Lady Penelope

Smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces has been illegal since 26 March 2006 in Scotland, 1 July 2007 in England, 30 April 2007 in Northern Ireland and 2 April 2007 in Wales. Surprisingly in Thunderbirds (set in 2065) a lot of characters smoked. Many of the heroes were often seen puffing away on cigarettes in scenes that would not be allowed on children's TV today. When the show was re-run in the 1980's questions were already being asked if this was suitable for young viewers.

With the release of Thunderbirds Are Go! in 2015, there is not a smoker in sight!

Thunderbirds In AmericaEdit

These numerous instances of characters lighting up proved to be a major headache for ITC during the 1990's. Broadcasting standards had undergone a drastic overhaul by this point, and the prospect of promoting smoking in children's television was severely frowned upon. This made it difficult for ITC to sell Thunderbirds in the US market.

By mid-1994, a deal was struck with FOX to broadcast thirteen episodes, but in order to meet their standards for a Saturday morning timeslot, every cigarette (along with a whole list of other mandates, including large explosions, gunfire, physical violence, blood, death, and subservient minorities) was removed. To accomplish this, if a scene involved one character smoking, the frame would zoom in on said character (resulting in their face taking up almost the entire screen), hoping no-one would notice. For shots involving a group, the entire scene (and plot) was cut. 

In Turbocharged Thunderbirds, smoking was initially treated with hostility. When faced with footage from Trapped in the Sky, some frames were zoomed in, while others had the cigarette digitally painted out. Bizarrely from the second episode onward, this stance was completely thrown out the window, and characters were once more seen having a puff.

Thunderbirds In AustraliaEdit

Amazingly, even with overhauled standards for children's television, a move to plain packaging, and smoking banned in many public places, all modern re-runs of classic Thunderbirds have remained unedited (beyond a few frames cut to fit the hour timeslot). Due to this, virtually every scene of characters lighting up are retained.


The following gallery is a collection of the smokers seen in the series.