Jan King


David Nightingale, Brendan Sheehan
with Philip D. Rae
Jan King

When and where were you you born?

April 6th, 1950 in Barnet, Hertforshire.

What sort of background do you come from? Were any of your family involved in tv or films?

It was a conventional middle—class background. My father was interested in model theatres and had made a few puppets, but none of the family were involved in film or television.

Did show any artistic talent at school?

No, I didn't have the chance to show much artistic talent as we had to choose between Arts and Sciences at 13, and I chose Science.

Did you make up your mind before leaving school to enter showbusinss? Were you interested just in puppetry, if so did this come from — perhaps from some of the tv shows at the time using puppets?

I hadn't made up my mind as I didn't really equate puppetry with 'showbusiness' at that time as it was only a hobby, and I didn't that you could make money out of it. My Interest had always been purely puppetry — my father bought me two Pelham Puppets, which at that time could be made up into kits, which I did — a pianist and a juggler. We did shows at home, at school and for local friends. I used to watch anything with puppets on the TV, all of Gerry's series, and ones by Roberta Leigh.

So did come to work for Gerry Anderson?

I belonged to the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild in London, and one of its members was in touch with Gerry and Sylvia as the Thunderbirds series was coming to an end, and new puppeteers were needed. Gerry actually wrote to me and asked if I wanted a job as an operator, and I wrote back and said, "Yes please, yes please!" I had just taken my O levels, spent 3 weeks in the 6th form, and joined A. P. in about October 1966.

So did you no first, did you do any on-the-spot training, or did you learn as you went along?

I started by working in the workshop for about 6 weeks, putting puppet bodies together, and stringing new puppets for the Captain Scarlet series. I also did one or two manipulation tests, recorded on video, to get the feel of the puppets as they were a different design to the Thunderbirds puppets, absolutely in scale with human bodies.

So which series did you kork on?

I worked on both Captain Scarlet and Joe90 I also did a few shots on Thunderbird Six — the second feature film.

Can you describe the set-up at Century 21, what the studios consisted of — sheds, warehouses?

The main studios were three factory units at the far end of Slough Trading Estate, near the "Mars Bars" factory. Two of the units were used for puppet filming, and the third for the special effects units. The company's office units were at the front of each, where we would see the rushes. Wardrobe departments and stores were situated in the third unit. The central unit had a large puppet prop store and was split into two shooting stages with two separate sets of camera crew, puppeteers, set dressers, sparks etc., so two episodes of a series were worked on simultaneously. These were Stage 2 and Stage 3 — 'Stage 3' being the name of Christine Glanville's touring company now. Away from these buildings was a further unit where all the sets, models, cars, ships, etc. were constructed.

What was the atmosphere like — friendly? Did you feel part of a unique set-up?

The atmosphere was friendly, and very enthusiastic as Thunderbirds had been such a success. For me, at 16 years old, was like working in a fantasy world. I did feel part of a unique set-up because there was no other puppet film company, that I knew of at the time, doing what we were doing.

How did Gerry Anderson run the studio? We've seen stills of him apparently running it from his office, using the television monitoring system.

Gerry had a monitor in his office which could see the output of any of the studios at a given time, if the studio was using the monitoring camera through the lens of the 35mm camera. Occasionally Gerry or Sylvia would come on the floor to check a shot out, or look at a puppet

So what part did Gerry play in the day-to-day running of the studio, and the material shot?

Gerry obviously made decisions from watching rushes, talking to the film directors, and planning meetings with the company directors. Also watching on the floor or in his office, as I've said.

How long did it take to create the characters, and can you describe the proces from idea to puppet?

I can't say how long it took to create the characters as I only started work at the end of the process. I presume that the series format was agreed by Gerry and Sylvia, and Sylvia would go into detail on the characters required. Sketches of the chancters would be drawn and the final design arrived at, including drawings of the character faces. The faces would be modelled by the sculptors in the workshop. I believe Captain Scarlet's face was modelled by Mary Turner. From the plasticene original, a twopiece rubber mould would be taken, and then the final head in fibreglass.

Did any of voice artists ever go to the studios to watch and, if so, what was their reaction?

I can only ever remember one coming to watch, Ray Barrett. He seemed quite interested and stayed watching for quite a time.

What role did Sylvia Anderson play?

Sylvia was in charge of costume design and would occasionally come onto the floor to supervise a special costume or hair—do for one of the female puppets. She also looked after the voice recording side of the operation, keeping together a circle of voice artistes, including her own, to record dialogue for each episode.

