Tuesday, January 01, 2013

5-4-3-2-1: Thunderbirds take Gerry Anderson skyword

From Wikipedia

Gerry Anderson, MBE (born Gerald Alexander Abrahams; 14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) was an English publisher, producer, director, and writer, famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly those involving supermarionation, working with modified marionettes.
Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series The Adventures of Twizzle. Supercar (1961 – 62) and Fireball XL5 (1962) followed later, both series breaking into the large U. S. television market in the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s Anderson produced his most famous and successful series, Thunderbirds. Other television productions of the 1960s include Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. His production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed Century 21 Productions, was originally formed with partners Arthur Provis, Reg Hill and John Read.
Anderson also wrote and produced several feature films, although these did not perform as well as expected at the box office. Following a successful shift towards live action productions in the 1970s, his long and highly successful association with Lew Grade's ITC (Incorporated Television Company) ended with the second series of Space: 1999. After a career lull when a number of new series concepts failed to get off the ground, his career began a new phase in the early 1980s when audience nostalgia for his earlier Supermarionation series (prompted by Saturday morning re-runs in Britain) led to new Anderson productions being commissioned. Later projects include a 2005 CGI remake of Captain Scarlet entitled Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet.
Anderson had no involvement in the film Thunderbirds (2004), a live-action adaptation of his TV series. His ex-wife Sylvia Anderson served as a consultant on the project. Over the years, various British comics have featured strips based on Anderson's creations. These started with TV Comic during the early 1960s, followed by TV Century 21 and its various sister publications: Lady Penelope, TV Tornado, Solo and Joe 90. In the 1970s there was Countdown (later renamed TV Action). There were also tie-in annuals that were produced each year featuring Anderson's TV productions.

Life and work

Early life

Gerald Alexander Abrahams was born in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Obstetric Hospital in Bloomsbury, London, and spent the early years of his life in Kilburn,[1] and Neasden,[2] London. He was educated at Kingsgate infants school in Kilburn and Braintcroft junior and senior schools in Neasden.
Anderson won a scholarship to Willesden County Grammar School.[3] His parents were Deborah (née Leonoff) and Joseph Abrahams.
Anderson's Jewish paternal grandfather had the surname of Bieloglovski. He fled from an area near the Russian-Polish border and then settled in London, England. His name was changed by a British immigration official to "Abrahams" when he arrived in 1895. Anderson's mother Deborah changed their name to "Anderson" in 1939 because she liked the sound of this name.
When World War II broke out, Gerry Anderson's older brother Lionel volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force, and he was stationed in the United States of America for advanced training. Lionel often wrote letters to his family, and in one letter he described a U.S. Army Air Forces air base called Thunderbird Field, the name of which stuck in his younger brother's memory.
Gerry Anderson began his career in photography, and after the war he earned a traineeship with the British Colonial Film Unit. He developed an interest in film editing and moved on to Gainsborough Pictures, where he gained further experience.
In 1947, he was conscripted for national service with the RAF. After completing his military service, he returned to Gainsborough, where he worked until the studio folded in 1950. He worked freelance on a succession of feature films.[4]

Marriage and family

During this period he married Betty Wrightman, and they had two children, Joy and Linda.[4]
During the production of Twizzle, Anderson began an affair with the secretary Sylvia Thamm and eventually left his wife and children. Following their divorce, Anderson married Thamm in November 1960, while he was working on Four Feather Falls.

