Stingray (TV series)

Stingray (TV series)

Infobox television
show_name = Stingray

caption = Logo displayed during the opening title.
format = Supermarionation Science Fiction Adventure
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
starring = Don Mason
Lois Maxwell
Robert Easton
Ray Barrett
country = United Kingdom
network = ITV
first_aired = October 4, 1964
last_aired = June 27, 1965
num_episodes = 39 (List of episodes)

"Stingray" is a children's marionette television show, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by AP Films for ATV and ITC Entertainment from 1964-65. Its 39 half-hour episodes were originally screened on ITV in the UK and in syndication in the USA. The scriptwriters included Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Alan Fennell (who went on to write for "Thunderbirds"), and Dennis Spooner. Barry Gray composed the music, and Derek Meddings was the special effects director.

"Stingray" was the first Supermarionation show to be filmed in colour, and also the first in which marionettes had interchangeable heads with different facial expressions. It was also the first British television programme to be filmed entirely in colour (the earlier series "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot" had been made in colour from halfway through its run). At that time the US stations were gearing up for full-time colour broadcasting, although Independent Television in Britain did not begin colour transmission until November 1969.

"Supercar" had featured a vehicle that could travel on land, sea and air, and "Fireball XL5" had featured a spaceship. The next logical step was a series about a submarine, which presented a number of technical challenges.

Scenes featuring model submarines or marionettes underwater were actually filmed on a dry set, with the camera looking through a narrow water tank containing air bubblers and fish of different sizes to simulate perspective, thereby creating a convincing illusion that the models or puppets were underwater. This was enhanced with lighting effects that gave the impression of shafts of light refracted through the surface of the sea.

Scenes on the ocean's surface were filmed using a large tank filled with water and blue dye. To prevent the edges of the tank from showing it was deliberately overfilled so that the water would constantly spill over the edges and conceal them. These techniques proved so successful that they were also used for underwater scenes in "Thunderbirds" and "Captain Scarlet".

The show's 39 episodes were filmed as three blocks (or series) of thirteen episodes each, as ITC boss Lew Grade (later Lord Grade) was accustomed to ordering further batches of 13 shows each as need demanded, as he had done on the earlier Anderson shows "Four Feather Falls", "Supercar" and "Fireball XL5" (all of which also ran to 39 episodes).

tory and characters

"Stand by for action! We are about to launch "Stingray"! Anything can happen in the next half hour!" These words, accompanied by a montage of action scenes and a rapid "battle stations" drumbeat get each episode off to a rousing start.

"Stingray", a highly sophisticated combat submarine built for speed and manoeuvrability, is the flagship of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP), a 21st Century security organisation based at Marineville in the year 2065. She is capable of speeds of up to 600 knots and advanced pressure compensators allow her to submerge to depths of over 36,000 feet.Marineville is located somewhere near the west Californian coast of the United States. In the event of attack, the entire base can descend on hydraulic jacks into underground bunkers. Marineville is 10 miles inland, and "Stingray" is launched from the base's "Pen 3" through a tunnel leading to the Pacific Ocean."Action Stations", "Launch Stations" and "Battle Stations" are sounded not by sirens but by a rapid drum-beat (composed and recorded by series composer Barry Gray), played over the Marineville public address system.

The pilot of "Stingray" is the square-jawed Captain Troy Tempest (modelled on James Garner), accompanied by Dixie navigator "Phones" Sheridan, so called because of his job as Stingray's hydrophones operator. His real name, George Sheridan, is referred to in the show's publicity material, but is never mentioned on-screen. Troy and Phones board "Stingray" by sitting down in their side-by-side command chairs in the stand-by lounge, which are lowered rapidly into the submarine on long tubular poles (called injector tubes). An additional seat and pole is situated just behind theirs, for use by a third crew member (usually Marina) or a passenger. They take their orders from the crusty, hoverchair-bound Commander Sam Shore, whose daughter Atlanta Shore is also a WASP operative and is enamoured of Troy.

During the course of the series, "Stingray" encounters lots of underwater races, both hostile and otherwise. The "Aquaphibians", a submarine warrior race, appear frequently, often under the command of Titan (modelled on Laurence Olivier), the ruler of the underwater city of Titanica.

In the pilot episode, Stingray is attacked by Titan's forces and Troy and Phones are captured. They are rescued by Titan's slave girl Marina (modelled on Brigitte Bardot), a beautiful mute young woman who can breathe underwater. Troy is immediately smitten with Marina, and Atlanta becomes jealous. Meanwhile Titan swears revenge for Marina's betrayal. Marina becomes a regular member of "Stingray's" crew, and later acquires a seal pup called Oink, who features in a number of episodes.

Many subsequent episodes involve Titan's schemes to destroy "Stingray" and Marineville. These often fail due to the incompetence of Titan's spy, Surface Agent X-2-Zero (modelled facially on Claude RainsFact|date=February 2007, but whose voice is modelled on Peter Lorre).