How were the puppets themselves constructed? Did they have arms, or were they just loose cloth?

The Captain Scarlet bodies, arms and legs, were put together by the puppeteers from plastic construction kits, supplied by an outside company. These had been designed and modelled beforehand and the results were a large and medium male size, and a large and medium female size. The female sizes were used mainly for the Angels and even the medium size was quite well developed. The puppets had plastic ams and legs, mostly joined together with threaded rods. Hands were screwed on to the end stubs of the arms, and were made of a type of rubber with a wire embedded in each finger, so a puppet could grip or point.

How many puppeteers were then on stage?

I think there were either two or three on the bridge, on each stage, manipulating, and one floor puppeteer who looked after the puppet in shot, tidied up, made sure its strings couldn't be seen etc. Christine Glanville was the chief puppeteer on the other stage. I worked originally on Wanda's stage, and then for Christine, but after a time each stage worked as a team and we virtually didn't need to be told what to do.

How was the team formed — via the Puppet Guild? Did any other new members join when you did?

I came via the Guild, and I believe one other girl, Linda Rutter, who joined with me did. About four new people joined at the same time, another girl, Rowena White, came as a floor puppeteer and went on to work with Christine Glanville for Stage 3. All four were new to this type of puppetry.

How heavy was the average puppet — was there a limit?

I can't give an exact weight, but we would have to stand around for a long time while the crew lined up shots, holding up puppets, and my wrists at least became noticeably thicker.

How many strings would be needed to support the average puppet and can you describe how they were attached?

The nain weight of the puppets was by three head strings each, I think, 0.005" thick. They were specially drawn steel wires. Eye strings were, I think, O.0036" thick and any wire attached to move an arm was 0.0025" thick. Two of the head strings were attached to the side/back of the head, below the ears and slightly towards the back of the head. The third string went through a hole on the puppet's forehead, just above the hairline, so it could not be seen. The three strings basically formed a triangle which went up to a control which the puppeteer held, and a greater amount of subtle head movement could be achieved with three strings than on a normal string puppet. They had no shoulder strings, unlike a nomal marionette.

The way they were attached was that each wire was taken through the hole in the puppet's head and knotted to a washer. In the case of the two back head strings the washer was soldered to the connections to the solenoid operating the mouth movement. Power for the solenoid came down the two back head strings. Great care had to be taken in knotting the wire as, if it kinked over itself, and you then put the puppets weight on it, it would break. Also, one had to be careful not to allow the head strings with the solenoid voltage in them to touch the bridge which was all metal as the strings immediately shorted out and disintegrated. This was overcome by covering all exposed parts of the bridge with camera tape.

Eye strings, as I've said, were slightly thinner, coming out from each side of the head, and going up to a see-saw arrangement on the control. The puppeteer operated this control with his thumb, to make the puppet look right or left. A string was put on one or both hands, to bring gome life to the puppets. Puppets never walked with strings after the middle of the Thunderbirds series. All the characters were string puppets and most of the principal characters had an underneath control.

Who decided who would operate which puppet, was there a strict hierachy?

To start with the new people would only work the slightly less important characters, although in some shots each character had equal importance. However, usually if the first shot was a three—shot and then one went into a single on the character you were working you would stay on that character. Gradually, you worked on any shot which you were required to do, and no-one said you have to work this puppet or that puppet. No-one kept to the same puppet throughout the series. I don't know if the puppeteers stuck more to one puppet in Thunderbirds, but there the puppets had more character, in Captain Scarlet they were all very much the same.

There were a whole range of 'extra' puppets — how many were there and did they function, or were just dummies?

There were a fair amount of stock characters made, mostly faces, and a few extra bodies. They were all strung and operated in just the same way as the main characters. Each new script would list any extra characters, and these would be strung and clothed while shooting action on the main characters.

Gerry Anderson has said he experimented with electronic robot puppets, do you know anything about these?

No. I heard various rumours. The only other type of puppet was the underneath control ones.

Could you explain the difference between these and string puppets, and which you operated?

I was a bridge puppeteer, solely employed on manipulating puppets for each scene, although I got puppets ready between takes. The floor puppeteer looked after the puppets on the floor, as the operators were about ten feet up in the air. He or she made sure that puppets were in the right position for camera, that it was clean and tidy, and that strings could not be seen on the monitor.

How were the puppets made to walk?

The Captain Scarlet puppets were not bullt to walk, they were too heavy and not weighted properly anyway. It is virtually impossible to get a string puppet to walk convincingly on film, anyway. Unless it is a very caricatured puppet. If a puppet had to move off—screen it was done in a head and shoulders shot and the floor puppeteer would hold the legs of the puppet. Then he or she would move the puppet physically off screen at the time, trying to make the puppet's body and shoulder move as if he were walking.

Were the new, streamlined, puppets of Captain Scarlet any easier to operate?

I had only operated one Thunderbirds puppet for my 'audition', but they seemed looser, although less subtle than the Captain Scarlet puppets.

How many puppet stages were there, and how big were they?

There were two puppet studios with two puppet bridge assemblies in each studio. One set would be filmed under one bridge, while another was being constructed under the other. I can only guess that each bridge was about 20 feet long, and between 10 and 12 feet from the studio floor. Each set was built on a castored rostrum floor which was about 18 to 24 inches off ground level. This height was to allow the 35mm camera on its dolly to be able to shoot at puppet eye level, or lower. If the sets had been built on ground level the cameraman would really have had to grovel on the floor to get his shots.

How were the set designs influenced by restrictions in puppet techniques and the desire to blend out the wires?

Puppets could obviously not go through doors, because of their strings, but this didn't matter if the shot cut into close—up. Sets usually didn't have ceilings anyway — this helped the Lighting Camerman get his lights in. Sets were usually in pastel shades, greys etc., so that getting rid of strings was not a problem against, say, some horrific style of wallpaper.

Was there any limit to how big or complicated a set could be — they more impressive as series progressed?

The only complication to the set was the size of the studio itself. Several of the sets (although the ones I remember were in Joe 90) took up the whole length of the studio with the bridges pushed out of the way and not used. One set was the bank by a river in the jungle and another was a prince's palace in India, both in Joe 90. I suppose the sets could be as complicated as the designer liked, because presumably they would still cost less than a full-size set, although this isn't necessarily true.

Were any of the puppet sets ever built in forced perspective?

Not to my knowledge. The only puppet set I have ever seen built this way was for The Bubbles, another puppet film series that I have worked on. This was built by Peter Holmes, who was Prop Master at A.P.

How elaborate were the sets, did they have many 'working parts'?

Some were quite elaborate. 'Moving Parts' were mainly computer wheels and flashing lights. Moving doors or turntables were usually done by hand, by one of the dressers.

Were the puppets manipulated using standard control frames?

The controls differed from other, ordinary, marionette frames in that they were quite small, and fitted easily into the hand, with part of the control facing forward, to support the string which went to the forehead. Each string was adjustable for height on the control, to get the head exactly level.

How was each scene set up? Did you rehearse many times before a scene was shot? Were the frames left on supports whilst camera crew set up, or did you have to actually hold them?

Each set to be filmed on was set up underneath the other bridge as we filmed on the preceding set. The scene to be shot had already been discussed with the lighting cameraman and camera operator, so that the set was placed in the best position for the camera. Lighting equipment was not used on our scenes and would be set up ready for the next scene.

When all shots on this set were completed the puppets needed would be moved onto the next set and put roughly in position. The camera would be lined up and the shot lit. The puppet would be supported on a 'gallows', an adjustable length of nylon cord supported from wires on the top of the bridge. As the set and puppets were being 1it, the puppeteers needed for that shot would hear the relevant piece of dialogue for that scene, and rehearse the shot with the Director, once or twice. If the shot was complicated we would rehearse more often, but there was no point rehearsing and rehearsing as any spontaneity we had in the shot would be lost.

How long would it take to shoot a 30 minute episode?

My first trial on the floor was on the second episode of Captain Scarlet when it took me seventeen takes to turn one puppet's head towards another one, say one line of dialogue, and turn the head back again. A thirty minute episode actually lasted 26 minutes. Out of this some of the time was taken up with special effects shots. We took two weeks, ten working days, to shoot all the puppet shots for each episode. This would usually go over one or two days. We would work evenings quite a lot, to make up time, and very rarely a Saturday, as I remember.

How long was your average working day and how many shots could you hope to get in the can in one day?

It was 8.30am to 5.30pm with an hour lunch break, five days a week. I think the average was 14 shots a day, although obviously this went up and down, depending on the complexity of the scene and changes in camera angle and lighting. I suppose a day's work would average one or two minutes screen time...

How detailed, in terms of movement, was the average script? Was it up to the puppeteers to figure out how the characters moved?

