 may be lacking in many areas – conversational ability and technical reliability being just two of them – he easily deserves a spot on this list thanks to several moments of unexpected heroism. We’re thinking in particular of the episode Robert to the Rescue, in which Robert is absolutely unstoppable in his efforts to rescue the brainwashed XL5 crew from the wandering ‘Planet Matic’.
His catchphrase “On our way ‘ome!” is also one that sticks in the minds of the show’s fans, with his voice being provided by none other than Gerry Anderson himself!
#3 – Dick Spanner
A robotic private detective living in the Big Pear on a parallel world not far from here, Dick Spanner is unique among the other robots on this list in that he doesn’t appear to have been built with any particular skills or function. His work as a private detective introduces him to all kinds of bizarre characters and situations, and yet he manages to get through his cases on sheer luck despite things never quite turning out how he was hoping!
Yet for many Anderson fans Dick more than earns a place on this list, thanks to the show’s outrageous humour and the world-weary performance of the legendary Scott Tracy himself Shane Rimmer as the title character.
#2 – Zelda’s family
This wonderfully dysfunctional family of androids from the planet Guk provided a unique mix of horror and comedy throughout Terrahawks’ run. Led by the witchlike Zelda, to whom many unfortunate women are frequently compared online, the rest of her family was no less grotesque. These included her gluttonous and exceptionally stupid son Yung-star, her fashion-obsessed sister Cy-star (whose blonde wig had a habit of falling off at inopportune moments),and her grandchild It-star whose personality alternated between that of a timid little girl and a Germanic male mastermind.
Together this awesome foursome launched one devious plan after another in their continual efforts to “destroy the wretched Terrahawks and enslave the pathetic humans!”
#1 – The Zeroids
We couldn’t not give the top spot to the Zeroids, the loyal army of spherical robots who function as both the firepower of Spacehawk and the main military force of the Terrahawks’ ground operations. Led by the fearless Sergeant Major Zero and the fussy Space Sergeant 101 each Zeroid exhibits a unique and distinctive personality, much to Doctor Ninestein’s irritation! Other frequently seen (or heard) Zeroids include the moustachioed French-accented 18 (or Dix Huit), Kate Kestrel’s personal assistant 55 who speaks mostly in rhyme, the stuttering 21, the jolly hockey sticks 35, the Indian-accented Doctor Killjoy and his Scottish nurse. With this multitude of memorable personalities, along with a simple yet effective design and much memorable bouncing and rolling, the Zeroids are a definite highlight of Terrahawks that still works brilliantly today!
Do you agree with our list of top Gerry Anderson robots and androids? If you’d like to mention a robot or similar we’ve not included here, mention them in the comments below!