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What Is Supermarionation?

The term Supermarionation was coined in the 1960s to describe the unique form of puppet filmmaking devised by the team behind classic children’s television programmes like Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, and Joe 90 – a form of filmmaking that Century 21 Films has revived for modern productions.

The art of Supermarionation involves the construction of marionette puppets with rigid fibreglass heads and a solenoid based system that allows the figures to move their mouths in time to a pre-recorded dialogue track. Beyond the technology involved in constructing the puppets, however, the artform also requires characters and models to be filmed in a specific and unique manner that showcases them at their most dynamic.

Supermarionation is a complicated artform to get right and we have made it our mission as a company to do justice to the original productions of the 1960s. These efforts have been recognised by Thunderbirds copyright holders ITV who have supported our productions since 2013.

Since the team at Century 21 Films first started working together, Supermarionation has returned to film and television screens in the form of:

  • Thunderbirds – Three brand-new, half-hour, classic-style episodes produced to celebrate the series 50th anniversary.
  • Filmed in Supermarionation – A feature length documentary about the history of the artform hosted by the characters of Lady Penelope, Parker, Brains, and Scott Tracy.
  • Halifax Ad Campaign – Lady Penelope, Parker, and Brains returned to screens to advertise the services of Halifax bank.
  • Multiple appearances on television programmes including The One Show, This Morning, and Good Morning Britain.
  • Unnanounced Supermarionation Project – Century 21 Films were called upon to revive Supermarionation for an as yet to be announced project expected for release in 2019.