Why does Wikipedia have two possible birth dates for Lady Penelope?

"Born on 24 December 2000 or 2039": Surely the 2000 date is wildly inaccurate?

  • 7
    Wikipedia is frequently inaccurate. That's why you need to go to the source
    – Valorum
    Sep 11, 2022 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


An earlier date (1999) was confirmed in sources contemporary to the 1965 TV series.

"Lady Penelope was born on 24th December 1999 and is 27 years old."

Thunderbirds All Series Guide,” Supermarionation is Go #10 (Spring 1984. p. 26)

This appears to have been retconned to 2039, presumably because the show was later retconned to take place in the 2060s, rather than 2026.

FAB Facts about Lady Penelope:

She was born on 24 December 2039

GerryAnderson.com - Lady Penelope Investigates

  • 1
    It's like asking what year James Bond was born in. He seems to be roughly the same age in the 1960's when Sean Connery played him as he was in the 2020's when Daniel Craig was in the role (and everyone in between), and all the movies were set in present day for when they came out. They have to keep pushing it forward with each new version to meet their audience in the same place. Sep 13, 2022 at 20:27
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman - there's always a danger that if you put real numbers in your film, that time makes fools of you
    – Valorum
    Sep 13, 2022 at 20:31

On first glance it might just seem an issue of the original and the remake being set in different continuities and thus having different details, but there's actually more to it!

According to another Wikipedia article, Thunderbirds is supposedly set between 2065 and 2067.

It includes the note:

Although some sources (including Marriott 1993, pp. 114-121) indicate that Thunderbirds is set in the 2020s, Gerry Anderson confirmed that International Rescue is formed in 2065 (Hearn 2015, p. 46). Shots of props that point to settings other than the 2060s – such as a wall calendar indicating that the final episode, "Give or Take a Million", takes place in December 2026 – were dismissed by Anderson and art director Bob Bell as production design errors (Hearn 2015, p. 46).

Let's presume that the material that originally claimed Lady Penelope was born in 1999 (likely "Supermarionation is Go #10" going by what @Valorum dug up) derived that date from the wall caldender that said December 2026.

That leaves a few possibilities:

  • That the original derivation was based on a production design error and the calender should have said 2066. Thus Lady Penelope was born in 2039.
  • That the series was originally supposed to be set in the 2020s and Gerry Anderson (and other members of the production team) later changed their minds as the decades began to approach the 2020s. Thus Lady Penelope was born in 1999, and that detail was retconned so she is now born in 2039.
  • As the book this information is cited from was written in 2015 when the new "Thunderbirds Are Go" series was already in production and Gerry Anderson was 3 years dead, it's possible that the 2015 source material is in fact putting words into Gerry Anderson's mouth in order to suit the details of the remake. In which case, Lady Penelope should really have be born in 1999?

Perhaps with more digging it might be possible to discern the truth*, but until then I'll leave these as open possibilities and people can decide for themselves what to believe.

* It would really help if Wikipedia had provided a title and ISBN instead of just the author and year. Let this be a lesson to all would-be Wikipedians: cite your sources properly! They might be needed to determine 'important' information, like the true age of a fictional character.

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