1 9 8 2 (Japan)
24 x 25 minute episodes
Originally released three years earlier in Japan as Ekkusu bonbâ (“X Bomber”), the puppets, spaceships and scenery were incredibly well made. The show was renamed Star Fleet and dubbed by English speaking actors for broadcast in the UK on ITV.
As the year 3000 approaches, a war-torn Solar System – led by the Planet Earth – is invaded by the Imperial Alliance in search of a supreme being, the F-01.
Commander Makara (voiced by Denise Bryer) wants to control the solar system for her own evil purposes.
The experimental X Bomber spacecraft (the Star Fleet’s ultimate spaceship) and its young crew must discover the secret of F-01 and turn it against the Imperial Alliance or all will be lost.
Young Star Fleet pilots Shiro Hagen (voiced by Jay Benedict), Barry Hercules (With his groovy Afro) and John Lee (Mark Rolston) are aided by Doctor Benn Robinson (Peter Marinker), robot PPA (John Baddeley) – which stood for “Perfectly Programmed Android” – and Princess Lamia (Liza Ross) in their race to find F-01 before it’s too late
The series made a distinctly low-key debut on British television at 10 o’clock on the morning of Saturday 23 October 1982. Heralded only by a cover feature in that week’s Look-In and largely overshadowed by the UK television premiere of Star Wars the following day, Star Fleet nevertheless made an immediate impact on a generation of British children.
The 18″ rod puppets were operated by puppeteers working beneath 1/4 scale sets. Conversely, the spacecraft models used in the series were large – surviving production photos show the main models of the X-bomber and the villains’ battlecruiser were each about 14ft long.
24 episodes were filmed at a cost of 300 million Yen (about £560,000 or USD$1.3 million in 1980). British network London Weekend Television were hopeful of purchasing a second series of the show but a fire destroyed all the models in the Tokyo studio.
English voice cast
Doctor Benn Robinson
PPA (Perfectly Programmed Android)
Original Japanese voice cast
Scramble X-Bomber | The Super Powerful Imperial Alliance | Find F-01 | Wipe Out the Transport Fleet | The Mysterious Ship ‘Skull’ | X-Bomber Goes Forth | Mortal Combat in the Gravity Graveyard | An Attack Beyond Tears | Target: The Commander | Galaxy Adrift | Farewell Eternal Battlefield | Our Mortal Enemy Is Captain Carter | Battle to the Death: X-Bomber vs. the Imperial Alliance | Lamia: Girl of Destiny | X-Bomber: Death on Planet Morphane | Lamia Kidnapped |Asleep in the Ice Prison | Commander Makara’s Promotion/Destroy the Prison Planet! | F-01: Assassination Plot | Callinean: Full Frontal Attack Begins! | Callinean: A Battle with No Tomorrow! | Board the Imperial Alliance Flagship! | The End of Earth | A New Beginning for the Galaxy