"Ah yes. Writey scribbly in your bookery. All uttery words speed of your pencilode
must exceed my eyebold."
Mike Mercury, Steve Zodiac, Troy Tempest, the Tracy brothers, Captain Scarlet, and Joe 90 - the heroes of Supermarionation are joined in the final series by… Father Stanley Unwin (voiced by Stanley Unwin)! Perhaps desperate to move away from his puppet roots, and now with a live-action feature film under Century 21’s belt (Doppelgänger) Gerry Anderson decided to incorporate live-action inserts to ‘bridge the gap’ between puppets and their surroundings. With a bizarre concept of miniaturising his gardener with his Bible the Supermarionation puppets began to inhabit the real world to varying success. But its light hearted approach is easily enjoyed, and the presence of Unwin allows his trademark Unwinese to get him out of many a tight spot. But it sadly wasn’t enough to secure any further Supermarionation series and soon afterwards Century 21 moved primarily to MGM Studios and consigned its marionette stars, that had made their fortune, to the skip.
Father Stanley Unwin appears to his parishioners to be an ordinary priest. However, aside from his duties to God, he is also answerable to his BISHOP – BRITISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS OPERATION PRIEST. With the aid of his gardener, Matthew, and the Minimiser, an electronic device that can reduce a person in size, Father Unwin is a most unconventional secret agent…
FATHER STANLEY UNWIN, the 57-year-old country vicar, is a kindly and loveable man who hates violence of any sort. He is 5’9 ½” tall, with dark brown eyes, greyish brown hair receding at the front and a bald patch at the back. He wears black-rimmed glasses and a hearing aid (the latter enabling him to communicate with the Bishop or Matthew). He is the sort of man who normally prefers to wear a cassock and is old-fashioned enough to go to bed in a night-shirt and nightcap.
One of the joys of his life is his 1917 Model T Ford car, which he looks after with loving care, and has the reliability which is essential for the sort of precisely-timed activities he and Matthew indulge in.
Over the years he has developed his strange double-talk “Unwinese” to a fine art – first of all for his own amusement and now to help him in his new capacity as a secret agent.
He remembers that he is first and foremost a priest. He will never lie or resort to underhand tactics. And he uses intelligence, humanity and a trust in Providence.
Stanley Unwin is, of course, the voice of Father Unwin.
MATTHEW is 28-years old, nearly six feet in height, with medium brown eyes and dark blond hair. His physique is athletic; his face freckled and sun-burned.
His “cover” us being the Vicarage gardener, a slow-thinking country boy with a country accent; but, in fact, he was selected by the Bishop for his new task because of his many qualifications. Fully trained in counter-espionage, he is an expert shot, a judo black belt holder, an excellent swimmer and has a great knowledge of explosives and radio communications. When on a mission, he drops his country accent and uses his normal cultivated voice. Gary Files is Matthew’s voice.
BISHOP is the code name for the man in charge of British Intelligence Service Headquarters Operation Priest. He is one of the senior members of British Intelligence, a man of 52 with blue eyes and grey hair, invariably dressed in a dark suit with a flower in the button-hole and could easily be taken for “something in the City.”
From his office overlooking the Horse Guards in Whitehall, he can be in immediate contact with Father Unwin and Matthew. He alone knows the set-up and gives Father Unwin his assignments. If it is necessary for Father Unwin to visit him, he uses a secret entrance.
Jeremy Wilkin is the voice of the Bishop.
MRS. APPLEBY the housekeeper, is an honest 55-year-old countrywoman with a comfortable figure, kind blue eyes and grey hair. She looks after Father Unwin with loving devotion, always ensuring that he has enough to eat. She knows nothing about his Intelligence activities, of course.
Sylvia Anderson is the voice of Mrs Appleby.
Father Unwin’s beautifully maintained vintage 1917 Model T Ford is named Gabriel. For the series, a genuine Model T was obtained for location shooting when Stanley Unwin himself is seen; when the puppet Stanley Unwin takes over, a puppet-sized replica, specially built and radio-controlled is used.
Gabriel is in its original condition except that the bodywork is painted yellow. Although it’s normal top speed is only a little over 40 m.p.h., it can be specially hotted up to reach 50 m.p.h. It doesn’t have the comfort of a modern saloon, but it’s thoroughly reliable, and when being driven with the hood down through the English countryside on a summery day, or battling its way through the snarl of London traffic, Gabriel has an old-world charm and personality all of its own.
The Travelling Case.
On the outside, it appears to be a normal suitcase; but open the lid and you see an original and highly elaborate interior in which the miniaturised Matthew can travel, with a seat that can slide in and out, a periscope to enable Matthew to see where he is going and mechanism which allows him to open and close the case from the inside.
The remainder of the interior is taken up with various compartments contained in the specialised equipment Matthew may require on a mission, and of course, the equipment has been scaled down to enable him to handle it when he is only 2 ft. high.
The minimiser represents the life work of a brilliant and dedicated scientist named Professor Humbolt, who has left it, on his death, in the care of Father Unwin.
The principle on which it works is a close-guarded secret. It has the capacity to shrink a person or object to about one-third normal size and of reversing the process, and the device is small enough to be concealed in a large book.
The shrinking procedure is as follows: Father Unwin takes the book and opens the cover to show a small but elaborate set of controls. He presses one and a periscope emerges, this is pointed towards the person or object to be miniaturised, emitting a brilliantly lit energy beam.
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Gerry & Sylvia Anderson
SUPERVISING VISUAL EFFECTS
CHARACTERS CREATED BY
MUSIC COMPOSED AND DIRECTED BY
SUPERVISING FILM EDITOR
Norman A. Cole
SENIOR VISUAL EFFECTS DIRECTOR
VISUAL EFFECTS DESIGNER
VOCAL TITLE MUSIC BY
The Mike Sammes Singers
VISUAL EFFECTS UNIT
SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
Anvil Films Ltd
A Gerry Anderson Century 21 Television Production.
An ITC World Wide Distribution.
Filmed in Supermarionation.