In the popular television series Thunderbirds, about a family who leads an international rescue organization that helps people in need around the world, the roles were not played by actors but by marionettes. Occasionally were the strings with which to see these puppets moved clearly into view. However, this did not affect the popularity of the series. Importantly, however, was that the puppets were also given a voice.
Choosing a small cast also had to do with the budget for the television series. It was not financially possible to adopt a different voice actor for each role, although the series had a larger budget than previous series that had made Gerry Anderson.
The main roles in Thunderbirds were reserved for the Tracy family: father Jeff and his five sons, Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan. For the voice of father Jeff chose Gerry Anderson for Peter Dyneley, a friend of his with experience in the film and television industry. Besides father Jeff Dyneley spoke in many episodes of the television an additional role, sometimes even two additional roles per episode.
Dyneley died on August 19, 1976.
The Toronto-born Shane Rimmer was adopted as the voice of Scott Tracy eldest son after his wife Gerry and Sylvia Anderson had seen him play in the BBC series Compact. He was by himself Sylvia called and asked him to audition for the Thunderbirds Series. Although he really did not want to because he audition for the series and one end had to drive, yet he did, and he got two weeks later whether he wanted to be Scott's voice. He said an additional role in several episodes.
Ray Barrett was chosen for the role of John Tracy and those of The Hood, the enemy of the Tracy family. And he spoke a lot of different roles: sometimes five votes per episode. It even happened that he had multiple roles in one scene and he was talking during the recording of the text to himself.
Ray Barrett also was in the first episode the voice of Alan Tracy, because at that time there was no actor chosen for the role.
The voice of Virgil, the middle son of the family, was played by two different voice actors in the television period of Thunderbirds: David Holliday did this the first twenty-six episodes, Jeremy Wilkin said Virgils voice in the remaining episodes and two movies.
Actor David Graham was adopted not just Gordon's voice, he also spoke the lyrics for three other major characters from the series: the inventor Brains, butler Parker and the householder Kyrano. Both John Tracy and Brains spoke with an American accent, while Butler Parker as a true Brit spoke and Kyrano from Asia originated. David Graham, himself an Englishman, this was no problem.
The last actor who was added to the voice cast, the Canadian was Matt Zimmerman, who spoke in the voice of Alan Tracy. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson were looking for a special sound for the youngest son of the family. Thanks David Holliday they came into contact with Matt and he was immediately adopted after his audition.
In addition to the listed actors and actresses made there is still one man part of the vote cast: John Tate. He spoke at the end of season one and season two voices for several guest appearances.
Thunderbirds: The voices behind the puppets