|Strangely risqué picture on the left there|
Fireball XL5 contains many elements that might seem odd to viewers of today - one of the most noticeable is the truly bizarre character design. Some of the faces on the show's human characters are thoroughly grotesque, and wouldn't look amiss leering down from the buttresses of a Medieval church. Take, for example, Ken Johnson of XL2 and his extreme case of mumps:
Not to mention Lieutenant Ninety and his eyebrows, which even put Ghost Squad's Donald Wolfit to shame:
Fortunately the puppets of future Supermarionation productions would be slightly less nightmare-inducing.
As with Thunderbirds and Stingray it's a bit galling that in a British-made show most of the main characters talk in American accents (I suppose British people in space just didn't seem quite as glamorous). Some deeply odd American accents in some cases: XL5's boffin Professor Matt Matic sounds like a Wild West prospector (I'm hoping the word "dagnabbit" will escape those curiously sculpted lips in a future episode). The exceptions are Venus, with her husky French accent (provided by Gerry Anderson's wife Sylvia) and the ship's robot Robert, whose glum English voice (provided by Mr Anderson himself, using an "electronic larynx") makes him seem a likely inspiration for Marvin the Paranoid Android.
And finally, here are some more pictures of the Space Monster, just because I like him so much.
|Bye bye for now!|
And to play us out, here's the tune at the top of this week's hit parade. It's Cliff and the Shadows with "The Next Time":