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    Thunderbirds

    Thunderbirds

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    ITV (ended 1966)
    In 2065, former astronaut and millionaire Jeff Tracy forms an secret organization named International Rescue. Its mission is to intervene when human life is at threat and nobody else is able to help. They're based on a small tropical island in the Pacific. While it appears to all the world as a reclusive millionaire's retreat, complete with luxurious hillside house (appropriately in the International Style of architecture) and swimming pool, hidden beneath the house and inside a cliff face are various facilities for the enormous complex where their equipment is built, maintained and stored. The equipment, including the specialized Thunderbird vehicles, is designed and assembled by Brains, a brilliant engineer fiercely loyal to Jeff. Supporting the team is Lady Penelope, a famous society figure who secretly acts as their London operative, assisted by her butler, Parker. The five Thunderbird craft are piloted by each of Jeff's five sons, all named after members of America's Mercury program: - Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, named after Scott Carpenter. This ramjet-powered plane is their fastest aircraft, always first on the scene to assess the situation and coordinate the rescue. - Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil (after Virgil "Gus" Grissom." A fan favorite, Thunderbird 2 is the heavy lift air transport, responsible for carrying all manner of large and bulky machinery to rescue sites. - Thunderbird 3 is piloted by Alan (after Alan Shepard) or John (after John Glenn,) depending on who is on station in Thunderbird 5. 3 is the spaceship for International Rescue. - Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon (after Gordon Cooper), is a mini-submarine usually carried to sites inside Thunderbird 2. - Thunderbird 5 is manned by John and Alan on rotating monthly shifts. It's an orbital space platform where all communications around the world can be monitored and issues alerts to Jeff whenever trouble arises. International Rescue insists on complete secrecy. Their identities aren't known to anyone outside the organization and photography of their equipment is forbidden. Thunderbirds was produced by Gerry Anderson and was the culmination of his Supermarionation process, which used marionette puppets instead of live actors. Originally intended for children, the show still has a devoted fanbase of adult viewers, both in the United Kingdom where it originated and in the United States, where it was syndicated in the 1960s and 70s. The series spawned three theatrical features. Thunderbirds Are Go! and Thunderbird Six were produced soon after the series left the air, although neither met with box office success. In 2004, a live action feature of the same name was made without Anderson's involvement. It drew scathing comments from professional movie reviewers who compared it unfavorably to the original show.moreless
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    UFO

    UFO

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    ITV (ended 1973)
    Around 1970, the British and American governments receive incontrovertible evidence that aliens exist and are abducting humans. In cooperation with the United Nations, they set up a secret worldwide organization, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation), which operates in the 1980s. With resources and equipment under the seas, in the air, on land, in orbit and on the Moon, SHADO's purpose is to stop the alien incursions and find out why the aliens want humans.

    SHADO is based in England, with headquarters beneath Harlington-Straker Studios, a working motion picture studio constructed purely as a cover for SHADO. Its uppermost echelon was made up of a commander and colonels.

    Commander Ed Straker - SHADO's commander in chief, involved in the UFO program even before SHADO was formed. Formerly a USAF colonel, he sacrificed ten years of his life to get SHADO up and running. His cover is as chief executive of Harlington-Straker Studios.

    Colonel Alec Freeman - A friend of Straker from military service. When SHADO was first approved, Freeman became its first recruit on Straker's recommendation.

    Colonel Paul Foster - A test pilot who was nearly killed in a UFO incident, Foster impressed Straker with his resourcefulness, tenacity and unwillingness to accept anything but the truth.

    Colonel Virginia Lake - A brilliant systems designer and technician, the beautiful Colonel Lake took the place of Colonel Freeman in the second half of the season.

    The series was actually filmed in two blocks of episodes months apart because the original studio it was filmed at closed down. By the time production restarted, some of the cast was no longer available. Others had left soon after the series began either to avoid typecasting or because of dissatisfaction with very short-term contracts.moreless
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    The Persuaders!

    The Persuaders!

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    ITV (ended 1972)
    Welcome to The Persuaders! guide at TV.com. Lord Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde, two wealthy playboys from very different backgrounds, are paired up by a judge who tasks them with becoming international crimestoppers. The Persuaders! was a Television Reporters International Tribune production for ITC.moreless
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    Rainbow

    Rainbow

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    ITV (ended 1992)
    Rainbow ran on ITV for 20 years, mostly at lunchtimes. It became one of the highest rating children shows of all time and one of most enduringly popular. After over 1500 shows, Rainbow came to an end in 1992, but the show remains a massive success with people of all ages.moreless
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    Raffles

    Raffles

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    ITV (ended 1977)
    Welcome to the Raffles guide at TV.com. A. J. Raffles is a dashing late-Victorian English gentleman of impeccable credentials - a member of the very best clubs, a first class cricketer, a resident of London's ultra-pukka Albany. However, his social standing is just not matched by his private income, and in the absence of funds Raffles has adopted the career of 'amateur cracksman' to the nobility and gentry - that is, jewel thief. Harry 'Bunny' Manders is an old school friend of Raffles and is equally hard up, so he becomes a partner in the adventure of stealing from the rich to give to - well, to pay one's wine-merchant's and one's tailors' bills, anyway, and perhaps one's rent and one's gambling debts. Bunny is not altogether as bright as Raffles, but nevertheless he is more of a help than a hindrance, saving the day on more than one occasion. The pair do not see themselves as common criminals. Apart from a little honest thievery, they maintain high moral standards, and on occasion do a little detective work - or even crime-fighting - of their own. Inspector MacKenzie is the policeman with the job of catching the amateur cracksman - so once A.J. Raffles has come under his suspicion, MacKenzie has to be outwitted. Based on the stories by E.W. Hornung.moreless