Fireball XL5At World Space Patrol Headquarters in Space City, the alert is sounded when Colonel Zero’s long-range radar spots a massive atomic missile hurtling toward Earth. The ship closest to the missile’s course, Fireball XL5, is diverted from returning to Earth after a long exploratory mission to intercept the missile. Commander Steve Zodiac and his crew, Dr. Venus, Professor Matthew Matic, and trusty Robert the Robot, destroy the missile and trace its origins to Planet 46, discovering a secret lair and a stash of stolen diamonds. When Steve is captured trying to enter the hideout, Dr. Venus tries to return to Fireball, only to be captured herself. The alien creatures inhabiting Planet 46 have a backup missile with Earth’s name on it – and a diabolical plan to use Fireball XL5’s crew to deliver it…over Steve Zodiac’s dead body if necessary.

written by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson
directed by Gerry Anderson
music by Barry Gray / theme vocal by Don Spencer

Fireball XL5Cast: David Graham (Professor Matthew Matic / Lt. 90 / Subterrain 1 / Canaveral voice / Jodrell Bank voice), Sylvia Anderson (Doctor Venus), Paul Maxwell (Colonel Steve Zodiac / Okinawa Station voice), John Bluthal (Commander Zero / Subterrain Leader / Subterrain 2), Gerry Anderson (Robert the Robot)

Notes: This is the first episode of the last black & white Supermarionation series, introducing a new cast of puppet characters as well as concepts that would carry forward through many episodes of the series, including Fireball XL5“oxygen pills” that would enable un-space-suited life forms to breathe in the vacuum of space (and, amazingly, not succumb to the extreme cold and pressure loss of the void – amazing stuff, those oxygen pills). Gerry Anderson performed an uncredited function in every episode of the series, providing the buzzy voice of Robert the Robot using an electrical palate device that – ironically – fellow voice actor David Graham would utilize in later years to voice the early versions of the Cybermen in Doctor Who.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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