AS BUILDINGS that housed a legendary 1960s British filmmaking team face the bulldozers in the near future, a dedicated fan plans to record their story for posterity.

Sam Denham, 60, who lives at Brands Hill, Colnbrook is a lifelong fan of the Thunderbirds television shows that were a staple of Saturday night television 50 years ago – featuring the most famous puppets in the world. These miniature heroes – not forgetting Lady Penelope, of course – were all brought to life in a complex of buildings based in Stirling Road on Slough Trading Estate.

To launch the filming of his documentary about those days, Sam invited two veterans down to revisit old “studio” buildings where they worked 50 years ago.

Alan Shubrook, 69, and John F Brown, 77, were part of the dedicated team of 100 involved in the making of the shows on their unique miniature sets.

Alan said: “Every day was unique. You would come in and be told they needed a Martian craft that you had to make by lunchtime.

“You would come back at two [pm] ready to blow it up. Petrol gel and magnesium made good five-second explosions that could be slowed down to last much longer.”

John F Brown had already had a career in the army when a friend told him about a job available with the team. He had been to art school and ended up making many of the puppets that peopled the show – including Jeff and Virgil Tracy, the star heroes of the fictional International Rescue.

He worked with the team for five years before falling out with the legendary but autocratic Gerry Anderson, the man behind the legendary “supermarionation” series and other hits such as Captain Scarlet and Stingray.

John thought he needed a room with more light to sculpt famous puppets – Mr Anderson thought otherwise.

He said: “I got the sack. You couldn’t argue with Gerry.”

But he had learned a lot and went on to work on big screen films like A Bridge Too Far for Richard Attenborough and Jabberwocky for Terry Gilliam.

Alan sums up what they had at Slough. He said: “Lew Grade, the head of ATV, closed us down. He said there was no call for special effects any more – and six years later Star Wars came out.

“But for six years we had the most advanced special effects in the whole world, right here in Slough.”