Start of television career

In the mid-1950s, Anderson joined the independent television production company Polytechnic Studios, as a director, where he met cameraman Arthur Provis. After Polytechnic collapsed, Anderson, Provis, Reg Hill and John Read formed Pentagon Films in 1957. Pentagon was wound up soon after and Anderson and Provis formed a new company, AP Films, for Anderson-Provis Films, with Hill and Read as their partners. Anderson continued his freelance directing work to obtain funds to maintain the fledgling company.
AP Films' first television venture was produced for Granada Television. Created by Roberta Leigh, The Adventures of Twizzle (1957–1958) was a series for young children about a doll with the ability to 'twizzle' his arms and legs to greater lengths. It was Anderson's first work with puppets, and the start of his long and successful collaborations with puppeteer Christine Glanville, special effects technician Derek Meddings and composer/arranger Barry Gray. It was Anderson's desire to move into live-action television.[5]
The Adventures of Twizzle was followed by another low budget puppet series with Leigh, Torchy the Battery Boy (1958–1959). Although the APF puppet productions made the Andersons world famous, Gerry Anderson was always unhappy about working with puppets. He used them primarily to get "a foot in the door" with TV networks, hoping to have them serve as a stepping stone to his goal of making live action film and TV drama.
AP Films' third series was the children's western fantasy-adventure series Four Feather Falls (1959 – 60). Provis left the partnership, working once again with Roberta Leigh on Space Patrol, but the company retained the name "AP Films" for several more years. Four Feather Falls was the first Anderson series to use an early version of the so-called Supermarionation process, though this term had yet to be used.
Despite APF's success with Four Feather Falls, Granada did not commission another series from them, so Anderson took up the offer to direct a film for Anglo-Amalgamated Studios. Crossroads to Crime was a low-budget B-grade crime thriller and although Anderson hoped that its success might enable him to move into mainstream film-making, it failed at the box office.
By this time, APF was in financial trouble and the company was struggling to find a buyer for their new puppet series. They were rescued by a fortuitous meeting with Lew Grade, the ATV boss who offered to buy the show. This began a long friendship and a very successful professional association between the two men.

Sylvia Anderson's increased role

AP Films logo
The new series, Supercar, (1960 – 61) was created by Anderson and Reg Hill and marked several important advances for APF. Sylvia Anderson took on a larger role and became a partner in the company. The series was also the official debut of Supermarionation, the electronic system that made the marionettes more lifelike and convincing on screen. The system used the audio signal from the pre-recorded tapes of the actors' voices to trigger solenoids installed in the heads of the puppets, making their lips to move in synchronization with the voices of the actors and actresses.
One of Anderson's most successful ventures was inaugurated during the production of Supercar—the establishment of AP Films (Merchandising) Ltd, a separate company set up to handle the licensing of merchandising rights for APF properties; it was headed by Keith Shackleton (not the wildlife artist and TV presenter of the same name), a long time friend of Anderson's from their National Service days.
APF's innovative merchandising made them a world leader in the field, and they licensed a huge range of toys, books, magazines and related items. The worldwide popularity of their TV shows was coupled with astute marketing, and the combination made APF one of the most successful merchandising ventures of the decade. The die-cast metal toys from series such as Thunderbirds were very popular at the time, and they now number among the most collectible toys of their kind. Models from almost all their series have been produced ever since by companies throughout the world, notably in Japan, where the TV series by Anderson have a dedicated following.
The next series by APF was the futuristic space adventure Fireball XL5 (1962) and it was the company's biggest success yet, becoming the first Anderson series sold to an American TV network, NBC-TV. Around this time Anderson also saw his Supermarionation style attract imitators, most notably Space Patrol which used similar techniques. It was made by several former employees of Anderson. Produced in 1962, the 39-episode series debuted on British television in April 1963, and it was later broadcast in America and Canada.
After the completion of Fireball XL5, Lew Grade offered to buy AP Films. Although Anderson was initially reluctant, the deal eventually went ahead, with Grade becoming the managing director, and the Andersons, Hill, and Read becoming directors of the company.
Shortly after the buy-out, APF began production on a new puppet series, Stingray (1964), the first British children's TV series to be filmed in colour. For the new production APF moved to new studios in Slough, Berkshire. The new and bigger facilities allowed them to make major improvements in special effects, notably in the underwater sequences, as well as advances in puppetry, with the use of a variety of interchangeable heads for each character to convey different expressions.


