'It took five
seconds for me to decide whether marionettes were – as
my sister deemed them – 'creepy' or, as my parents
claimed, classic television. One blast of that famous
theme tune and I was captivated, utterly and
inexplicably. Alan's blond hair, his orange space ship
and his, er, creative dress sense had me
returning week after week to Tracy Island; just to make
sure that he never fell off a bridge without his
brothers there to catch him, that he didn't crash one of
his race cars, that he truly had escaped those giant
alligators that haunted me for days on end.
Yet, in the years
following my first sight of those brightly coloured rescue
machines, my preferences changed slightly. I started to see
the strings, the cardboard scenery and the miniature set, and
could not maintain my enthusiasm. I had hit, to quote Disney,
the age of not-believing.
Still, as I have come to
realise, my parents are usually right. Their 'classic
television' could not stay hidden away forever, and once more,
the strings were gone, leaving behind those Tracy boys and
their high octane adventures; Alan's hair was just as bright
as I remembered, and Thunderbird 3 had lost none of its
lustre, but my thoughts became far more occupied by the older
siblings. Virgil and his green machine: Scott and his silver
bullet. Even John and his omnipresent dependability leapt at
me from the screen, demanding my attention once more. And I
was happy to let them have it too.
Now fifteen years older,
debatably wiser, and with a growing cynicism for all things
'modern and gritty', the allure of honest, simple, decent
family television is tantalising. And with the discovery of
fanfiction, my world became filled with colour once more;
streaks of green, yellow, orange and silver, and my favourite,
blue, racing through my imagination, inspiring the writer in
me to grab these images from my childhood and reanimate them
as the living, breathing characters I believed them to be.
Although the TV series
may be in the past, stories and fiction mean that the Tracy
family are kept vital and thriving in the here and now. My
master plan is to wait and see what happens between now and
2065, in the hope that the world becomes all that Gerry
Anderson imagined it would. Until then, I guess reading and
writing adventures of the Thunderbirds cast will have to do.
Well, there are worse
ways to spend the next fifty seven years!'