Almost all the characters, places and vehicles in the series have names connected, in some fashion, with the sea. Character names of this type include Captain Tempest (as in storm), Commander Shore (as in seashore), Lieutenant Fisher, Atlanta (from Atlantic), Marina (from marine), and the hostile Aquaphibians. Place names associated with the sea or water include Marineville and Aquatraz; and vehicle names include of course the super-sub, Stingray, itself (named after a type of marine creature), and Titan's deadly Terror Fish submersibles.

Voice actors

* Don Mason (speaking), .... Troy Tempest / Various
* Robert Easton .... Phones / Agent X-2-Zero / Various
* Ray Barrett .... Commander Shore / King Titan / Various
* Lois Maxwell .... Atlanta Shore
* David Graham .... Oink / Various
* Gary Miller .... Troy Tempest (singing voice)

Actor Robert Easton had previous science-fiction credentials to his credit in a submarine, as radio operator Sparks on the Seaview, in Irwin Allen's 1961 motion picture "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea".

The character of Marina is unique among Supermarionation characters in that she never speaks. In the episode "Raptures of the Deep" she appears to communicate telepathically with Troy, but this is later revealed to be only a part of his dream, while he was unconscious. In the dream sequence in question, Marina's lips do not move, because the puppet had no speech mechanism, but her thoughts are heard (voiced by Sylvia Anderson).

In addition to the 39 television episodes, three original "audio adventures" featuring the original voice cast were released on EPs during the show's British run. These were later reissued on cassette, and are included on the British DVD box set of the series.

One of these audio episodes (entitled "Marina Speaks") reveals that Marina is not actually mute at all. She and her people have been cursed by Titan; if any of them speaks, another will die. They are not certain if this is true, but none of them dares find out; and so for years they have lived in complicit silence. However, this storyline to some extent contradicts the on-screen events in the television series proper.According to the audio adventure 'Journey to Marineville' the 3 on "Stingray's" fins indicates she is "Stingray" Mark III and Marineville is 20 miles in land (not 10 miles as per the TV episode "The Big Gun").

"Stingray" represented a major breakthrough from "Fireball XL5" both in terms of special effects techniques and storytelling. This was the first Supermarionation series in which the puppets had interchangeable heads, allowing each character to express a number of emotions. The love triangle between Atlanta, Troy and Marina is a surprisingly mature development for a children's show, and is even reflected in the closing credits, where Troy sings "Aqua Marina" (a song reflecting his romantic feelings for Marina) whilst Atlanta gazes wistfully at Troy's photograph.


Alphabetized by city.

*WNAC-TV / Channel 7• Boston, Massachusetts
*WFMY-TV / Channel 2• Greensboro, North Carolina
*WLEX-TV / Channel 18• Lexington, Kentucky
*WKBS-TV (Philadelphia) / Channel 48• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Episode list


In 1981 four episodes of "Stingray" ("Hostages of the Deep", "The Big Gun", "Emergency Marineville" and "Deep Heat") were edited together to form a feature-length "Stingray" TV movie, entitled "Invaders from the Deep".fact|date=November 2007

On November 24 (Thanksgiving Day) 1988, this version was featured as the first broadcast episode of movie-mocking television series "Mystery Science Theater 3000".

In the UK, ITV broadcast repeats of the entire series during 1988, from the original film prints.

BBC2 subsequently repeated the series in 1992, having first obtained new prints from the master negatives. However, these had been re-edited by ITC to substitute new opening credits, identified by an incorrect copyright date of 1964 (instead of 1962, as on the original prints) in a wholesale substitution of the "red" version of the opening titles, originally used only in later episodes, on all the first season episodes from 1962. This error has since been perpetuated by repeating the error in the DVD releases.

It was also shown on Sky One from 2002 to 2003.

In the USA, the SciFi network broadcast some episodes of Stingray in the early 1990s.

On 2nd January 2008, a brand new episode, called "The Reunion Party" (running time 30 minutes), was broadcast on BBC4 in the UK as part of "Thunderbirds Night". This episode was assembled by Gerry Anderson from recently discovered linking material shot in 1965, and takes the form of a new compilation episode (featuring footage from the episodes "Stingray", "An Echo of Danger" and "Emergency Marineville").

The linking material was originally filmed in order to showcase those episodes to potential overseas buyers of the series, but was never in fact used. The date of 1965 makes it the last footage ever filmed for "Stingray", being shot after completion of filming on the 1964 series.

The unassembled version of "The Reunion Party" appeared as an extra on the "Stingray" DVD boxset.


*Thunderbird 4 was built by WASP, the same organisation responsible for Stingray. The character of Captain Grey from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons previously worked for WASP and was the preceding commander of Stingray. This sets all three shows in the same universe.According to the Stingray comic strip in the weekly Countdown comic there was more than one "Stingray" class submarine in the Marineville fleet. They had names like "Spearfish", "Barracuda", "Moray" and "Thornback" and were identified by different numbers on their fins suggesting that the '3' on "Stingray's" fins did not indicate she was "Stingray" Mark III after all.


* : "Escadrille sous-marine"

External links

* [ British Film Institute Screen Online]
* [ FANDERSON] The official Gerry Anderson appreciation society site.
* [ BBC Cult Television - "Stingray"]

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