APF's next project for ATV was inspired by a mining disaster that occurred in West Germany in October 1963. This real-life drama inspired Anderson to create a new programme format about a rescue organisation, which eventually became his most famous and popular series, Thunderbirds (1964–1966). The dramatic title was inspired by the letter Anderson's older brother Lionel had written to his family during World War II.
Grade was very enthusiastic about the concept and agreed to back a series of 25-minute episodes (the same length as Stingray), so the Andersons scripted a pilot episode, "Trapped in the Sky," and began production. Gerry initially wanted actress Fenella Fielding to perform the voice of Lady Penelope, but Sylvia convinced her husband to let her play the role. Thunderbirds also marked the start of a long professional association with actor Shane Rimmer, who voiced Scott Tracy.
Production on Thunderbirds had been underway for several months when Grade saw the completed 25-minute version of "Trapped in the Sky." He was so excited by the result that he insisted that the episodes be extended to fifty minutes. With a substantial increase in budget, the production was restructured to expand episodes already filmed or in pre-production, and create new 50-minute scripts for the remainder. Grade and others were so convinced that Thunderbirds would be a success that a feature-film version of the series was proposed even before the pilot episode went to air. At this approximate time, APF was renamed Century 21 Productions.
After APF was renamed Century 21 Productions, it enjoyed its greatest success with Thunderbirds, and the series made the Andersons world-famous. The 32-episode series was not initially successful in the United States because it was only given a limited release, although it later became hugely successful in syndication. But it was a major hit with young audiences in the UK, Australia and other countries and retains a huge and dedicated international following that spans several generations.
Unfortunately, during the production of Thunderbirds, the Andersons' marriage began to come under increasing strain, and the company also had a setback when the Thunderbirds Are GO feature film flopped. According to interviews published since, Anderson has said that he considered divorce, but this was halted when Sylvia announced that she was pregnant. Their son, Gerry Anderson Jr., was born in July 1967.
By that time, production had started on a new series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967), which saw the advent of more realistic puppet characters which, thanks to improvements in electronics which allowed miniaturisation of the lip-sync mechanisms, could now be built closer to normal human proportions.
Century 21's second feature film, Thunderbird 6, was an even bigger failure than the first, and the problems were compounded by their next (and penultimate) Supermarionation series, Joe 90 (1968). This series returned to more 'kid-friendly' territory, depicting the adventures of a young boy who is also a secret agent and whose scientist father uses a supercomputer called 'BIG RAT' which can 'program' Joe with special knowledge and abilities for his missions. Its relatively poor reception made it the last of the classic Anderson marionette shows.
On 29 August 2008, it was announced by UK Newspaper The Sun that plans had been formed to make a new computer generated series of Thunderbirds. Gerry Anderson started talks with ITV for the rights to the original series.[6]

Live action

Anderson's next project took the special effects expertise built up over previous TV projects and combined it with live action. Century 21's third feature film, Doppelgänger (1969) (aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) was a dark, Twilight Zone style sci-fi project about an astronaut who travels to a newly discovered planet on the opposite side of the sun, which proves to be an exact mirror-image of Earth. It starred American actor Roy Thinnes, famed at the time for his role as the protagonist in the American television series The Invaders. Although it was not a major commercial success, Doppelganger was nominated for an Academy Award for its superb special effects.
Century 21's return to television was the abortive series The Secret Service, which this time mixed live action with Supermarionation. The series was inspired by Anderson's love of British comedian Stanley Unwin, who was known for his nonsense language, 'Unwinese', which he created and used on radio, in film and most famously on the 1968 Small Faces LP Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. Despite Anderson's track record and Unwin's popularity, the series was cancelled before its first screening; Lew Grade considered that it would be incomprehensible to American audiences, and thus unsellable.
In 1969 the Andersons began production of a new TV series, UFO, Century 21's first full live-action television series. This sci-fi action-adventure series starred American-born actor George Victor "Edward" Bishop, who had also provided the voice of Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons, as Commander Edward Straker, head of a secret defence organisation set up to counter an alien invasion. UFO was decidedly more adult in tone than any of the previous puppet series, and it mixed the classic Century 21 futuristic action-adventure and special effects with some very serious dramatic elements. UFO was the last series made under the Century 21 Productions banner.

Unfilmed James Bond script

During production of UFO, Gerry Anderson was approached directly by Harry Saltzman (at the time co-producer of the James Bond film series with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli), and was invited to write and produce the next film in the series, which was to be Moonraker.[7] Collaborating with Tony Barwick to provide the characterisation, whilst he himself focused on the action sequences, Anderson wrote and delivered a treatment to Saltzman. Nothing ultimately came of it, and Broccoli and Saltzman proceeded to make Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Live and Let Die (1973) and, after co-producing 1974's Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, the Saltzman-Broccoli partnership dissolved. Offered £20,000 for the treatment, Anderson refused, fearing that if he accepted he would not be at the helm when it was made; the next Bond film to be made was 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. (This film used only the title of the actual Ian Fleming novel.) Anderson started legal proceedings against Broccoli for plagiarism of story elements but withdrew the action shortly after, nervous of the legal might lined up against him.[citation needed] He relinquished the treatment, and received £3,000 in compensation.[citation needed] A film version of Moonraker was eventually produced in 1979, but did not involve any of Anderson's material, although the special effects were supervised by Derek Meddings, who had spent his early years working for Anderson's Supermarionation programmes.

After Century 21

By the time UFO concluded, the relationship between the Andersons had deteriorated. Although produced under the aegis of a new company, Group Three Productions (the three being both of the Andersons and Reg Hill), Gerry decided not to work with his wife on his next project, the ITC action series The Protectors. It was one of Anderson's few non-original projects. Lew Grade himself was heavily involved in the programme, and cast both the lead actors, Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter. The production was difficult for Anderson, who clashed with the famously difficult Vaughn.[8] There were also many logistical problems arising from the Europe-wide filming of the show, but it was very successful in both the UK and America and its theme song "Avenues and Alleyways" became a hit record in the UK for singer Tony Christie. It was also the first live-action series produced by Anderson to survive to a second season.

Space: 1999

Following The Protectors, Anderson worked on several new projects, none of which he was able to take into production. A proposed second series of UFO was not undertaken, and a return to puppetry in the television pilot for a series called The Investigator, failed to find a buyer. Elements of the abandoned second series of UFO were eventually turned into what became the most expensive television series ever made in that era of entertainment, Space: 1999.
Another futuristic science-fiction adventure, it was based on the premise that a huge thermonuclear explosion on the Moon's surface (caused by the storage of nuclear waste there) projected the Moon out of orbit and into interplanetary space. This TV series starred the American husband-and-wife duo of actors Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. These two had gained international fame in the TV series Mission: Impossible. They were cast at the insistence of Grade, and against Sylvia Anderson's strenuous objections.[citation needed]

Separation from Sylvia Anderson

The Andersons' marriage broke down irrevocably during the first series of Space: 1999 in 1975; Gerry announced his intention to separate on the evening of the wrap party.[9][10] Sylvia severed her ties with Group Three, and to alleviate his financial plight, Gerry Anderson sold his share of the profits from the APF/Century 21 shows and their holiday home in Portugal to Lew Grade in return for a one-off payment. It was a decision he later bitterly regretted because he could not have then foreseen the huge value the shows would have when eventually released on home video.
Between making the two series of Space: 1999, Anderson produced a one-off television special, The Day After Tomorrow (also known as Into Infinity), about two spacefaring families en route to Alpha Centauri, for an NBC series of programmes illustrating current scientific theory for popular consumption. While making this project Anderson met Mary Robins, a secretary working at the studios; they began a relationship and were married in April 1981.
Space: 1999 was successful enough that a second series went into production in 1976 with American producer Fred Freiberger brought in to replace Sylvia Anderson. Freiberger was known for producing the final season of the original Star Trek. Under Freiberger the series underwent a number of cast and cosmetic changes which to this day inspire debate as to their merits or lack thereof. According to The Space: 1999 Documentary, produced by Kindred Productions for Fanderson, the second series was successful enough that a third almost happened; however, the documentary features Martin Landau stating that the idea was killed because Lew Grade needed money to help finance and promote his pet feature film project Raise The Titanic. Consequently, the budget that would have paid for the third series was redirected into that movie project (which subsequently flopped at the box office). However, given that Raise The Titanic did not enter production until 1979 (and was not promoted and released until the following year), it is more likely that the money that would otherwise have financed a third season of Space: 1999 instead financed the production of ITC's Return of the Saint series. Space: 1999 marked the end of Anderson's association with ATV.
By the late 1970s, Anderson's life and career was at a low point—he was in financial difficulty, found it hard to get work, and perhaps most devastatingly, became estranged from his young son after receiving a note written by him stating that he did not want to see Gerry any more. Anderson suspected that Sylvia was behind this, but there was little he could do, and he would have no contact with his son for over twenty years.


