Wednesday, 28 March 2012

terrahawks are go!

Blah, blah, children's programmes, blah, blah. Bo-ring. And yet, until Toby Davies reminded me yesterday, I had forgotten Terrahawks, which was about an elite task force that protects Earth from alien invasion (which basically means someone called Zelda). It was Gerry Anderson's last puppet show. From the Wikipedia page:

Terrahawks (technically, the Earth Defense Squadron) is
  • Doctor "Tiger" Ninestein (real first name unknown): The team's leader, so named as he is the ninth clone created by Dr. Gerhard Stein. Somewhat bloodthirsty, his first reaction to alien contact is often to blast it out of the sky. In between alien attacks, he's often seen trying (and failing) to beat the high score on his favourite video game. Ninestein's catchphrase is, "I have a theory...", and when frustrated he often cries, "Flaming thunderbolts!" If he is killed, he can be replaced within 24 hours by another of the nine clones; his nickname of "Tiger" comes from the myth of cats similarly having "nine lives". Tiger's voice was provided by Jeremy Hitchin which according to Hitchen is done in somewhat of an imitation of Jack Nicholson.
  • Zeroids: Spherical robots that perform ground operations and serve as the firepower for the Spacehawk. There are two leaders among the Zeroids who exhibit human-like capacity for thought and emotion (much to Ninestein's annoyance); Sergeant Major Zero (voiced by Windsor Davies), commands the Zeroids stationed on Earth, while Space Sergeant 101 (voiced by Ben Stevens) directs the Zeroids stationed aboard Spacehawk. Other Zeroids are given distinct personality traits of their own, such as Dix-huit (French for the number eighteen), who speaks French and has a handlebar moustache, and 55, who bobs up and down in rhyme. They can increase their mass (becoming as heavy as a black hole), which allows them to perform devastating body-crash manoeuvres. This is often accompanied by a cry of "St-roll on!"
I re-watched the first episode. Windsor Davies is chippy about robot rights. Space Sergeant 101 is the campest thing you've ever seen. This was a show with some things going on. Here are Zelda's henchmen:

  • Cy-star, pronounced "Si-ster." Zelda's "sister" is not very bright, but is endlessly bubbly and optimistic. Frequently she gets so excited her hair slides around her head, leading Zelda to shout, in one episode, "One of these days I'm going to nail that to your skull!" Her voice was provided by Anne Ridler.
  • Yung-Star. Zelda's "son," Yung-Star is, like his "aunt," not very intelligent—he mistakes the term "nincompoop" for a compliment. However, he is also cowardly, lazy and greedy, although he is occasionally sent to accompany a monster. His catchphrase, uttered slowly in a revolting guttural voice, was "Great Steaming Lava!" Strangely enough, despite being an android, Yung-Star is partial to bowls of "granite crunchies" - rocks in a slimy green goo; he consumes these frequently, leading Zelda to call him gluttonous since, as stated, the Guk androids need only to consume small amounts of silicate minerals to sustain their functions. He was voiced by Ben Stevens.
  • It-Star is also known as "Goybirl" or "Birlgoy," since Cy-Star never decided on what gender this construct would be. It-Star is a "baby" android mothered by Cy-Star near the end of the series. It-Star is a hermaphrodite with two minds and voices, a young girl's voice when "innocent," and a male voice with a German accent when plotting. The female voice was done by Anne Ridler while the male voice was by Jeremy Hitchen.
I have been told history documentary pitches for BBC with wildly less complexity than this are doomed because they 'too clever'.

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