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Terrahawks titles.jpg
Genre Science fiction (alien invasion), action, adventure, children's television
Created by Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr
Written by Gerry Anderson, Tony Barwick, Donald James, Trevor Lansdowne
Directed by Tony Bell, Tony Lenny, Alan Pattillo, Desmond Saunders
Voices of Denise Bryer, Windsor Davies, Jeremy Hitchen, Anne Ridler, Robbie Stevens, Moya Griffiths (Kate Kestrel's singing voice only)
Composer(s) Gerry Anderson, Christopher Burr, Richard Harvey, Lionel Robinson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr
Editor(s) Tony Lenny
Camera setup Single
Running time 25 mins approx.
Production company(s) Anderson Burr Pictures
Original network ITV
Picture format Film (16 and 35 mm)
Audio format Mono
Original release 3 October 1983 (1983-10-03) – 26 July 1986 (1986-07-26)

Gerry Anderson & Christopher Burr's Terrahawks, usually referred to simply as Terrahawks, is a 1980s British science fiction television series produced by Anderson Burr Pictures and created by the production team of Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr. The show was Anderson's first in over a decade to use puppets for its characters, and also his last. Anderson's previous puppet-laden TV series included Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.[1]

Set in the year 2020, the series followed the adventures of the Terrahawks, a taskforce responsible for protecting Earth from invasion by a group of extraterrestrial androids and aliens led by Zelda. Like Anderson's previous puppet series, futuristic vehicles and technology featured prominently in each episode.


Prior to Terrahawks and throughout the entirety of the 1960s, Anderson's series were noted for their use of his patented Supermarionation technique, which made use of electronically augmented marionettes (the final series to use this technique was the live action/Supermarionation hybrid The Secret Service in 1969; Anderson switched to live action production beginning with 1970's UFO). In contrast, producers of Terrahawks made use of latex muppet-style hand puppets to animate the characters, in a process Anderson dubbed Supermacromation.

This was partly dictated by the relatively low budget (latex hand puppets being much cheaper to produce than the sculpted wooden marionettes of previous series), but the absence of strings allowed for much smoother movement, and could be used to more easily produce the illusion of the puppets walking. The necessarily static puppets of previous series had been a source of frustration to Anderson during his Supermarionation days.


The series is set in the year 2020, after an alien force has destroyed NASA's Mars base and Earth is under threat. A small organisation, The Terrahawks, is set up to defend the planet. From Hawknest, their secret base in South America, they develop sophisticated weapons to prepare for the battles to come.

Terrahawks was less straight-faced than any of Anderson's previous series, featuring a wry, tongue-in-cheek humour as well as dramatic jeopardy. The ensemble cast, with each member assigned a vehicle, had many similarities with Anderson's Thunderbirds, whilst the alien invasion plot was reminiscent of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and the live action UFO.

The Terrahawks[edit]

Terrahawks (technically, the Earth Defense Squadron) is an elite task force that protects Earth from alien invasion.

