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Aloysius Parker
Thunderbirds character
Parker Thunderbirds.png
The original puppet character
First appearance "Trapped in the Sky"
(30 September 1965)
Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Designed by John Blundall
(puppet sculptor)
Portrayed by Ron Cook
(2004 live-action film)
Voiced by David Graham (TV series)
Jon Culshaw (2021 audio series)
Information
Nickname(s) Nosey
Occupation Lady Penelope's butler and chauffeur
International Rescue field agent
Origin London, England

Aloysius "Nosey" Parker is a fictional character introduced in the British 1960s Supermarionation television series Thunderbirds, who also appears in the film sequels Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968) and the 2004 live-action adaptation Thunderbirds. He is the butler and chauffeur to Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward and, like her, a field agent of the secret organisation International Rescue.

The puppet character of the TV series and first two films was voiced by David Graham. In the live-action film, Parker is portrayed by Ron Cook. Graham reprised his role for the part-computer-animated, part-live-action remake series Thunderbirds Are Go!, which first aired in the UK in 2015.

The character is known for his hypercorrected Cockney speech and frequent use of the phrase "Yes, M'Lady" to acknowledge Penelope's orders.

Character biography

Parker is employed at Creighton-Ward Mansion by Lady Penelope, serving as her butler and chauffeur (driving FAB 1, a modified, pink Rolls-Royce). Like Penelope, he is an International Rescue field agent. Born in London, Parker speaks with a heavy Cockney accent, although he frequently attempts to speak with Received Pronunciation (most notably for his catchphrase, "Yes, M'Lady").

Parker is a reformed criminal, having served prison sentences for cat burglary and safe-cracking. His criminal exploits, coupled with a prominent facial feature, earned him the nickname "Nosey" (this may also be a reference to his nosiness – he eavesdrops on his employer's conversations in "Vault of Death" and Thunderbird 6). He was rescued from a life of crime by Penelope, who recruited him as an aide in her espionage activities. Parker's underworld contacts frequently prove useful during the pair's missions (such as in "The Cham-Cham", when he blackmails a talent agent to have an undercover Penelope pass off as a nightclub singer). It is revealed in "The Cham-Cham" that Parker suffers from vertigo. In the episode "The Man from MI.5" it is revealed he still has the temptation to return to his burglar ways as he was caught with a suitcase full of safecracking equipment, much to Penelope's chagrin. He later complained to himself about the situation, saying "'Ow she expects me to keep my 'and in I don't know".

He is very "old school" in the ways of safecracking, as the equipment consisted of a brick, various wrenches, a bit and brace etc. In "Vault of Death" he is shown to use a stethoscope instead of a modern detector. He stated that it was good enough for his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather. This implies that cat burglary and safecracking were a family business and probably explains where he got his skills. In the same episode it is revealed Parker knew a fellow burglar nicknamed "light-fingered Fred" when he was in prison and he further claimed that Fred was the only one who could possibly rival him in the skills of his criminal expertise.

It is revealed in the episode "Danger at Ocean Deep" that Parker has an upper-class connoisseur-like taste for fine beverages as he manages to pilfer a bottle of vintage 1998 champagne, right under Penelope's nose no less, and swap it with pure tonic water without her knowing anything. During the launching of the ship he and another fellow chauffeur, a friend named Stevens, share in drinking the entire bottle together. Penelope later finds Parker asleep and hiccupping. A slurring Parker then (drunkenly) reveals his theft. He says he did this on the grounds that it was such a good year it seemed a shame to see it go to waste.

Appearances

  • "Trapped in the Sky"
  • "The Perils of Penelope"
  • "Day of Disaster"
  • "30 Minutes After Noon"
  • "Vault of Death"
  • "The Mighty Atom"
  • "The Impostors"
  • "The Man From MI.5"
  • "Danger at Ocean Deep"
  • "The Duchess Assignment"
  • "Brink of Disaster"
  • "The Cham-Cham"
  • "Atlantic Inferno"
  • "Path of Destruction"
  • "Alias Mr. Hackenbacker"
  • "Lord Parker's 'Oliday"
  • Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Thunderbird 6
  • Thunderbirds
  • Thunderbirds Are Go!

Background

Although Lady Penelope and Parker were among the first characters to be developed, neither was conceived as a central character. The inspiration for Parker came from director David Elliott, who had been reading a spy novel about a safecracker who unwittingly becomes a government agent. The character's Cockney speech (dubbed "Parkerese" by Graham and series creator Gerry Anderson) was based on the voice of a wine waiter at the Kings Arms in Cookham, Berkshire, which was regularly visited by members of the crew. Anderson said that Arthur, who was once in the service of Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, spoke with a "warm patter, dropping his 'aitches' and putting them back in the wrong places, and this intrigued me ... I thought [his] voice would be perfect." He therefore had Graham dine at the establishment to learn the style. Anderson did not inform Arthur of his contribution to Parker's characterisation, worried that he would dislike the public recognition that it might bring if it became widely known.

The look of the character was based mainly on comedian Ben Warriss, a member of the Crazy Gang. John Blundall, who sculpted the puppet, said that he drew inspiration from "typical, clichéd butlers in black-and-white English comedy films", or "small-time crooks, barrow-boy types who wanted to better themselves, and the sort of characters played by Ronald Shiner and Miles Malleson in old movies." He also stated that the facial styling was partly influenced by masks worn in Japanese Noh dance-drama. He said that he designed the character to stand out "just to be bloody-minded, because I wanted to prove that to produce really strong characters in puppets, you need to stylise them and find two or three characteristics to combine and communicate with."

In the 2004 live-action film, in which Parker is played by Ron Cook, the character retains his Cockney accent but no longer hypercorrects his words. In an interview, Cook explained that "we thought his tendency to talk posh wasn't really relevant to this day and age."

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