Network on Air (studio)
975 min approx (length)
02 May 2022 (released)
04 May 2022
“Stand by for Action! We’re about to launch STINGRAY! Anything can happen in the next half hour…” Indeed, there are plenty of ‘half hours’ in this 5-Disc re-mastered Blu-ray Deluxe Edition of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s much loved Supermarionation series – the first ever British TV-series in colour. Over 39 episodes the team of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol led by Captain Troy Tempest are confronted with the most perilous situations in their fight against King Titan, the tyrannical ruler of the underwater city of Titanica, and his undersea warriors.
The first few episodes introduce us to the main characters and villains of this much loved series which, it must be said, has effortlessly stood the test of time! Those old enough to remember the series need no further introduction but for our younger readers here’s a breakdown of who’s who and what STINGRAY is about: set in the future (2060 to be precise) the series follows the exploits of WASP – short for World Aquanaut Security Patrol – which is an organisation responsible for policing the planet’s oceans. In order to achieve this, WASP boasts their very own nuclear-powered combat submarine called ‘Stingray’ operated by Captain Troy Tempest and his colleague and best friend, navigator and hydrophone operator Lt. ‘Phones’. Based in the self-contained city of Marineville located ‘somewhere’ on the West Coast of the USA, the entire base can be lowered into underground bunkers whenever an attack looms. The base is led by Commander Sam Shore who, paralysed from the waist down, moves about in a hoverchair. His daughter Lt. Atlanta (voiced by Lois ‘Miss Moneypenny’ Maxwell) is the assistant controller and secretly in love with Troy. Then there’s Admiral Jack Denver who is the President of the WASP underwater research division.
In the first episode, WASP discovers that the depth of the ocean floor isn’t just home to all sorts of sea creatures but various advanced underwater civilisations – some friendly and others less so… One particularly unpleasant species is led by King Titan, ruler of the underwater city of Titanica. Titan rules over a warrior race called the Aquaphibians (who are in fact little more than his slaves) and has his own lethal submarine in the shape of a big mechanical fish. Eager to destroy Stingray, the Aquaphibians capture Troy and Phones who are then rescued by Marina – a mute young woman who herself has been captured by Titan and has since been held as his slave. With entirely human features save for her webbed feet which help her swim, Marina, who hails from the undersea city of Pacifica whose inhabitants are all mute and communicate via arm- and hand gestures, is able to breathe underwater. With the help of Marina both Troy and Phones are able to escape Titan’s deadly clutches. As a ‘thank you’ they escort Marina back to her father Aphony but then Marina decides to join forces with WASP – much to the delight of Troy who is hopelessly smitten by her, prompting the jealousy of Atlanta. Marina even has her own title song when the end credits roll!
Furious over the escape of Troy, Phones and his slave Marina, it goes without saying that Titan wages war on WASP and enlists Surface Agent X-2 Zero to achieve this end. Unfortunately and despite being a master of disguise, X-2 Zero is a rather inept agent who resides in a crumbling old mansion on the island of Lemoy. X-2 Zero’s many attempts (and just as many failures) to bring an end to WASP often make for some amusing scenarios.
In ‘Plant of Doom’ Titan orders him to bring a beautiful flower to the WASP base but the plant exudes some strange fumes which causes everyone to fall into a coma. At first Atlanta is certain that the plant, a present from Marina who herself isn’t sure where it came from, was meant to be a ‘stay clear of Troy’ message but when Marina herself falls prey to the fumes the team get an inkling as to who’s really behind it… Later on, Marina and Atlanta become firm friends. In ‘Hostages of the Deep’ Admiral Denver and his wife are kidnapped by the Aquaphibians while on holiday – when Marina dives to the rescue she herself is re-captured and placed on a medieval torture rack with a swordfish hanging above her – bringing to mind Poe’s ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’… It’s up to Troy and Phones to save them. Various other episodes feature underwater pirates, a hidden treasure, a ghost ship… you name it! Almost too close to the current political climate is an episode in which an enemy island launches deadly missile attacks on Marineville. In ‘The Loch Ness Monster’ the Admiral returns from a holiday in Scotland claiming he’s spotted the famous Nessie. When Troy, Phones and Atlanta (who claims Scottish ancestry) travel to bonnie Scotland they’re in for a surprise – this is a very entertaining episode in which Phones sports a traditional Scottish outfit and the trio, staying in a haunted castle, are treated to haggis…
‘Stand By for Action’ is a total riot – starting with Troy being ambushed by an assailant who shoots him dead! Then we realise this is actually a film set with producer/director Googleheimer about to make Stingray – The Movie. But why is he hell-bent on Troy failing every single screen test and eventually has him replaced with Hollywood hunk Johnny? The answer is simple: Googleheimer is none other than X-2 Zero in disguise and the Stingray movie is his latest attempt to bump off Troy… Equally bonkers is ‘Tom Thumb Tempest’ during which Troy falls asleep and dreams that he, Marina and Phones are shrunk to miniature size, with the Stingray sub in a fish tank belonging to X-2 Zero who is about to hold a dinner party during which stolen plans of WASP’s defence system are to be discussed…
One of the funniest episodes is ‘Titan Goes Pop’ in which rockabilly heartthrob Duke Dexter (think Elvis) comes to Marineville to play a gig but King Titan wants the pop idol for his own agenda… In ‘A Christmas to Remember’ little orphan boy Barry is invited to spend the holidays with Commander Shore and Atlanta. When the Commander asks Troy to ‘re-enact’ a recent battle against the Aquaphibians to keep the lad entertained the game suddenly takes on a serious note…
The stories are always unique and original and as for the puppets – they too are mighty impressive. They even perspire and the faces of the male puppets occasionally sport a 5 o’clock shadow! It’s also interesting that each of the characters has their own quirks and personalities which almost makes them appear human. The sets are truly stunning to look at and the underwater battles are worthy of a James Bond adventure – with villains to match!
This wonderful Deluxe Edition (available only via www.networkonair.com) comes with the following Special Features:
● Exclusive, limited edition deluxe packaging
● Brand-new Stingray comic
● Brand-new Stingray book by archive television historian Andrew Pixley
● Stingray WASP pilot license and badge
● Brand-new Mini Adventure CD
● Stingray Ephemera Wallet
● Gerry Anderson commentaries on the pilot and Standby for Action
● The Reunion Party - HD remaster of the Japanese Stingray presentation footage
● Give-a-Show projector image gallery
● Sylvia Anderson interview part 2
● Walton Home Movies
● Stingray TV21 audio adventures
● Image Gallery (5 mins)
● Lincoln Toy Advert
● Lyons Maid Advert
● Des O'Connor Sketch
● Ad Bumpers
● French End Titles
● Century 21 Tech Talk: Stingray
● Re-builds of the two Super Space Theater Stingray films ‘Incredible Voyage of Stingray’ and ‘Invaders from the Deep’ (to be shipped separately, Summer 2022).