Vintage 1960s British science fiction TV shows that never were

Zack sez, "If you like 1960s SF TV with lots of exploding models and strange names, there's a pair of unaired British pilots on YouTube well worth checking out. Roberta Leigh, who'd created the popular SF children's series SPACE PATROL, had a couple of shows not picked up in the mid-1960s. The first embed is THE SOLARNAUTS, about the crew on a space station that must battle the evil forces of LOGIK! Then there's PAUL STARR, a puppet show in the tradition of THUNDERBIRDS (and stars the voice of Ed Bishop, who'd later star in Gerry Anderson's UFO).


  1. Wow, that Paul Starr thing is tremendously shoddy, nothing like as good as Gerry Anderson’s work. Solarnauts looks quite groovy though, more like something Irwin Allen might have done.

    1. Well, the vehicle exteriors and movement don’t hold a patch on Supermarionation, true, but those puppets are pretty groovy. Their walking and mouth movements are better than most of the Supermarionauts.

      Gotta love “Dr. Man”!

  2. Are you sure these pilots weren’t pitched by Andy Samberg and Bill Hader to Lorne Michaels? They look awfully similar to Laser Cats in quality (and character names… I mean, “Power”? “Tempo”? what were they thinking?).

  3. Derek Fowlds on Solarnauts got a lot more famous as Mr Derek alongside the wisecracking posh fox puppet Basil Brush and as being the rather literal-minded junior civil servant in Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

  4. Can’t have sci-fi without explosions. I think Solaris is the only sci-fi film without them.

  5. Very groovy Lalo Shifrin-esque theme song for Solarnauts. I might have to put that into the superhero music rotation.

  6. Wait…how does those ships in Solarnauts actually dock? There’s no sign of a hatch on the front. Why even dock that way? God, I’m SUCH a nerd.

    Paul Starr amuses me. I didn’t know anyone even tried to do puppet stuff but Gerry Anderson.

  7. Was anyone else waiting for the disembodied head of Logik to say “Now is the time on Schprockets when we dance?”

  8. It’s very helpful that the entrance to the under-sea base in Paul Starr is actually labeled “under-sea base.” You know, in case you were confused about where you were.

    1. They probably just forgot to take the stickers from the Secret Base Door Factory off when they took delivery.

  9. The “egg-crate” mattresses (used in hospitals today to reduce bed sores) wrapped around the chairs is hilarious.

  10. They all have nice teeth; I haven’t seen a crooked one yet.

    I love the color-coded timer, Black for hours, blue for minutes, red for seconds.

  11. Interesting! The model work is very reminicent of the visual effects from the 1960s Italian sci-fi movies like WILD, WILD, PLANET and PLANET ON THE PROWL (you’ve gotta love that name!). These are the alternative English titles – all these were POORLY dubbed, but they are sooooooo fun!

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