In actual fact the script wasn't very detailed at all. The director would describe what size shot and angle he wanted and the puppeteers would put each puppet in its required position. The director would say what movement he wanted, and the manipulator and floor puppeteer would try out the action suggested, watching the TV monitor to see whether it worked or not. If it worked it would be used, if not, something else might be suggested from discussion and this would be tried. A lot of the shots consisted of head movement only, that's to say a head and shoulders shot, or close—up, or just one puppet walking.

Were the scripts rigourously adhered to, or were changes being constantly made ?

They were fairly well kept to because, in a lot of cases, the effects unit had to tie in accurately with the puppets. All dialogue recorded was usually exactly as written in the script.

How much co-ordination was there with the effects unit?

A fair amount, to ensure matching of puppets in shots to puppets in effects shots.

Was back projection used? Did it present problems?

As I recall, back projection was used very little, if at all in Captain Scarlet. It was certainly used a lot in the pilot film of Thunderbirds, and possibly of Captain Scarlet, but I personally only remember projection equipment being set up once when I was there. Now I come to think about it sequences shot in the SPV did have some back projection. For these the screens were quite small and didn't pose problems for strings as a certain amount of light was coming from the back. Also, underneath controls would sometimes be used. For the majority of car shots, and the Angels in their jet fighters, a rolling background was used, usually painted afresh for each sequence. Underneath controls were used when possible, and all the time for the Angels as the planes had perspex cockpit covers.

Were the puppets ever involved with other effects work?

They used to look as if they were swimming underwater, although actually they were specially—strung marionettes and shot through a fish tank about three inches deep. This had tiny fish in it, an aerator to create bubbies, and light shining down at an angle on the surface of the water. Swimming movements were sometimes shot at a higher speed with electric fans blowing on the puppet's costume ( Marina in Stingray) to produce slow—motion. One special effect was in one shot where Captain Blue and Captain Scarlet were asleep, in single beds, in a hotel room or somewhere, and Captain Black had decided to set fire to the room. The set dressers covered the set, carpet and bedclothes, curtains etc. with petrol and then stood by with their fire fighting equipment. The two mugs for puppeteers, including myself, who had to keep the puppets breathing when they were asleep had to don Wellington boots, asbestos gloves, a sowester and face masks to work the puppets. We mounted the bridge and the director called 'turn over' and then 'action'. 0ne of the set dressers put a match to the set and 'whooph'! The whole thing went straight up. 'Keep them alive', shouted the director, 'Keep turning', as the flames licked round our legs. Then the smoke got so bad that I just had to put the control down and get off the bridge to get some air. I believe the shot looked great.

Was there a limit to the number of puppets that could be used in any particular?

Not really. I think on Thunderbird Six there were 12 or 14 puppets in one of the conference room shots. We would just rope in puppeteers from the other stages, and sometimes the assistant director, people in the workshop and set dressers. The puppeteers would perhaps work two puppets each, if the puppets were seated, and everyone else would work one. The average number in an average scene was two or three, say Captain Scarlet and Captain Blue, but it varied from script to script. One would then go into close shots on individual characters.

How many puppet operators would work on an average scene?

Three usually, plus the floor puppeteer. Then each person would do close—ups on whichever character they had operated in the medium shot.

How were the wires blended out? Was this of critical importance to the unit as in some shots in Thunderbirds they are very noticeable?

Strings were got rid of first by spraying with Anti—Flare to make them dull, and then, if this was not enough, by puffing black, white, or grey powder paint onto them from a hand—held sprayer. A puppet's strings were viewed through a black and white television monitor attached to the camera, and the strings sprayed the same shade of grey as the background. If the background was difficult for the strings, the puppet might be moved slightly, or camera angle changed, or background moved. Strings were especially difficult to get rid of if the puppet had to move out of shot, from say a white background to a black. Sometimes tight editing removed this anyway.

Were scenes where the puppets were required to move quickly, in action scenes, very difficult and lengthy?

Slightly time consuming, sometimes not, depending on the action. One of the biggest headaches was if one of the characters had to shoot a gun. Usually this meant at least two or three characters had a gun, and in each case a special hand with a gun had to be attached and this had two tubes and electric wires coming from it which had to be threaded down the puppet's sleeve, body, trouser leg, and out by the foot. The tubes were attached to cylinders of gas, and the wires to electric power. When the gases were fed to the gun and the power actuated, the gun would fire. One had then to string the puppet's hand to bring the gun up into the correct position. Other action scenes occured much later in Joe 90 when he was stalking someone through the jungle. We used an underneath control of him, only head down to waist, no strings. Some of the shots were quite good. Some of them were actually rehearsed shots where we didn't know the director had been watching the monitor and asked the camera operator to turn over. This kept the spontaneity of the shots, which could sometimes be lost in a legitimate take.

