XL5 (1962-1963) producers:
AP Films for ITC Worldwide
puppets: Supermarionation /
39 x 25mins b/w
It's 2062 and Fireball XL5 is the flagship of the
World Space Patrol. Piloted by
Colonel Steve Zodiac, this high-tech spacecraft
explores the farthest reaches of the
galaxy - or Sector 25 as it's been designated.
Steve Zodiac's crew includes the
glamorous Dr. Venus, her pet alien Zoony, a scientific
genius called Professor
"Matt" Matic, and Robert the robot who
is Steve's mechanical co-pilot. The XL5
is 300-foot long and has a detachable
nose cone called Fireball Junior, used for
landings while the main vessel remains in orbit.The
ship's equpment includes
jetmobiles, thruster packs and ray guns, and handy
oxygen pills enable the crew
to take to space without the need for breathing
apparatus or suits...
World Space Patrol have their headquarters
on Earth, upon an island in the middle
of the Pacific Ocean known as Space City.
The Fleet is under the authority of
Commander Zero and Lieutenant Ninety. The
XL5 blasts off for action by means
of a huge rail which harbours additional booster
rockets to propel the ship
skyward. The ship then returns vertically
and is craned into position once
more for relaunch.
"Fireball XL5" blasted off for action
on the back of "Supercar". It became the very
first British television series to be networked
in America. It's interesting to note
that although there are many colour publicity
photos around, the series itself was
a black and white presentation. It was the
next Anderson production, Stingray
which first broke the colour barrier. As with the
rest of the AP Films productions,
"Fireball" had a fantastic, memorable
theme tune from Barry Gray. Robert
the robot was memorable too; memorable for
having perhaps the most grating
electronic voice ever recorded! Of course, young
Robert, shouldn't be confused
with his famous movie counterpart Robbie the
Robot of "Forbidden Planet" fame.
Like all the Anderson series, the show is
still fondly recalled, and idolised
in certain sectors. A re-run on ITV in the
mid-80s brought the show to a new
generation. In the 1960s "Fireball XL5"
regularly featured in the pages of
TV Century 21, in comic strip tales, illustrated
stories and articles . In 2003,
independent comics publisher Misc! Mayhem
brought us some all-new comic
adventures to enjoy...
1. Planet 46 21.
Flight to Danger 2. Hypnotic Sphere 22.
Space Vacation 3. Planet of Plutonia 23.
Mystery of the TA2 4. Space Magnet 24.
Robert to the Rescue 5. The Doomed Planet 25.
The Forbidden Planet 6. Plant Man From Space 26.
The Granatoid Tanks 7. The Sun Temple 27.
Dangerous Cargo 8. Space Immigrants 28.
1875 9. Space Monster 29.
The Robot Fighter Mystery 10. Flying Zodiac
Drama at Space City 11. XL5 to H2O
Whistle for Danger 12. A Spy in Space 32.
Faster then Light 13. Space Pirates 33.
TheDay the Earth Froze 14. Convict in Space 34.
Invasion Earth 15. Space Pen 35.
The Ghosts of Space 16. The Last of the Zanadus 36.
Trial by Robot 17. The Wings of Danger 37.
Day in the Life of 18. The Triads a
Space General 19. Sabotage 38.
Space City Special 20. Prisoner on the 39.
XL5 on DVD
Any Fireball fan worth their salt really
should track down this
release. There's only one episode here, but the
transfer is a-mazing, and there's Four
Feather Falls and a
documentary on there too!
Meanwhile, we've had two DVD box-sets,
here in the UK. You can
still find the earlier Carlton release floating
around, but frankly, the
2009 Network edition blows its socks off
with its fab presentation,
and extras. Here are the two links:
Anderson assoc prod: Reg
Gerry Anderson, Alan Pattillo, David Elliott,
Harris, John Kelly
Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson,
Fennell, Anthony Marrioitt
John Read, Ian Struthers
art dir: Bob
music arranged by Charles Blackwell
(Colonel Steve Zodiac)
("Matt" Matic / Zoonie / Lieut. Ninety)
(Robert the Robot)
A hugely informative site from
Professor Austin Tate who
uses computer-generated "mesh"
images to illustrate its fine
pages. Features a detailed series overview,
video listing and sound files page before
into its computer image world. Plus,
for the really keen, it
includes a flight sim download of Fireball
to fly for yourself
- smart stuff, eh? And if the cg bug's
gone and bitten you,
you should hop over to his 'Supercar'
Here at "trekker" is
a single scrolling page introducing
the show, the characters and the
episodes with some
handy pics too...
Gerry Anderson's Fan Club feature "Fireball
XL5" in their
production index, with an episode listing,
plus of course,
oodles more Supermarionation material