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With a swanky mansion, a personal butler and an iconic pink convertible, she was once the glamorous blonde who brought a touch of class to British TV screens.   However the original Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds fame now appears to have let herself go turning up dusty and dishevelled after 30 years in a wardrobe.

The rare two-foot tall puppet, which was used in the original TV series in the 1960s, has spent the last three decades collecting dust at a property in Hertfordshire.
After the homeowner recently died, his family was tasked with clearing out his belongings and discovered the rare puppet which was stored away in the 1980s.

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Christina Trevanion, a regular antiques valuer on BBC daytime favourite Bargain Hunt, has consulted with experts including the iconic show’s original puppeteers and confirmed the puppet is authentic and was used between 1964 and 1968.

She said: ‘It is remarkable that this has been lying in a wardrobe for so long.  ‘These puppets were thought of as part of the trade at the time and it just wasn’t known then what treasures they would go on to become.

‘There have been many replicas made of the original figures, and so it was important to establish its authenticity before offering Lady Penelope on the open market.
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‘Four of the world’s leading authorities on supermarionation authenticate the figure, including some of the original puppet operators and puppet makers on the Thunderbirds series.’

The family of the puppet’s late owner wish to remain anonymous.

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The science fiction fantasy adventure telling the story of a daring rescue squad was filmed in Slough and first aired in October 1965.   The programme attracted an audience of 100 million people across 66 countries at its height!

Very few of the original puppets are understood to have survived but Gerry Anderson, who created Thunderbirds and died in 2013, kept the original Parker model. This went on to be sold for £38,000 in 2001.

The puppet will go on auction at Trevanion and Dean auction house, Shropshire, on Saturday, August 20.

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