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Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011
Slough children launch Thunderbirds anniversary stamps

by Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire reporter

Children from the Slough schools with their stamps
Children from Claycots Primary School helped launch the stamps

Slough schoolchildren have helped launch six stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds TV series.

The stamps, to be issued on 11 January, were unveiled by children from Claycots Primary School.

The school is close to the former Century 21 Studios in Slough Trading Estate where many of Gerry Anderson's shows were filmed.

FAB: The Genius of Gerry Anderson is the full title of the stamp issue.

The stamps feature characters which first arrived on TV screens in the 1960s, beginning with Supercar in 1961.

Gerry Anderson, 81, who lives in Henley, said: "I feel incredibly proud that my work has been chosen to appear on a set of Royal Mail stamps and to see actual animation of the opening scenes of Thunderbirds appear on the motion stamps is really wonderful."

Gerry Anderson poses with a Thunderbirds stamp
Thunderbirds was made on Slough Trading Estate

The stamps, split between 1st Class and 97p values, feature six of his most popular vehicles and characters: Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90.

This stamp issue also includes Royal Mail's first motion stamps on a miniature sheet using a method called "micro lenticular" printing to re-enact the famous 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 opening sequence to Thunderbirds.

The countdown begins with Thunderbird 5 - the Earth-orbiting space station keeping a watchful eye from within the miniature sheet's border.

A moving image of lift off is revealed for Thunderbirds 1, 2, 3 and 4 by tilting each of the four stamps back and forth.

Melanie Corfield, a Royal Mail spokeswoman, said: "Gerry Anderson's sophisticated puppetry, combined with his taste for state-of-the-art special effects and futuristic super-vehicles, caused a sensation in the 1960s and his legacy lives on today.

"I'm sure that collectors and TV fans alike will enjoy the chance to see the opening credits of Thunderbirds again - but this time through the technology of stamps!"

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