How long were the puppet's strings and did they ever cause any problems, were there times when you couldn't see them?

I think the length of the strings was 8 to 12 feet. The length didn't really cause problems when one got used to them. The main thing was that if one wanted, say, a quick hand movement, the shooting of a gun, it was usually done by the floor puppeteer with a short length of wire. It didn't matter if the puppeteer wouldn't see the strings as he would be watching the monitor all the time, not looking down at his puppet.

A lot of light seems to have been needed as the camera had to stop right down to get in really close to achieve focus, did this lead to any problems? How long would it take to focus up a scene, and how close did the cameras actually come?

Heat caused by the lights was a problem, but not an overwhelming one. All the heat from the lights rose to the puppeteers on the bridge, but we had a couple of electric fans which we tried to combat it with. Lights would be slung underneath the bridge to light puppets and sets and we had to be careful not to catch strings on these, as they would short out and break. It might take all morning to focus up a scene, an hour, two hours, just depending on the complexity of the scene. Once a set was lit there might be a slight re—arrangement between camera angles. The camera never really came that close to puppets. Any camera made can focus on the frame size required, a full length puppet about 22 – 24 inches tall, head and shoulders say 5 – 6 inches, and head about 3 inches high.

How many units were shooting puppet material simultaneously? How was this supervised — with 'Add-A-Vision'?

On my arrival at A.P. after six weeks of workshop activity, two studios were shooting on Captain Scarlet and one further one on Thunderbird Six. After Thunderbird Six was finished the two studios continued on Captain Scarlet and then went straight into Joe 90. The Add—AVision system worked independently in each studio, so we just saw on our video monitors our own output. Presumably all three outputs were piped into the video installations in the front offices.

How did David Lane direct, just as on a full-size (human) production? Did he, in the end, get fed up with puppets?

David directed basically as one would on a live—action production. He set up camera angles and decided what movements he wanted. I suppose his brief was to make everything appear as real as possible as that was the way the fornat was structured. I don't think David Lane directed any of the Captain Scarlet episodes, except perhaps the second. I believe Desmond Saunders directed the pilot, but I think David worked on Thunderbird Six. I don't know if he got fed up with directing puppet films.

There were many directors on a series. Were you ever in the position of having to advise a director that he was wanting more from the puppets than you could provide?

It was quite refreshing to have a different director for different episodes. We would always try to get what the director wanted from a puppet. Some were more adamant than others in that things could be done — some were proved right, some wrong. Usually if something didn't look right on the monitor, another idea would come up. Some found the job hard, some I think thought it was beneath them to direct puppet films, for them it was either employment or a step up the ladder. At the tine I didn't know whether they approached the job differently from directing humans, or not. I suppose it was much the same.

Did directors follow a rigid shooting script, or did you have to perfopm the same movements time and time again for different angles ?

We followed a normal script. All medium shots would be done from one angle, then the complimentary, if needed, and the same proceedure for close—ups.

Did you have script conferences?

I can't remember having one. We would discuss the new script, and anything special we needed puppet-wise, but this was, as they say, an 'on-going' situation.

Did you feel any damage was done by introducing the lifelike puppets ?

I was happy to be employed as a puppeteer, but felt then and feel even more strongly now, that puppets can represent so much more than human beings. They can be stylised or designed to look like anything on this world — or off it! It was obviously the way the series were going, but a person could have done any of the things the puppets were then doing, they were no longer caricatured people as, say, Parker in Thunderbirds had been.

Who designed the new techniques in Captain Scarlet?

Earnest Shutt Junior, or 'Plugg' as he was known, was, I think, responsible for the design of the underneath control. This worked the head in any direction and the eyes, from below, and was actually very positive and able to give very subtle head movements. It was mainly used for characters in cars and 'planes in Captain Scarlet and Joe 90. I can't really think of other techniques introduced, apart from scaling down the figures, especially the heads, to human proportions.

How long did it take to shoot Captain Scarlet?

I was employed at A.P. for almost two years, it must have taken nine months to a year to shoot one series.

Do you know how the character's shoulder lights and cap microphones worked ?

The shoulder lights had wires going through the puppet's bodies and down their trouser leg. A battery would be connected when the lights needed to operate. The cap microphone worked by air through a small connection at the back of the cap. A rubber bulb and tube were joined to this, and when the bulb was squeezed, the microphone dropped down. The camera angle always hid the rubber tube from view.

