STAND BY FOR ACTION, ADVENTURE AND ANDERSON AWESOMENESS!!!
It would be fair enough to say that some readers and listeners will, at some point in their lives, heard the name Gerry Anderson before. For those who are wondering why, it is most likely the fact that he is often considered by many to be Britain’s answer to Walt Disney or George Lucas, providing a purely timeless repertoire of children’s programming and sci-fi classics such as Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, UFO and other staples of 60s and 70s children’s programming.
But one that a good many people might not have heard of, as much as the others at least, was Terrahawks, an 80’s children’s sci-fi series done between Anderson and collaborator Christopher Burr, and Anderson’s final puppet-based series. Well, in 2015, Big Finish and new collaborator Jamie Anderson (son on Gerry) decided it was the right time to drag the series out of obscurity.
Full Steam ahead to 2020
The year is 2020, and the Planet Earth is under attack by a race of insane androids, led by the maniacal Queen Zelda of Guk. The only hope for the planet’s defence is the Terrahawks, an internationally renowned rescue team, helmed by Dr. “Tiger” Ninestein, an artificially created human clone with a penchant for precise military tactics and leadership. With his crack pilots, Lieutenant Hawkeye, Captains Mary Falconer and Kate Kestrel, his scientific officer Lieutenant Hiro and his army of Zeroids, led by Sergeant Major Zero, The Terrahawks are primed and ready to defend Earth from all that Zelda has to throw at them…
Despite the original show being a puppet orientated series, Big Finish have made it their challenge to recapture the action and humour of the original series. And this is just absolutely brilliant on both an action and comedic standpoint. With contributions from the late Gerry Anderson, his son Jamie, Mark Wollard, Terry Adlam and Chris Dale to name a few, the eight half-hour episodes contained are as close to the brilliance of the original as can be ascertained. The humour within these episodes is the stand-out of the writing, with an abundance of brilliant, sometimes subtle, jokes and stabs at pop culture and events of the last few years. If you want the best comedic episode of the lot, Clubbed To Death written by Andrew T Smith and Stephen La Riviere is the one to go for, where a lot of things might sound very familiar to any Briton….
But with any series like this, the cast needs not only be perfect but to stand out. And the good news is that nearly all the surviving cast members have reunited to once again give their vocal talents to these much-loved characters. Jeremy Hitchen, Robbie Stevens and Denise Bryer return to voice Ninestein, Hiro, Hawkeye, Captain Falconer, Zelda, HUDSON, 101, Yung-Star, It-Star and a whole host of other characters. With the untimely passing of Anne Ridler in 2011, Big Finish regular Beth Chalmers has stepped in to deliver an uncanny performance as Kate Kestrel and Cy-Star and with Windsor Davies seemingly enjoying retirement, Hitchen has perfectly taken on his role of Sergeant Major Zero.
As for music and sound design, director Jamie Anderson has re-employed the services of original series composer Richard Harvey, who has done a fantastic job of re-invigorating the style and feel of the music from the eighties. And along with assistance from sound designer Martin Montague and the classic, epic theme tune composed by Anderson, Burr and Harvey, the music and sound of this set is a blast and a pleasure to listen to.
A Special Place in our Hearts
Despite the concept of Terrahawks sounding like a mashup of other previous Anderson shows, the original TV series holds a special place in the hearts of many, and this audio revival is no different. This is a fantastic set of stories that are both exciting and comical, marking a perfect continuation of the classic eighties series. With this and another volume of stories out now, a third set arriving in July and the original series having returned to DVD and Blu-ray thanks to Network, there has never been a better time to discover the epicness that is Terrahawks.
BLOGTOR RATING: 10/10 Stand by, Mr Anderson, you have a 10:50 for awesomeness! ;D
“Terrahawks, stay on this channel…”
Back in action after thirty years comes Terrahawks, the fondly remembered action adventure comedy originally brought to you by the men who created Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Dick Spanner.
In the not too distant future, the Earth finds itself under constant threat from Zelda, a blood-thirsty android who, along with her fiendish family and monstrous creations, has established a base on Mars. The only thing standing between this evil queen and her quest for the ultimate annihilation of mankind are the Terrahawks – an intrepid band of heroes led by the stern but fair clone, Doctor Tiger Ninestein.
After a considerable period of inaction, the Terrahawks once again find themselves called into action when Zelda initiates a brand new campaign of destruction and devastation. Facing up against terrifying time travellers, fraudulent financial fiascos, sickening stand-ups, and deadly doppelgangers – their new adventures could prove to be the Terrahawks’ most challenging missions to date!
1: The Price is Right by Jamie Anderson
With the prospect of budget cuts and a spot inspection looming over their heads, the Terrahawks intend to showcase themselves to the best of their ability. A surprise attack from Zelda, however, gives them a bigger chance to demonstrate their worth than originally bargained for.
2: Deadly Departed by Stephen La Rivière and Andrew T. Smith
After an epic battle, it appears that Zelda has finally shuffled off her mortal coil, but when their beloved matriarch’s will is read her android family is disgusted to discover that she has left everything to Ninestein. In retaliation, they organise a funeral the likes of which has never been seen.
3: A Clone of My Own by Andrew T. Smith and Stephen La Rivière
When his clones begin to fall foul of mysterious circumstances, Ninestein is forced to face some difficult home truths.
4: Clubbed to Death by Stephen La Rivière and Andrew T. Smith with Jamie Anderson
A night on the town turns deadly for the Terrahawks when the desperate proprietor of a hot new club just so happens to be in serious debt with Zelda’s new loan shark venture.
5: 101 Seed by Gerry Anderson, adapted by Jamie Anderson
Zelda conspires to help the Terrahawks enter the record books when a seed of destruction is sewn on Hiro’s happy birthday.
6: No Laughing Matter by Terry Adlam
Zelda intends to use her latest creation – Cy Splitter, the universe’s funniest cyborg – to leave her enemies helpless with laughter. The Terrahawks only hope is that Twostein can play that game.
7: Timesplit by Chris Dale
Past, present and futures collide when an audacious plan by Zelda’s Time Lord leads to the capture of one of the Terrahawks. Zelda is thrilled, but will the resulting temporal instability unravel the fabric of space and time?
8: Into the Breach by Mark Woollard
The Zeroids face termination when Ninestein and Hiro roll out their newest creation – the Cyberzoids. But will these super-soldiers be enough to fend off a direct attack on Hawknest from Zelda’s mothership?
Directed By: Jamie Anderson
Jeremy Hitchen (Ninestein, Hiro, It-Star [male], Hawkeye, Dick Branston), Robbie Stevens (101, Hudson, Yung-Star, Stew Dapples, Cy Splitter), Denise Bryer (Zelda, Mary Falconer, It-Star [female], Grandma Buggins), Beth Chalmers (Kate Kestrel, Cy-Star, Miss Donaldson)
Director and Producer Jamie Anderson
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs