Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Stingray (1964-65)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment

Main image of Stingray (1964-65)
AP Films for ITC/ATV
40 x 25 minute episodes, colour
DirectorsAlan Pattillo
 Desmond Saunders
 David Elliott
 John Kelly
CreatorsGerry Anderson
 Sylvia Anderson

Voices: Don Mason (Captain Troy Tempest); Ray Barrett (Commander Sam Shore / Titan / Lt Fisher); Lois Maxwell (Lt. Atlanta Shore); Robert Easton (Lt. George Lee 'Phones' Sheridan / Surface Agent X20)

Show full cast and credits

The undersea exploits of Captain Troy Tempest and his super submarine as they encounter strange and dangerous aquatic civilisations, and the beautiful mermaid Marina.

Show full synopsis

The opening title sequence of the underwater puppet series Stingray (ITV, 1963/64) is a mini adventure in itself. Explosions, collapsing oil rigs, strange aquatic aliens and the launch of the super-submarine Stingray are accompanied by driving drums and a voice-over that warns the audience: "Stand by for action. Anything can happen in the next half hour." Children's TV had never before been this exciting.

The series was devised as a replacement for Fireball XL5, the space-bound puppet adventure from the studios of AP Films. Like its predecessor, Stingray was built around some very simple elements - a four-square hero, a fantastic craft which lends its name to the show and a mix of fast-paced action and innocent humour. This time, however, the weekly adventures would be in colour, a change made to cash in on the growing adoption of colour TV in the all-important US market.

Stingray's hero is the intrepid Captain Troy Tempest, the most experienced submariner in the World Aquanaut Security Patrol. His undersea sidekick is Stingray's unflappable co-pilot 'Phones', while back at base in Marineville is the irascible Commander Shore and his daughter and communications officer Atlanta, voiced by Lois Maxwell, famous at the time for playing Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond film Dr No (d. Terence Young, 1962).

The show's basic themes are all unveiled in the pilot episode. During a routine undersea patrol Troy and 'Phones' are captured by Titan, evil ruler of Titanica, who declares the 'terranians' his enemies and sentences them to life imprisonment in Aquatraz. But with the help of his mute slave girl Marina, the duo break free taking the beautiful and mysterious woman with them. During many of the following episodes Titan tries to exact his revenge on the Stingray crew with increasingly elaborate plans, aided by the hapless undersea spy X20.

Despite the series being made in England, its principal characters are all American, a decision made on the grounds of expediency: Gerry Anderson, Stingray's producer, believed this would make the show more saleable to US broadcasters, without alienating UK viewers who were already accepting of American-made shows. However, it proved difficult finding suitable voice artists. "In those days it wasn't always easy to find American actors working in England," explained Anderson. But despite the problems the decision paid off and Stingray was bought by the US network NBC.

Anthony Clark

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete episode: 'Aquanaut of the Year' (25:08)
Production stills
Gerry Anderson - Supermarionator