Hi, all. Can anyone help me track down this TV show I half-remember from my childhood? It would have been broadcast in the UK in the early 80s, probably 1980 or 1981, during the day and aimed at children. It was a science fiction show performed by puppets / marionettes BUT I'm almost certain that it WASN'T a Gerry Anderson production (I've been through them all and none of them ring any bells). In fact, I seem to recall that it had a Japanese feel to it, but I could be mistaken.
The only part of the show I remember clearly is one episode where one of the good guys -- maybe the main character, the "captain" figure -- who had a beard, was poisoned by a praying mantis as big as a man, sent by the baddies, and died. (This kind of thing really effects you as a kid.)
I also think that the goodies had a spaceship which turned into a robot (or possibly a couple of spaceships which combined and then turned into a robot).
Googling various keywords from above doesn't provide any hints, so any clues you can give me would be brilliant because this has been driving me mad for years now.
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