  • Doctor "Tiger" Ninestein (real first name unknown): Terrahawk's pilot and the team's leader, so named as he is the ninth clone created by Dr. Gerhard Stein. Somewhat bloodthirsty, his first reaction to alien contact is often to blast it out of the sky. In between alien attacks, he is often seen trying (and failing) to beat the high score on his favourite video-game. Ninestein's catchphrases are "Expect the unexpected", "I have a theory..." and, when frustrated, he often cries, "Flaming thunderbolts!" If he is killed, he can be replaced within 24 hours by another of the nine clones; his nickname of "Tiger" comes from the myth of cats similarly having "nine lives". Tiger's voice was provided by Jeremy Hitchen, who claimed he provided that voice in somewhat of an imitation of Jack Nicholson.
  • Captain Mary Falconer: Battlehawk's pilot. She acts as Ninestein's second-in-command, weighing his offensive tendencies with her own regard for the value of life...whether in regards to one of Zelda's henchmen, or to the Zeroids. She was voiced by Denise Bryer. Bryer used her normal voice for the role, unlike many of her other famous roles where she normally tended to use a "clucking" tone more typical of the voice of the character Zelda from Terrahawks, whom Bryer also voiced.
  • Captain Kate Kestrel (real name: Katherine Westley): The pilot of the Hawkwing fighter aircraft and number three in Terrahawks' chain of command. Kate is also an internationally famous pop singer. Her record company is "Anderburr Records" - a portmanteau of "Anderson" and "Burr." She was voiced by Anne Ridler when speaking; Moya Griffiths provided her singing voice. Beth Chalmers will provide the voice of Kate in the audio productions, due to Ridler's death in 2011.[2]
  • Lieutenant Hawkeye (real name: Hedley Howard Henderson III): Hawkwing's gunner. Due to a track-and-field accident, his eyes have been replaced with micro-computers that enhance his targeting abilities. When given an order, he always replies "aye-aye" as a pun on his name. He is number four in the Terrahawk chain of command. Hawkeye's voice was provided by Robbie Stevens.
  • Lieutenant Hiro (full name unknown): The commander of Spacehawk, Hiro keeps a large collection of flowers to which he gives names and reads poetry. As number five in Terrahawks' chain of command, his thick Japanese accent is sometimes a source of humour. Like Ninestein, Hiro was voiced by Jeremy Hitchen.
Sergeant Major Zero action figure by Bandai
  • Zeroids: Spherical robots that perform ground operations and serve as the firepower for the Spacehawk. There are two leaders among the Zeroids who exhibit human-like capacity for thought and emotion, much to the mechanophobic Ninestein's annoyance; Sergeant Major Zero (voiced by Windsor Davies), commands the Zeroids stationed on Earth, while Space Sergeant 101 (voiced by Robbie Stevens) directs the Zeroids stationed aboard Spacehawk. Other Zeroids are given distinct personality traits of their own, such as the Zeroid Dix-Huit, whose name is French for his number, eighteen, and who speaks French and has a handlebar moustache, and 55, who bobs up and down in rhyme. They can increase their mass (becoming as heavy as a black hole), which allows them to perform devastating body-crash manoeuvres. This is often accompanied by a cry of "St-roll on!" Sergeant Major Zero, for his part, as he launched into action, often gave the war cry of "GERONIMO!!!" Unlike the other cast members, Windsor Davies usually only voiced Sergeant Major Zero (although in a couple of episodes he also provided the voice of another Zeroid, Dr. Killjoy).
  • Colonel Johnson (first name unknown): The head of WASA (World Aeronautics & Space Administration). Though he is ostensibly Terrahawks' co-director, in reality, Ninestein constantly overrides his authority. Jeremy Hitchen provided Colonel Johnson's voice, as well as those of Hiro and Ninestein.

Terrahawks vehicles[edit]

  • The Battlehawk - A heavy-duty carrier aircraft which transports the Zeroids, the Megazoid-manned Battletank for heavy support, and other auxiliary equipment. The Battlehawk travels at Mach 5 and is hangared directly below the Hawknest mansion; the building opens out to allow the Battlehawk to launch and land. Captain Mary Falconer usually flies it. It's very similar to Thunderbird 2.
  • The Terrahawk - A flying command centre, capable of Mach 0.8, which can detach from the main body of the Battlehawk. This is Dr. Ninestein's personal ship; it is aboard its cockpit that he usually plays his favourite video-game. Equivalent to Thunderbird 1.
  • The Hawkwing - A fighter aircraft with a separate over-wing, which can be released to act as a flying impact bomb. The Hawkwing can fly at Mach 7.5 launches along a narrow tunnel, which leads under the ocean. A mechanically-generated vortex pushes the water away from the tunnel exit allowing the aircraft to leave. The aircraft can split into two independent fighters. The overwing is fitted with a massive Particle Accelerator Cannon, whilst the smaller narrower main craft is fitted with laser lancers. Captain Kate Kestrel and Lieutenant Hawkeye are its joint pilots.
  • The Treehawk - A single-stage-to-orbit spaceship, which transports personnel, such as Lieutenant Hiro, to the Spacehawk. The Treehawk flies at 3.6 million feet per second (682 miles per second) in space, and Mach 0.9 in an atmosphere; and it is so named because the exit to its launch pad is disguised as a tree, which opens out to allow the craft to leave. For re-entry and atmospheric flight, the Treehawk deploys lifting body wings, and can VTOL to land; it is armed with a small laser turret. Equivalent to Thunderbird 3.
  • The Spacehawk - An orbital battle station, customarily manned by Lieutenant Hiro, that provides the first line of defence against an attack. It can fly at 2.4 million feet per second (455 miles per second), is armed with several batteries of Zeroids, and carries numerous auxiliary vessels including shuttles, tanks, and support machines. Similar to Thunderbird 5.

