Locations

location filming played an important part in the very early days of Supermarionation when the production team commissioned a light aircraft in order to film aerial footage of the sky and clouds which could then be used for back projection shots in Supercar. However, it was during the making of Thunderbird 6 that location shooting on the Andersons' productions really came into its own as Derek Meddings took his visual effects team out into the nearby countryside to film both a model and full-sized Tiger Moth aircraft in flight.

Stanley Unwin
Father Unwin [actor Stanley Unwin] peering through the window of his vicarage in the opening title sequence of The Secret Service

In early 1968, during production of the Joe90 episode The Unorthodox Shepherd, the production team took their cameras to Harefield in Buckinghamshire and shot both exterior and interior footage of the local church to double as St. David's, parish church of the Reverend Joseph Shepherd. A puppet of the villain Mason accompanied the crew to Harefield for appearances on the footpath outside the church, footage of the church graveyard established the entrance to the counterfeiters' crypt-based forgery operation and interior insert shots were filmed inside the church. After a heavy snowfall, the location crew returned to the church to shoot footage of the snowbound St. David's for the episode's closing Christmas scene.

The Unorthodox Shepherd paved the way for The Secret Service, both in its plot-line of a man of the cloth who is not all he seems to be and its use of location footage inserted into the studio-shot interior sequences. On The Secret Service, a second unit headed by director Ken Turner was responsible for finding the buildings and houses that would appear in location footage, and also the sections of country road along which the vehicles (mostly Gabriel, Father Unwin's Model T Ford) would be seen travelling. For these exteriors, the actor and entertainer Stanley Unwin was often seen doubling for the puppet Father Unwin, driving Gabriel, walking about with his suitcase, and looking out of the window of the Vicarage in the opening title sequence.

Sadly, after 13 episodes, The Secret Service was cancelled and this spelled the end for the Andersons' Supermarionation productions as they moved forward with live-action productions. The one exception with regard to locations proved to be the pilot to the ill-fated The Investigator series, which was completely shot on the island of Malta, combining puppets, flesh and blood actors and locations. Ill-fated, because the – rather mediocre – pilot program never panned out into the proposed series.

Harefield Church
The Church of St. Mary The Virgin,
Church Hill, Harefield
Used in the Joe90 episode
The Unorthodox Shepherd.
Hughenden Church
The Church of St. Michael & All Angels,
Hughenden Valley, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
Father Unwin's parish church in Chertsey.
Foxlea Manor
Foxlea Manor, Dorney Wood Road,
Burnham, Buckinghamshire.
Father Unwin's vicarage at the parish church in Chertsey.
Wexham Park Hospital
Wexham Park Hospital, Wexham Road,
Stoke Green, Slough, Buckinghamshire.
Used in the Secret Service episode
School For Spies
Horseguards Parade
Horseguards Parade, Horseguards Avenue,
London SW1
The London HQ of British Intelligence Service Headquarters Operation Priest.
Text originally appeared at the Fanderson site
edited and limited to Supermarionation