Sunday, 6 September 2015

Theme Time : Barry Gray, Don Spencer - Fireball XL5

Fireball XL5 was a science fiction themed children's television show following the missions of the titular spaceship, commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. 

Produced from 1962 to 1963 by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the show used their Supermarionation - a form of puppetry that they first introduced in Four Feather Falls and Supercar - and ran for 39 half hour episodes in black and white. Anderson thought that Castrol XL, a brand of motor oil, had an interesting sound which led to the series title.

Set between the years 2062 and 2063, the series featured the exploits of Fireball XL5's crew, including Steve Zodiac, Doctor Venus, Professor Matthew Matic, co-pilot Robert the Robot and Zoony, as they patrolled Sector 25 of charted interstellar space. Anderson was inspired by an old USSR design for the spaceship itself and the closing theme of the series, written by Barry Gray and sung by Don Spencer became a hit in the UK - be warned, its incredibly catchy!

The song was also included in the Ray Burdis and Dominic Anciano, comedy thriller from 2000, Love Honour and Obey when Sean Pertwee and Trevor H Laird's South London gangsters perform it on karaoke, clearly having a whale of a time!


  1. Wonderful. Although my Gerry Anderson memories really kick in with Stingray and Thunderbirds, I do just about recall seeing Fireball XL5 and Supercar. TV at its best. Love that annual.

    1. Growing up in the 80s I lived on repeats of Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet as well as the new Anderson stuff of the time like Terrahawks. I'm not altogether sure I've ever seen an ep of Fireball XL5 but I LOVE that theme tune!