Other vehicles[edit]

  • HUDSON (Heuristic Universal Driver with Sensory and Orbital Navigation) - Dr Ninestein's personal motor car (although Kate actually seems to get the most use out of it), HUDSON is a heavily modified Rolls-Royce which possesses artificial intelligence, is capable of speeds of up to Mach 1 (762 mph) and is painted in a very special colour - chameleon - effectively equipping him with active camouflage. HUDSON refers to Kate as "madam" and is very loyal to her. HUDSON also uses an assumed name and acts as Kate's manager.
  • The Battletank - a large tank manned by two Megazoids (large Zeroids) who are apparently built into the structure of the vehicle. The Battletank is capable of 60 km/h (37.3 mph) and is transported aboard the Battlehawk and has a flip-up rollbar, which allows it to be quickly airlifted out of battlezones.
  • The Overlander - an automated all-terrain vehicle similar to a rail-free train with multiple, articulated sections that brings supplies to Hawknest.
  • Spacetank - A large, powerful vehicle the Terrahawks had built to use in their sneak attack on Zelda's home base. It is ostensibly based on the technology used in the Overlander supply vehicle.
  • The Groundhawk - A ground vehicle used by the Terrahawks to investigate a bomb in "Child's Play". As it only appears in this, and the Space Giant episode, very little is known about it. It resembles a construction vehicle and has a variety of sensor equipment.
  • The Hawklet - Carried by Spacehawk, it is basically a more-maneuverable and better-armed version of Treehawk.
  • MEV (Martian Exploration Vehicle) - used once in a raid against Zelda's "Android City" on Mars. Possibly borrowed from Spectrum, since a craft of the same name was used to destroy the Mysteron City in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
  • Big White One - a combination space-dreadnought/aerospacecraft-carrier that dwarfs even Spacehawk. Commanded by General "Rip" Cord in a near-catastrophic attempt to obliterate Zelda with a thermonuclear missiles. The name comes from "The Big Red One", a nickname for the 1st Infantry Division of the United States.


Robots ("androids") from the planet Guk rebelled when their creators and masters deteriorated into a state of apathy. Zelda and company are modelled after the oldest and wisest citizens of their planet, explaining their grey hair and wrinkled skin. Zelda hopes to conquer Earth and make it a home for her Family of Androids and NONE-Human Beings. They need to consume only small amounts of silicate minerals a month to sustain their functions.

  • Zelda. The main villain of the series, Zelda is the wicked and scheming would-be conqueror of Earth. She has power over matter, mainly used to teleport her servants to and from Earth and to manipulate the size of any of her ships or aliens. "Zelda reclaims her own," Dr. Ninestein frequently says whenever Zelda teleports a defeated minion back to the Mars base. She was created to be the bodyguard of the prince of Guk, but was programmed with ambition, leading to the revolt of her and the others. She is known for referring to humans as "Earth-scum", "Earth-pukes" and "Earth-Wretches". She believes the humans are evil and that she is there to deliver the universe from their evil, destructive ways. Her voice was provided by Denise Bryer.
  • Cy-star, pronounced "Si-ster." Zelda's "sister" is not very bright, but is endlessly bubbly and optimistic. Frequently she gets so excited her hair slides around her head, leading Zelda to shout, in one episode, "One of these days I'm going to nail that to your skull!" She gives birth to It-star around the start of the Third Season. Her catchphrase is, "I don't understand" and "WONNNNNNDERFUL!" Her voice was provided by Anne Ridler.
  • Yung-Star. Zelda's "son," Yung-Star is, like his "aunt", not very intelligent — he mistakes the term "nincompoop" for a compliment. However, he is also cowardly, lazy and greedy, although he is occasionally sent to accompany a monster. His catchphrase, uttered slowly in a revolting guttural voice, was "Great Steaming Lava!" Strangely enough, despite being an android, Yung-Star is partial to bowls of "granite crunchies" - rocks in a slimy green goo; he consumes these frequently, leading Zelda to call him gluttonous since, as stated, the Guk androids need only to consume small amounts of silicate minerals to sustain their functions. He was voiced by Robbie Stevens.
  • It-Star is also known as "Goybirl" or "Birlgoy," since Cy-Star never decided on what gender this construct would be. It-Star is a "baby" android mothered by Cy-Star near the end of the series. It-Star is a clearly schizophrenic hermaphrodite with two minds and voices, a young girl's voice when "innocent," and a male voice with a German accent when plotting. His plotting personality is highly vicious and clever, compared to the childish, infant-like one. The female voice was done by Anne Ridler while the male voice was by Jeremy Hitchen.
  • Cubes are the aliens' answer to the Zeroids. They can combine into large constructs such as guns and force field cubicles. Their different sides are marked differently, indicating their different functions, such as one serving as a gun. Cy-Star keeps one, Pluto, as a pet.

Alien vehicles[edit]

Zelda commands a fleet of large ships that combine into her headquarters on Mars, which are used for large-scale attacks. Most of the time, she sends her minions out in small warcraft called ZEAF (Zelda's Earth Atmospheric Fighter)s. It is not entirely clear who usually pilots the ZEAFs; in some episodes Yung-Star or the monsters are shown to pilot them, but in most instances the pilots are simply never shown.

