The weekly countdown built excitement and anticipation among children. "Five-four-three-two-one," an American-accented voiceover thundered. Trees and buildings rolled aside, a green spacecraft slid smoothly onto its launchpad and we tried to glimpse the wires as a puppet family representing International Rescue battled to save the world from disaster. Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds entertained several generations thanks to frequent repeats.

ITV planned a Thunderbirds-style ride as part of the £3.6 billion theme park to be built on Swanscombe peninsular. But Thunderbirds are not go. Hard-working conservationists won round one in a battle to get the project scrapped and wildlife on the peninsular preserved when ITV pulled out of the 1,150-acre project, leaving a huge gap in entertainment and funding for the London Resort. BBC followed suit, scuppering plans for Doctor Who and Top Gear-style sideshows. A spokesman said the company would only consider a new agreement if it could be shown the project would have a net positive environment impact. Some hope.

Wild Things: Nestboxes

This is all great news for nature lovers who launched fierce protests against a scheme which put the peninsular’s wildlife in jeopardy, particularly the rare distinguished jumping spider. So congratulations to the Save Swanscombe Peninsular group and Buglife whose tireless campaign resulted in a home win. So far it’s Spider 1, London Resort 0.

But it looks like this will go to extra time as grandiose plans have yet to be totally scrapped. The largest UK theme park would have six themed lands including a warehouse district, fairytale land, an Arthurian kingdom, and a sci-fi “Starport,” the fastest rollercoaster in Europe, dinosaur exhibit, water park, three hotels and shopping district. Plus probably some of the greatest traffic congestion and pollution in the UK.

Wild Things: Colours that keep the biters away

With spring bird migration underway, visit Swanscombe peninsular and see what would be lost: swallows swooping over lakes, majestic swans, perhaps a rare duck like garganey, bearded tits in the reeds, frogs, snakes and butterflies. We cannot afford to lose magical places like these so consider joining the protest group.

Now where did I put my Thunderbirds T-shirt ?

For more info see the Buglife website.