Sunday 19th June marks Father’s Day in the UK, the perfect occasion to reminisce through happy childhood memories with the old man or to remember him fondly if he is no longer with us.
Some younger fans may have been introduced the the world of Gerry Anderson by a father who was a fan in his youth. Indeed, there are no shortage of strong father figures in many of Gerry’s shows.
In the spirit of Father’s Day, let’s take a look back at some of those legendary dads!
****Possible episode spoilers ahead – reader discretion advised!****
Commander Wilbur Zero
Wilbur Zero, father to Jonathan Zero, is a man who is frequently driven around the bend (although it is often due to Lieutenant Ninety’s ambitious nature rather than the mischief of his son!) As Commander of Space City, headquarters of the World Space Patrol, Zero’s high pressure job means late hours, difficult decisions and rotating through 360 degrees for the majority of his day.
Let’s see, what else? Well, he has to keep track of thirty XL-class patrol ships, defend the Earth from hostile aliens and tolerate the tootie schemes of Professor Matic and the unpredictable antics of Zoonie! Any man who can do all this and still have time for his son has got to be a real boss father!
Commander Sam Shore
Like Zero, his counterpart in the World Space Patrol, Sam Shore is in charge of a major defense organisation, specifically the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP). However, unlike Wilbur Zero, the Shore family have had to endure two tragic events. Firstly, Sam’s wife passed away not long after their daughter Atlanta was born and as a result, Sam raised Atlanta alone, having never re-married.
The second major tragedy occurred when Sam’s submersible was attacked while on a patrol mission. During a heroic effort to repel the alien invader, Shore rammed the enemy craft, but in doing so suffered severe injuries and permanently lost the use of his legs. This was no deterrent to the man’s courage, as he later rose to command the WASP HQ at Marineville, with his daughter Atlanta as his lieutenant.
Multi-millionaire, former astronaut and head of the International Rescue organisation, Jeff Tracy has lead one heck of an interesting life, but that’s not even the most exciting part! Jeff is of course the father of the legendary Tracy brothers – Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon and Alan. Raising five sons would be challenging for any parent, but even more so for Jeff after the tragic death of his wife Lucille in a freak avalanche while the family was on vacation.
Determined not to allow anyone else to share his loss, Jeff set up International Rescue in order to save lives in situations that proved impossible for conventional emergency teams. His commanding presence, dry wit and an encouraging word for anyone in need makes Jeff a great commander, but his devotion to his sons whether they’re on a mission or safe at home is what makes him a great father.
Commander Ed Straker
At first glance. SHADO’s chief appears to be a cold, calculating commander, focused entirely on his job. Indeed, that is true, Straker is a man with little time for anything other than the very serious business of the job at hand – preventing aliens from invading the Earth. However, it wasn’t always the case…
As a former American Air Force Colonel, Straker was happily married to his wife Mary until the setting up of SHADO put so much strain on the marriage that the couple divorced. Straker had one son, John, who was gravely injured when he was struck by a car and taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Using all of his SHADO resources, Straker covertly arranged for a high-speed transport to fly a vital drug from America to England in order to save John’s life. Unknown to him, a UFO had landed in Ireland and Colonel Alec Freeman, having no knowledge of Straker’s personal crisis, had the transporter diverted to investigate. As a result, John died from his injuries, leaving Straker emotionally crushed.
Captain Rexton Podley
The Creon captain of the 88th Precinct orbiting planet Altor, Captain Podley is outwardly a no-nonsense officer and a stickler for discipline. However, those who know him well will tell you that the Captain has a gentler side, particularly when it comes to his daughter, Samina, of whom he is immensely proud.
Samina was inspired by her father and joined the police force with the 38th Precinct. During one operation, Podley recruited Samina to work undercover with Officer Jack Haldane to infiltrate a suspicious order of Pyrists. At one point it was believed that Samina had been killed on the assignment and Podley, overcome with grief, was moments away from breaking the news to his wife when Lieutenant Brogan revealed that Samina had faked her death in order to secure Officer Haldane’s deep cover infiltration into the heart of the conspiracy.
Sir Charles Grey
Sir Charles Grey, better known to Spectrum colleagues as Skybase’s commanding officer, Colonel White is the proud father of Victoria Grey. A former MI6 chief, Grey was promoted to become the supreme commander of Spectrum at its inception and has served in the position ever since. Although he doesn’t often have the luxury of spending time with Victoria and her mother, Diana, there has not been a single day that has passed when he has not thought of them.
The Colonel’s family mean the world to him. On one occasion, when Victoria was kidnapped as part of a Mysteron plot, White left Skybase without an escort in direct violation of Spectrum’s security protocol. His cool nerves, quick thinking and the decision to recruit Scarlet and Blue off the record played a large part in Victoria’s safe release.
Distraught by the realization that Victoria’s experiences would leave massive emotional scarring, White ordered that her short term memory be erased, leaving her none the worse for her experiences apart from the occasional bad dream. It is because of his love for Victoria and her mother that the Colonel chooses to remain commander of Spectrum – to protect them from whatever the Mysterons plan for the people of Earth.
Did we miss anyone? Who’s your favourite father figure in a Gerry Anderson series?
Comment and let us know!