Thunderbirds' Lady Penelope puppeteer to give talk in Wolverhampton

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

The puppeteer behind Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds will be making a guest appearance at Wolverhampton Art Gallery this month where the puppet herself is on show.

Mary Turner with Lady Penelope

Mary Turner who operated Lady Penelope is appearing as part of the gallery's exhibition 'TV Puppets: Icons From 80 Years of Entertainment' on Saturday, March 24 at 2pm.

Mary's career started in 1958 on ‘Torchy The Battery boy’ for AP films where she went on to work on nine of Gerry Anderson's iconic shows, including ‘Stingray’, ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Captain Scarlet’, as well as her own series’ such as Rupert the Bear.

As ‘Supervising Puppeteer’, she was at the forefront of developing the technology in the puppets as well as bringing them to life.

Thunderbirds 1965: Lady Penelope and Parker in Delhi

Mary was also responsible for sculpting what were to become many of our most enduring and iconic TV puppet characters, including Steve Zodiak, Marina, Troy Tempest, Captain Scarlet and of course Lady Penelope.

Archivist at The National Puppetry Archive Michael Dixon said: "It’s been great being able to showcase puppets from across the decades and see generations of families brought together. Mary was at the forefront of developing technology in the puppeteering worlds and I am sure her talk will be insightful and inspiring to all those who attend."

Earlier in February the gallery welcomed Ronnie Le Drew, the puppeteer of Rainbow's Zippy, to launch the popular TV puppet exhibition, which runs until the end of April. His visit kicked off the gallery's TV puppet display, which has seen visitors young and old turn out to get up close to Bagpuss, the Clangers, Fozzie Bear and other loveable characters from childrens' television.

Councillor John Reynolds, cabinet member for city economy said: "The puppet exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery has been extremely successful to date, for adults and children. We have already welcomed Ronnie le Drew to Wolverhampton whose talk sold out and we are hoping residents and locals will be as enthusiastic for Mary Turner."


Lady Penelope Deals With Her Pursuers With Class - Thunderbirds

Other puppets on show include Bagpuss, the Clangers and Basil Brush. The exhibition runs until April 29.

Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased in advance by phoning 01902 552055 or visiting Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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