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Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who

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Surprising Connections in Space and Time

Although it’s relatively well known that Gerry’s younger son Jamie is a fan of the classic Doctor Who series, you may not be aware of some other facts that connect Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who.

Terry Nation and Fireball XL5

During pre-production of Fireball XL5, the creator of the Daleks – Terry Nation – visited A.P. Films in Slough. During a chat about how on Earth the team were going to get the puppets in and out of space suits, Terry quipped: “Forget the spacesuits, Gerry – why don’t you just give them oxygen pills?”. Gerry stopped for a moment and then relected – “what a great idea!”. Pleased by the positive response, Terry said “Well Gerry, you can have that one as a gift from me”, and so the oxygen pill became a regular feature of the 60s Supermarionation show.

Jon Pertwee as Parker?


During the 1990s resurgence of of Gerry Anderson’s shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet, he met with the 3rd Doctor – Jon Pertwee. The two got along very well, and often spoke on the phone and wrote to one another. In one early letter, Jon offered his services to provide a voice on any future productions – particularly if a Thunderbirds movie was to go into production. Sadly the two never worked together despite Gerry’s intentions to ask him to provide a voice in the 1997 series – Lavender Castle.

Parker the Dalek

A better known fact – certainly amongst Doctor Who fans – is that David Graham (the voice of Parker, Brains, Kyrano and Gordon in Thunderbirds) also provided the voices of Daleks in The Daleks (1963–64), The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), The Chase (1965; in which he also provided Mechanoid voices) and The Daleks’ Master Plan (1965–66). He also performed in person as time-travel scientist Professor Kerensky with Catherine Schell (Maya in Space: 1999) in City of Death (1979), and appeared together with Shane Rimmer (best known as Scott Tracy) in The Gunfighters (1966)

Space in Nightmare of Eden

Multiple planet-scapes in the Tom Baker serial – Nightmare of Eden – were in fact re-used Space: 1999 backdrops. In fact 75% of them were Space: 1999 backdrops – the jungle-like planet Retha from The Full Circle, the sphere-covered Piri from Guardian of Piri and windswept Terra Nova from Matter of Life and Death.

The Sonic Screwdriver


The original Jon Pertwee sonic screwdriver was based on a physical prop which first appeared in the film Thunderbirds Are Go.

50th Anniversary Space: 1999 influences

Mike Tucker and the team behind the Gallifrey battle sequences revealed to the GA website that the design of the gun turrets and other features of the gallifreyan war effort were in homage to the vehicle and set designs in Space: 1999. Other design influences have been noted – such as the Sorella lamps that were a feature of an earlier TARDIS in the new Doctor Who episodes.


John Barrowman as Captain Jack “Scarlet” Harkness?

John Barrowman is a huge fan of Gerry Anderson’s series – particularly Space: 1999 and Captain Scarlet. John recently revealed to the GA website that one particular thrill of playing Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood, that he was finally able to realise his dream of playing Captain Scarlet. The two characters had a few notable similarities – particularly that both were indestructible!

Thunderbirds references

In Doctor Who Series 5 , in the epsides “The Lodger” (2010), the following line appears: “Hello, I’m Captain Troy Handsome of International Rescue, please state the nature of the emergency.”

And in Series 6 – “A Good Man Goes To War” (2011):  “Thank you, Parker. I won’t be needing you again tonight.” to which the response is: “Yes M’lady.”

More Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who Connections

Other notable Gerry Anderson cast and crew who have been part of the Doctor Who universe include Peter Wragg, Richard Gregory and Phil Ford. Zienia Merton (Space: 1999) also appeared in the currently lost Doctor Who story Marco Polo.

What other Gerry Anderson and Doctor Who connections do you know? We know there are even more!

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  • Justin Bannah

    I remember Prentis Hancock (Paul Morrow from Space: 1999 Season 1) being in at least one four-episode story (the title escapes me, but it was during the Tom Baker era).

    • Peter Vialls

      Four separate stories – Planet of the Daleks, Planet of Evil, The Ribos Operation and Spearhead from Space (albeit in the last one he’s only briefly seen as a reporter).

  • skaromedia

    The Space: 1999 episode The Lambda Factor was written by Terrance Dicks

  • Mr Ron

    A “job lot” of secondhand models and props were acquired from Century 21 circa 1973. Making many appearances in the 1970s in various guises. Particularly memorable are the reconditioned spaceships (and submarine!) in “Frontier in Space” and the UFO Moonbase command console in “Green Death”.

  • Mr Ron

    Harkness and Scarlet do indeed share a fair few similarities.. RTD ripping off Cloudbase in the S3 finales of WHO was shameless 🙂

    • I saw it less as a ‘rip-off’ than a tribute – which I’m guessing you did too, by the 🙂 😉

  • Albatorak

    Just another reason why Titan Comics (http://titan-comics.com/) should be approached to produce a series of new monthly comics or anthologies based on the various Anderson properties.

  • CJ List

    I never knew Terry Nation gave Gerry Anderson the idea to use Oxygen Pills in Fireball XL5. It’s Amazing what sort of information you can find on the site like this and the connections between Doctor Who and the various works that Gerry did over the years.

    I also thought that the Valiant airship in Doctor Who did look a lot like Cloudbase. Shame the Mysterons didn’t get involved in the battle as well. That would be a good idea for a comic book.

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