  • Zelda's "Hub" / Mothership: Zelda's command ship, which hovers above the grounded city of satellite ships. It is capable of traveling anywhere throughout the universe. It moves through space with its legs fully extended, and with its belly forward.
  • Docking Ring: Section that all six satellites, plus the mothership, connect to. It has six spidery legs which help dig in, when the entire fleet joins and becomes a city on the Martian surface.
  • Satellite Ship #1 - Fin-class Cruiser: Space Destroyer capable of altering its size, and of generating an extremely powerful invisible force field.
  • Satellite Ship #2 - Dog-class Cruiser: Space Destroyer with heavy power capacity.
  • Satellite Ship #3 - Shark-class Cruiser: This Space Destroyer has the ability to become sub-aqua, with numerous smaller bays containing a number of ZESAWs (ZEldan Sub-Aqua Warcraft).
  • Satellite Ship #4 - Rhino-class Cruiser: Space Destroyer and Transporter mainly used for travelling to Earth, where it lands and disgorges ground vehicles. Also carries a number of ZEAFs (ZEldan Aerospace Fighters).
  • Satellite Ship #5 - Icebox-class Cruiser: Space Destroyer used by Zelda as her laboratory and contains her cryogenic chamber.
  • Satellite Ship #6 - Phantom-class Cruiser: Metamorphic Space Destroyer. Can change into any craft or ridged structure.

Zelda's monsters[edit]

Zelda possesses a collection of monstrous servants, Outcasts from various world or Civilizations, who she keeps in cryogenic storage until needed.

  • Sram is a reptilian beast with a devastating roar, capable of shattering mountains and destroying Hawkwing's shots before they can get close enough to hit him. His blood gives off fumes that are highly toxic to human beings. In his first appearance Sram is quite articulate, but he does not speak in any further appearances. Sram appears in "Thunder-Roar," "Thunder Path," as Zelda's drummer in "Play it Again, Sram", a member of Zelda's war party in "First Strike", and an hallucination of him is seen in "Mind Monster". (Sram is an anagram - Mars spelled backwards.)
  • The Sporilla is a savagely powerful beast that Zelda controls with a signalling device. After the device is destroyed, however, the Terrahawks find that the Sporilla is capable of halting speech and has no desire to fight them. Appears in "The Sporilla." In "Space Giant," another Sporilla appears. The Sporilla is a 7-foot tall metal-eating space gorilla (SPace gORILLA), covered in an off-white fur, a black gorilla face with horns and fangs.
  • MOID: The Master Of Infinite Disguise. He is a skeleton-like alien with almost non-existent facial features, and endowed with the capacity to assume the physical appearance of anyone. "I wear many faces, but have none of my own," he once said to describe himself. The Terrahawks seem to find him pitiable, and he seems to regret living a life of servitude to Zelda. Appears in "Happy Madeday," "Unseen Menace," and briefly in "Play it Again, Sram" as Mozart. He seems to have feelings for Kate Kestrel. A hallucination of him is seen in "Mind Monster."
  • Yuri is a teddy bear-like creature the aliens find hideous and frightening. He possesses the power to mentally control metal. Zelda sometimes refers to him as "the furry Napoleon." He appears in "The Ugliest Monster of All," "Operation SAS," "Terratomb," and as a member of Zelda's war party in "First Strike."
  • Lord Tempo. The master of time, Tempo can travel back and forth in time at will, and alter its flow locally. Lord Tempo appears in "My Kingdom For A ZEAF!", "Time Warp," and as a member of Zelda's war party in "First Strike".
  • Tamura the space Samurai is a good and honourable alien with a powerful space cruiser, the "Ishimo". He intervenes in the dispute between Zelda and the Terrahawks with the aim of resolving the dispute. He is duped by Zelda who plans to double-cross him in order to destroy the Terrahawks. He finds out in time and Zelda's plan fails. He appears in the episode "Space Samurai".
  • The Krell is a hairy creature with an eyestalk that can fire a laser beam powerful enough to shoot down objects in orbit. It appears only in "The Midas Touch".
  • Cyclops is a black and red crawling creature with one giant eye. The cyclops absorbs metal. It appears only in "Space Cyclops".
  • Captain Goat is a space buccaneer who captained a pirate radio ship. He appears in "Jolly Roger One".
  • Cold Finger is an alien who is an expert at weaponising water and ice. His entire ship was made of ice. He only appears in Cold Finger.

