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British TV series


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TUGS          (1988)
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producers: TUGS Ltd for Clearwater Features
                       and TVS Television
     animation: radio-controlled models
       episodes: 13 episodes
                        (9 x 15mins / 4 x 20mins)

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    In Bigg City Port there are two rival tug companies. The Star Tugs are a fleet of
    seven chuffing tugs owned by Captain Star They include Ten Cents, Big Mac, O.J.,
    Top Hat, Warrior, Hercules and Sunshine. Then there are the Z Stacks, owned by
    Captain Zero. This moody, black-hulled band includes Zorran, Zebedee, Zak, Zug,
    and Zip. The two companies are constantly competing for work, with the
    malcontented Z Stacks regularly using underhand tactics to secure a job.

    In and around the two tug teams are various naval, harbour and river vessels too,
    like Lillie Lightship, a midget submarine called Grampus, and Billy Shoepack the
    alligator tug.

    This splendid production came from the same creative team who brought us
    Thomas the Tank Engine and the series utilizes the same techniques of bringing
    radio-controlled and hand-manipulated models into life. The show was filmed at
    Shepperton studios with an array of handsome model boats and the production
    quality is top-notch: a step up from Thomas, indeed. It's just a shame that the
    series never made it beyond its initial run of thirteen episodes...

    Series producer, Robert D Cardona already had extensive live-action films and
    series credits to his name prior to both "Thomas" and "TUGS", these included
    the 1969 series "The Flaxton Boys" and the actually-rather-good remake of
    "The Four Feathers" from 1977 (okay, The Hound is biased, his father
    was the fight arranger on the film). Robert returned to port late in the 1990's
    with "Theodore Tugboat", which has proven very popular in America.

Notice how the title should be spelt in capitals. So it's "TUGS", not "Tugs".

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    Star Tugs                            Z Stacks

     Ten Cents                                     Zorran
     Stack No.1 - Harbour Switcher         Stack No.1 - Harbour Tug

     Big Mac                                        Zebedee
     Stack No.2 - Harbour Tug                Stack No.2 - Harbour Tug

     O.J.                                               Zak
     Stack No.3 - Paddle-wheel              Stack No.3 - Harbour Tug
     Harbour Tug
     Top Hat                                        Stack No.4 - Harbour Switcher
     Stack No.4 - Railway Tug
     Warrior                                        Stack No.5 - Harbour Switcher
     Stack No.5 - Harbour Tug

     Stack No.6 - Harbour Switcher

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     Tugs episodes
     Sunshine          Up River
     Pirate              High Tide
     Trapped           Warrior
     Ghosts             Bigg Freeze
     High Winds       Munitions
     Jinxed             Regatta

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     created by Robert D Cardona and David Mitton


executive prod:

executive prod

in charge:


art director:
set design:
special effects:
supervising editor:
sound editor:
sound recording:
story coordinator:
drama consultant:
assistant editors:

model crew:

camera crew
& focus:

prod accountant:
special camera
& lenses:
Tugs design:

David Mitton, Chris Tulloch
Robert D Cardona
Nigel Pickard
Dicki Bramber
David Mitton, Robert D Cardona,
Chris Tulloch, Tarquin Cardona,
Gloria Tors, Roy Russell
Junior Campbell, Mike O'Donnell
Terry Permane
Chris Tulloch
Robert Gauld-Galleries
Ross King, David Eves
Phil Sanderson
Pete Best
Brian Saunders
Neil Cracker
Roy Russel

Adam Masters, David Hitchcock
David Relfe, Graham Riddell,
Mark Dorsett, Jeremy King,
David Greaves
Mickey Flynn
John Attwell, David Watkins,
Paul Cave
Giles Christopher, Nigel Permane
Stan Burridge
Howard Winter
Clearwater Periscope System
Lee Lighting
D.P.B. Models & Effects
Patrick Allen (Captain Star)
Chris Tulloch (Zorran)

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     On the web

      Bigg City Port
      An excellent fan site full of info on the series, details of merchandise
      and tie-ins accompanying the show, a "TUGS on DVD" campaign a
      little chat with Chris Tulloch and a forum...

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© Clearwater Features / TVS / F2011