The electronics were now located in the puppet body, did this present any problems?

Only that the solenoid was quite small and attached to the puppet's mouth by a length of nylon. This quite often needed fine adjustment to get the mouth to open the right amount.

What was the biggest set on the show?

I think some Martian building in the first episode was quite large, but other large sets I remember were in Joe 90.

How many Captain Scarlet and Blue puppets were there?

There were a Captain Blue and Scarlet body on each stage. I think there was a 'normal' strung head for each one, and a 'frowner', smiler' and 'blinker' The 'blinker' was for when the eyes shut downwards for waking up or going to sleep, There was also a Blue and Scarlet on an underneath control on each stage.

The Angel aircraft cockpit shots — were these projected ?

No, these were all painted roller backgrounds.

Captain Scarlet saw increased violence, do you think this was a cood or bad thing ?

Personally, no. Although I don't know what the effect of a puppet's violence on another puppet or object is to a (presumed) child audience. I thought the eye things at the beginning of Captain Scarlet, and the voice, were quite creepy.

As Joe 90 was smaller than the 'adult' puppets, did he present peculiar problems?

I think he did present problems, but all the electronics were getting smaller anyway. Main problems again were fine adjustments on the mouth movement to keep it opening the right amount. Also, as a puppet, he didn't weigh much, and to get successful movement you needed something to pull against.

Joe 90 wasn't terribly successful. Do you feel this led to the collapse of Century 21? Who decided on the shift of emphasis from hardware to characters? Did it give you a lot more to do personally?

I preferred Joe 90 to Captain Scarlet. I don't think any more work was involved as Spectrum had a whole band of people in it, and Joe 90 Was basically Joe, his father, Sam and Shane. I suppose Gerry and Sylvia must have come up with the format for the series, but I still think it must have been difficult to go upwards from Thunderbirds. I suppose a lot of things must have contributed to the demise of Century 21.

Joe 90 was the ninth puppet series, was there a feeling of boredom at the studios?

To a certain extent, yes.

Was daily life tedious?

I was beginning to get fed up with the lack of puppet movement, just head movement and perhaps hand movement. The daily life couldn't be called tedious by any stretch of the imagination, but I was being awakened to the possibilities of filmed puppetry.

From all the series, which was your favourite and do you have a favourite episode?

Thunderbirds would be the favourite series, with Joe 90 second. One Joe 90 episode, a western, was quite a good episode.

Were you a Gerry Anderson fan before you worked for him?

Not necessarily of Gerry, because I didn't know who he was, but I had watched all of the film series.

What happened to the puppets after they finished?

I don't know. I believe Gerry and Sylvia had one or two, but not the majority of them.

Why did you leave after Joe 90?

Because I was getting bored with operating, and I thought I had better try to get some A Levels.

Did you have any association with 1973 Stage 3 production about Thunderbirds which was staged by Christine Glanville, Rowena White and David Ross ?

No. I have filled in with Stage 3 in Rupert, but not on their Thunderbirds show.

Can you tell us who were the other operators who worked with you?

Yes, Christine Glanville, Wanda Webb, Rowena White, Linda Rutter, Peter Johns, John and Sheena Lane, and one or two others whose names I can't remember.

What have you done since leaving Anderson? Have you ever thought about joining Turner and Glanville on such shows as rupert and The Munch Bunch?

I've done various amateur puppet shows. Then professional on my own account touring schools with my own company called Romany Uppets. Then working from Da Silva Puppet Theatre touring theatres. Then I spent three years doing freelance work for television, film and theatre companies, and making my own film. Now working part—time for the Norwich Puppet Theatre, but at the same time, I've been filming tests on stop—frame animation puppets, I have worked on and off for Stage 3 in Rupert, and have been to see Mary Turner shooting once or twice, but I have not worked for her.

What form does your work now take?

I'm doing stop—frame tests on a puppet ballerina. This is for another film which I want to make called What The Moon Saw, by Hans Andersen. It involves Punch, Harlequin and Columbine in a sort of eternal triangle with dance, music and narration. My other film, The Little Match Girl, has won about six awards now, including 'Movie Maker Ten Best Award' and the Silver Award in the Fairytale Film Festival in Odeuse, Denmark. This was good as it is an Open Festival, not an amateur one like the others.

Jan King, thank you for your time and interest.

text ©1982 David Nightingale, Brendan Sheehan & Philip D. Rae
published originally in Supermarionation is Go! #5 & #6