Title sequence and end credits[edit]

The opening and closing sequences were created using hand-drawn cel animation to imitate computer graphics. The opening titles began with a Defender-style computer game, which is interrupted by Ninestein who declares an emergency. The remainder of the sequence features the key Terrahawks craft and their respective pilots. During the end credits, the Zeroid and Cube robots would often "play" noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) with each other, resulting in a different winner each week (the Cubes usually had to cheat and steal a Zeroid's position in order to win). The exception to this was the episode "A Christmas Miracle", which featured the song "I Believe in Christmas" as sung by Kate Kestrel played over a still of a Zeroid.

The original opening title sequence was used for both the United States and the UK versions of the series, but a different version of the end credits was produced for the US variant, featuring a Zeroid bouncing up and down next to one of Zelda's Cubes as a "Kate Kestrel" song plays. At the conclusion of the credits the Zeroid jumps off of the screen and crashes back down onto the Cube.

When the series was purchased for airing in Japan, the title and ending credits were augmented by an all-new anime-style sequence, the first highlighting the Terrahawks craft and the Zeroids, and the ending credits showcasing a lonesome spacesuited female remembering her life on Earth as Spacehawk flies over her. The songs used in these sequences are "Galactica Thrilling" (ギャラクティカ・スリリング Gyarakutika Suriringu?) and "Taisetsu na One Word" (大切な言葉(ワン・ワード) Taisetsu na Wan Wādo?, "One Important Word"), respectively, by The Lillies Naomi and Mayumi Tsubame.


Region 1 DVD release cover

The series' most prolific contributor, Tony Barwick, constantly used tongue-in-cheek aliases whenever he wrote a different episode, calling himself, for instance, "Anne Teakstein," and "Felix Catstein." (He was not alone in this; Donald James wrote the episodes "From Here To Infinity" and "The Sporilla" under the names "Katz Stein" and "Leo Pardstein" respectively.) The only episodes of the series not credited to pseudonyms ending in "-stein" are "The Midas Touch," scripted by Trevor Lansdowne and Tony Barwick, the latter billed under his real name for the only time on the series, and the two-part opener "Expect The Unexpected," written by Gerry Anderson.

A fourth season would have developed the characters of Stew Dapples ("Stewed Apples") and Kate Kestrel further. This was explained in a documentary on the special features disc of the series, in the Gerry Anderson book "Supermarionation" and the Terrahawks DVDs. Two of the scripts were called "101 Seed" (a parody of the title "Number One Seed"), written by Anderson himself (as "Gerry Anderstein"), and "Attempted MOIDer" by Tony Barwick (alias in this case D.I. Skeistein).

In the UK, six specially-prepared compilations of Terrahawks were released on video cassette, covering 24 out of 26 episodes from the first season. The first tape contained a few scenes in the premiere episode that had been edited out of the broadcast master due to time constraints (those scenes are not on DVD). The final volume, entitled "Zero Strikes Back" had a smaller print run than the rest of the tapes, and was quite a collectors' item, with copies generally going for around £100 on eBay until the series began to be released on DVD. The series is available on DVD in the United Kingdom and North America.

Unlike virtually all of Gerry Anderson's other puppet-based series, Terrahawks was not produced by ITC Entertainment. This meant that after Terrahawks repeats disappeared from UK airwaves in the late 1980s and the six compilation video tapes went out of production, the series was noticeably hard to find compared to Anderson's other series, most of which received a renaissance throughout the 1990s.


The CRL game of the series, released in 1984, was one of the first video games based on a TV show.[3]

Audio revival[edit]

It was announced on 19 April 2014 that Terrahawks will be returning as a run of full cast audio dramas featuring original cast members. The new audio series are produced by Anderson Entertainment in association with Big Finish Productions. The first new series was released in April 2015, and consists of eight episodes. Ann Ridler who played Kate Kestrel and Cy-Star was replaced by Beth Chalmers, and Windsor Davies who played Sergeant Major Zero was replaced by Jeremy Hitchen.

Zeroids Vs Cubes[edit]

On 10 December 2014, an animated spin-off web series was announced titled Zeroids Vs Cubes.[4] It is being produced by IDO Design & Animation and Anderson Entertainment and will come to YouTube in 2015.[5] Both Jeremy Hitchen and Robbie Stevens will reprise their roles as the Sergeant Major Zero and Space Sergeant 101.[6]


The first episode aired on 19 June 2015.[7]

Ep. # Title Director Writer Air Date Production Code
1 "Party[8]" Dave Low Dave Low 19 June 2015 (2015-06-19) 01
Sergeant Major Zero and Space Sergeant 101 decide to have a party themed around the 80s.


External links[edit]