Peter Dyneley

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Peter Dyneley
File:Peter Dyneley.tif
Dyneley in 1975
Born (1921-04-13)13 April 1921
Hastings, Sussex, England, UK
Died 19 August 1977(1977-08-19) (aged 56)
London, England, UK
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality British and Canadian
Education Radley College
Alma mater Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Occupation Film, television, stage and voice actor
Years active 1954–77
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Television Thunderbirds (1965–66)
Spouse(s) Christine May and Jane Hylton
Children 1st marriage: 1 son and 1 daughter

Peter Dyneley (13 April 1921 – 19 August 1977) was an Anglo-Canadian actor. Although he appeared in many smaller roles in both film and television, he is best remembered for supplying the voice of Jeff Tracy for the 1960s "Supermarionation" TV series Thunderbirds and its two film sequels, Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968), all produced by Gerry Anderson. Uncredited, Dyneley also provided the voice of the countdown that introduces the Thunderbirds title sequence.[1]

Life and career

Born in Hastings, Sussex, England, Peter Dyneley spent his early years in Canada but was educated at Radley College in Oxfordshire, England. He possessed dual nationality (Canadian and British) and served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studied opera and developed his bass voice. It was at this institution that he made the acquaintance of fellow student Christine May, whom he later married. They had two children, Richard and Amanda.

With his Canadian background, Dyneley frequently performed with a North American accent. He acted primarily in stage productions prior to 1954, when he turned his attention to film. On stage and in film, he regularly appeared opposite his second wife, the actress Jane Hylton, whom he met on the set of the horror film The Manster (1959). He also appeared as a guest star in many television series. He spoke fluent French, German and Spanish and was 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall. Dyneley died of cancer on 19 August 1977,[2] Hylton of a heart attack 18 months later, on 28 February 1979.

Thunderbirds voice-over

English actor Brian Cobby (1929–2012), former voice of the British Speaking Clock, claimed that it was he who had provided the voice-over countdown for the opening sequence of Thunderbirds in 1964.[3][4][5] This was refuted by Thunderbirds producer Gerry Anderson, who confirmed that the countdown was indeed recorded by Dyneley:

Question: An actor by the name of Brian Cobby has claimed that he was the voice of the famous '5-4-3-2-1. Thunderbirds Are Go!' countdown, whereas the voice sounds just like Jeff Tracy voice artist Peter Dyneley. Can you please confirm, just for the record, who the actual voice artist was? Ian Fryer, Bradford, W. Yorks
Answer: Sorry, but I haven't got a clue who Brian Cobby is, Ian! Does anyone really believe that we'd hire a different actor to record those eight words in preference to the talented team of artists we'd already assembled to perform in the series? I remember the countdown as being one of the hardest voice recording sessions as it wasn't just a case of someone coming in and reading out the lines. The actor had to really emote, and only an actor who had been involved in the production and understood what it was about could really do it. No, anyone who's heard the Thunderbirds countdown knows that it is Peter Dyneley.[1]

Dyneley's countdown was reused in the first trailer for the series' 2015 reboot Thunderbirds Are Go!,[6] as well as its opening sequence, and is also used for the launch countdown for the various Thunderbirds in the episodes.


Dyneley as Larry Stanford in The Manster (1959)

Television appearances


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gerry Anderson: "Ask Anderson" in FAB News, Issue 58 (Vol. 12, No. 2), p. 11.
  2. Family update by son Richard.
  3. "In 1965, I did one of my most famous voiceovers: the countdown for Thunderbirds." (Waitrose Food Illustrated, October 2002.)
  4. "10 Things We Didn't Know Last Week" – BBC News, November 2005.
  5. Profile published in the Insight from 2001 to 2004 – Voice of the Speaking Clock.
  6. Thunderbirds Are Go 2015 trailer – Thunderbirds Are Go trailer

External links