Gerry Anderson Dies

Thunderbirds creator was 83

Gerry Anderson

Some not so FAB news for Boxing Day: Gerry Anderson, the Supermarionation stalwart and the man who helped bring such iconic cult favourites as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Space 1999 to the screen, has died aged 83.

Kicking off his career in photography, Anderson won a traineeship with the British Colonial Film Unit, which led to an interest in editing and a job with Gainsborough Pictures.

But his ambitions had to be put on hold when he was conscripted into the RAF to complete his nation service in 1947. He returned to Gainsborough and stayed with the company until it folded in 1950, then worked as a freelancer.

He went on to work for other companies and founded his own company, AP Films in 1957. Early productions from the partnership included The Adventures Of Twizzle and Torchy The Battery Boy.

But everything changed in the 1960s when he and wife Sylvia began working on the series that would cement their reputations – even if Gerry always wanted to use puppets as a stepping-stone for his live-action TV and movie ambitions.

Supercar was the first of the company’s productions, and marked the first official use – though it had been pioneered earlier – of the term Supermarionation. With canny marketing sense and a yen for ideas, the Andersons and their collaborators went on to make Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons.

Later series would include live-action work such as UFO and Space 1999. Anderson was also offered the chance to co-write and produce a Bond film by the EON team, but though he created a treatment for an adaptation of Moonraker, nothing came of it.

Diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2010, he became a celebrity ambassador for The Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness of the condition.

He’s survived by four kids and a wealth of childhood memories.