After our list of top 5 explosions from the Gerry Anderson puppet shows you’d naturally expect us to do the same for the live action explosions – but if anything this list was even harder to compile since Gerry’s explosions only seemed to get bigger and boomier with each passing series. Nevertheless, we’ll give it a try – here are our top five favourite explosions from Gerry’s live action shows and films!
#5 – Space Precinct – Deadline
Despite the best efforts of the Precinct 88 team the residents of Demeter City still witnessed several catastrophic disasters across Space Precinct’s twenty-four episode run, and easily the most spectacular is the destruction of the floating Blade Runner-inspired dirigible at the end of Deadline. This occurs when henchman Pike attempts to elude Orrin and Romek’s pursuit by increasing speed and accidentally colliding with the vehicle he and his partner Rik had been operating from. The resulting explosion not only destroys the dirigible but also a sizable chunk of the city too, although that’s largely incidental.
#4 – UFO – Flight Path
The Aliens are coming – and they’re after Arthur Daley! In this exciting sequence from Flight Path George Cole’s Paul Roper is on the run when the Aliens suspect him of passing them incorrect information and open fire on his car. The blast forces him off the road, up an embankment – and straight onto a petrol station, which (of course) explodes in a massive fireball. It’s a beautifully executed sequence and by far the highlight of the episode, even if we have to wonder how exactly Roper managed to emerge from a literal inferno with only minor cuts and bruises.
#3 – Space:1999 – War Games
Space:1999 does the ‘everything gets destroyed but it’s all okay in the end’ trope, and it’s a gem. The blitzing of Moonbase Alpha is a spectacular sequence of effects shots, but our favourite is easily the destruction of an Eagle as it climbs over the Main Mission building. The explosion is nothing standout even within this episode but what sells it is the scene in Main Mission that follows, as falling debris rains down and the interior set is utterly trashed. It gives us an instant indication that this time things are going to go very badly for the Alphans indeed…
#2 – Doppelganger
The finale of Gerry Anderson’s first and only live action sci-fi movie builds to one of the most spectacular effects sequences in any of his productions. Glenn Ross crash-lands his Dove at the base of a rocket silo, and then…well, the bangs only get bigger from there. As the silo is ripped apart an actual tornado of fire engulfs the Eurosec administration building, which is then crushed when a fuel tank lands on top of it – before exploding, obviously. This all culminates in the glorious shot of the rocket finally tipping over and exploding with such force that you almost fear for your safety watching it.
#1 – Space:1999 – Breakaway
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that this would take the top spot for live action explosions. The destruction of Nuclear Waste Disposal Area 2, the catastrophe that breaks the Moon out of Earth orbit and hurls it off into deep space, is a spectacularly realised effects sequence featuring multiple explosions of various sizes and destructive powers…all culminating in that one final iconic shot of the dark side of the moon being consumed in a fireball that rises over the entire base. Superb.
Once again we apologise if we have overlooked any of your favourite live action explosions – there are just far too many to choose from! Please let us know in the comments below of any bangs you think are even bigger and better than those seen here!