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Toonhound presents...






British Movie Toons
      Commander Steel in "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" (Euston Films / Talkback Thames)

   small spacer
Stainless Steel
   and the
   Star Spies      
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producers: Euston Films
puppets / live-action
        run time: 51mins

   "Place: Deep space, zillions of light years distant.
    Time: Yesterday afternoon..."


    The Metaliens (metal aliens) are a quirky alloy race ruled by Kublai Chrome who
    is hell bent on conquering the universe. To this end, he has acquired the Kleptonite
    Ball, a weapon that is the key to Universal Conquest and it's being towed home to
    their asteroid home on Metalia by Commander Stainless Steel and his hapless
    crew on the not-so good ship "Compromise". Alas they soon find themselves
    cascading through a black hole into the boondocks of the universe where they
    collide with an Appollo space capsule. Worse, it causes them to lose the
    Kleptonite Ball. It's now spinning away towards a primitive Don'tmatter planet
    called Earth.

    Thus the stage is set for this quirky comedic mix of sci-fi puppetry and live-action,
    as the Metaliens pursue their Ball to this strange new planet. It masquerades as
    a Christmas tree decoration, a bathroom ornament and a fortuneteller's ball, and
    chaos ensues as the Metaliens' retrieval robot Klepto pops up in the everyday
    lives of the human inhabitants, who are blissfully unaware of the fantastic
    galactic situation that's unfolding...

     Liuetenant Utensil & professor Gizmo in "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" (Euston Films / Talkback Thames)  Gadget & Cansy in "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" (Euston Films / Talkback Thames)

    If you're looking at those alien characters and thinking of mashed potatoes, you'd
    wouldn't be far from the source material for this film. You see, the show was
    originally conceived by cartoonist Gray Jolliffe ("Wicked Willie", "Chloe") who
    was working at advertising agency BMP at the time. He and John Webster
    had helped to put together that memorable ad campaign starring the Smash
    Martians; manic metal alien puppets who revelled in the joys of instant fluffy
    potatoes from a packet. The campaign was a big hit, here in the UK, and the
had quickly etched themselves upon the public conscience, so
    John suggested they might develop a television series featuring similar
    otherworld creations.
The project found a home with Verity Lambert at
    Euston Films, where it grew from a half-hour proposal into an hour-long
    format, and a pilot episode was put into production. But alas, even though
    several more scripts were written, there was no subsequent series
    commission, which means this one standalone tale is all we have.

    In an interview at this Euston Films blog, Gray Jolliffe talks about the show's
    development and some disappointment with the end-product. He also reveals
    how those future scripts were going to take us to other planets, with
    different alien villains appearing alongside Kublai Chrome and his cohorts.
    "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" isn't world-beating witty, certainly, but
    there are some wry chuckles to be had amidst the absurdity, and the puppets
    have their own shiny, knockabout appeal. There's a "Pigs in Space" vibe here,
    and "Red Dwarf", which the film predates by seven years.

    Oh, and Trivia Hounds will note a rather unfortunate omission on the series
    credits; none of the puppeteers are identified!

     Kublai Chrom in "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" (Euston Films / Talkback Thames)  Robotham in "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" (Euston Films / Talkback Thames)

   The crew of the Compromise

   Commander Stainless Steel
   Lieutenant Utensil
   Professor Gizmo
   Klepto (his grandchild)

   Dr Friction (Kublai Chrome's son)

   On Metalia

   Kublai Chrome (Kleptonite Tyrant-in-Chief)
   Robotham (his temporary butler)


    broadcast info

    "Stainless Steel and the Star Spies" premiered on ITV, on January 1st 1981
    at 4.45pm, where it accrued 7.9m viewers....


    Stainless Steel on DVD

    UK DVD
Stainless Steel and the Star Spies
               Region 2 / Network DVD / June 2010


     a Euston Films presentation

executive producer:
devised by:

executive in charge
of production:
director of photography:
original music composed
and conducted by:
production designer:
script executive:
assistant director:
casting director:
camera operator:
dubbing editor:
TV technician:
construction manager:
prop master:
sound assistants:
production assistant:
unit publicist:
2nd unit director:
2nd unit operator:
2nd unit focus:


Anthony Simmons
Ray Corbett
Verity Lambert
Gray Jolliffe
Ray Corbett, Gray Jolliffe,
Peter Richardson

Johnny Goodman
Freddie Young b.s.c.

Denis King
Peter Richardson
Peter Boyle
Linda Agran
Adrian Rawle
Marilyn Johnson
Alison Thorne
Trevor Coop
Peter Biddle
Don Brown
Peter Pennell
Brian King
Tony Kerr
Chris Jefferies
Steve O'Brien, Adam Samuelson
Lorraine Goodman
Sally Croft
Peter Richardson
Mike Fox
Ken Worringham
Fabia Drake (Miss Ruby)
Anna Karen (Mary)
Deryck Guyler (Vicar)
Debbie Farrington (Daughter)
Charles Pemberton (Dad)
Ed Bishop (Stainless Steel)
Bob Hoskins (Robotham)
Al Matthew
Bill McAllister (Kublai Chrome)
Paddie O'Neil
Chris Sandford
Graham Stark
Marc Smith


      On the web

      Gray Jolliffe
      Mr Jolliffe's jolly web site...

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© Euston Films / Talkback Thames / F2012