British film and television producer Gerry Anderson has passed away aged 83, having suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease since early 2010. Born in London in 1929, Anderson began his career working at Gainsborough Pictures in the 1940s and after completing his national service he went on to form AP Films alongside cinematographer Arthur Provis, with the duo then producing the children’s series The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-1958) for Granada Television. This marked Anderson’s first-foray into the world of puppetry, and AP Films followed this up with further puppet series including Torchy the Battery Boy (1958-1959), Four Feather Falls (1959-1960) and Supercar (1960-1961) – the latter of which officially introduced the ‘supermarionation’ technique that would become synonymous with Anderson’s body of work.
Following the space adventure series Fireball XL5 (1962), Anderson and his wife and producing partner Sylvia Anderson went on to develop Stingray (1964) before enjoying their biggest hit with the sci-fi adventure Thunderbirds, which ran throughout 1965 and 1966 and ultimately went on to become the most endearing and famous of all of Anderson’s productions. Following a name change to Century 21 Productions the company produced three more supermarionation TV shows – Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons (1967), Joe 90 (1968) and The Secret Service (1969) – as well as two Thunderbirds features, Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968), with both failing to transfer the series’ popularity into box office receipts.
After the live-action feature Doppelgänger (1969), Anderson returned to the small screen in 1970 with the live-action series UFO and later produced his final collaboration with Sylvia, Space: 1999 (1975-1977), which was the most-expensive British show ever-produced at that point in time. However, it would also be Anderson’s last success until the mid-1980s when he served as co-creator of another puppet-based action series, Terrahawks (1983-1986); he subsequently went on to produce the sci-fi police procedural Space Precinct before returning to Saturday morning children’s television with Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlett – a ‘hypermarionation’ CG reboot of the classic 1967 series.