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Battlehawk used in the production of Terrahawks, approximately 1m long – estimate £4000-6000 at Ewbank’s on November 30.

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Now valued at around £150,000 in total, it became the property of Julian Bell, a driver and handyman at the Berkshire studios who hid it away for more than 30 years until his death last year.

Among the pieces from Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Terrahawks are original production puppets for Space Police, an Anderson project for which only one episode was ever made.

However, it was never aired on television before the idea was shelved and transformed into Space Precinct almost a decade later, so the puppets have never been seen in public.

Other previously hidden pieces include the puppet of Officer Cathy Costello, used in the pilot episode of Space Police, along with similar examples for three of the male characters, Officers Tom, Dick and Harry.

The auction also features a surviving puppet head from the original 1960s Captain Scarlet series, and Anderson’s personally annotated scripts and storyboards for a series of Thunderbirds that was never filmed.

The way that Anderson and his teams made the programmes means that a great deal of the props, models and sets from series such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Fireball XL5 never survived. He was always ready to move on to the next project and needed the sets cleared, so he used to give everything away or throw it out.