In 1981, episodes of many of Anderson's Supermarionation series were combined and edited together as films. These aired under the title Super Space Theatre.
In the early 1980s, Anderson formed a new partnership, Anderson Burr Pictures Ltd, with businessman Christopher Burr. The new company's first production was based on an unrealised concept devised by Anderson in the late seventies for a Japanese cartoon series. Terrahawks marked Anderson's return to working with puppets, but rather than marionettes this series used a new system dubbed 'Supermacromation' which used highly sophisticated glove puppets—an approach undoubtedly inspired by the great advances in this form of puppetry made by Jim Henson and his colleagues.
It featured another reuse of the Captain Scarlet/UFO formula of a secret organisation defending against aliens. Terrahawks ran successfully from 1983 to 1986 in the UK and only fell short of a four year American syndication deal by one season when the show was cancelled, scrapping attempts at making it more well known. Terrahawks retains a cult following to this day, regarded by some as being at times a "black comedy" version of many of Anderson's older series in addition to being a straight science fiction series. In equal contrast, however, it is regarded by some fans as an unwise rehash of many of the visual concepts of Thunderbirds, and on only a fraction of the Thunderbirds budget. Anderson has claimed on record that he would rather forget the show.
Anderson hoped to continue his renewed success with a series called Space Police a new show mixing live-action and puppets. The Space Police name had already been registered by another company, so Anderson's programme eventually emerged in 1995 as Space Precinct. A pilot film had previously been made with Shane Rimmer, but it took almost ten years to get the concept to the screen. In the meantime, Anderson and Burr produced the cult stop-motion animated series Dick Spanner, which enjoyed many showings on the British Channel 4 in the late eighties and early nineties. It was the final project completed by Anderson Burr. Anderson then joined the Moving Picture Company as a commercials director, and provided special effects direction for the hit musical comedy Return to the Forbidden Planet.


The cult appeal of Thunderbirds and the other Supermarionation series grew steadily over the years and was celebrated by comedy and stage productions such as the hit two-man stage revue Thunderbirds FAB. In the early nineties, ITC began releasing home video versions of the Supermarionation shows, and the profile of the shows was further enhanced by productions such as the Dire Straits music video for their single Calling Elvis, which was made as an affectionate Thunderbirds pastiche (with Anderson co-producing), and by Lady Penelope and Parker appearing in a successful series of UK advertisements for an insurance company.
In 1991 Gerry asked journalist and author Simon Archer to write his biography, following an interview by the latter for a series of articles for Century 21 magazine. In September that year in the UK, BBC2 began a repeat showing of Thunderbirds, which rivalled the success of its original run a generation before. This was also surprisingly the series' network television premiere, having never been shown nationally by ITV. It became so popular in Britain that toy manufacturers Matchbox were unable to keep up with the demand for the Tracy Island playset, leading children's show Blue Peter to broadcast a segment showing children how to construct their own. The fan base for the Anderson shows was now worldwide and growing steadily, and Anderson found himself in demand for personal and media appearances.
In response to this greater demand Anderson performed a successful one-man show in 1992, which Archer had written and constructed. Entitled An Evening with Gerry Anderson, it took the form of an illustrated lecture in which he talked about his career, and his most popular shows. He also made numerous media and personal appearances to tie in with revivals and video cassette releases of Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90.
Anderson was interviewed for the BBC's 1993 Doctor Who documentary, "Thirty Years in the TARDIS". He joked that, despite his career of making children's programming, the "real tragedy of my life" was that his own son Jamie (appearing with him) was a Doctor Who fanatic.
By 1993 Archer published the trivia book "Gerry Anderson's FAB Facts".[11] Archer was killed in a car crash on London's orbital M25 motorway on his way to the publishers to collect one of the first print run to present to Anderson, and the book later had to be withdrawn from sale and thousands of copies destroyed as a result of a copyright dispute with ITC America.[12]
The renewed interest enabled Anderson to return to television production, but several projects including GFI (an animated update of Thunderbirds) did not make it into production. Finally, in 1994, Anderson was able to get the long-shelved Space Police project into production as Space Precinct. It was followed by Lavender Castle, a children's sci-fi fantasy series combining stop-motion animation and computer-generated imagery.
In the meantime, the biography, which had been set aside since Archer's death, had been picked up again and was completed by Stan Nicholls from Archer's original notes and manuscript, finally being published in 1996 shortly before Lavender Castle went into production.
Around this time Anderson was reunited with his elder son, Gerry Jr., at which time it was suggested[by whom?] that Sylvia had been responsible for the enforced estrangement. This reinforced Anderson's already powerful feelings of animosity toward his ex-wife.[13]


By December 1999, Anderson was working on plans for a computer animated sequel to Captain Scarlet, and test reels were displayed by Gerry at a few fan conventions. Some of the test sequences from these reels were later available for a period as elements in publicity reels available on the website of the production company engaged to make them (the Moving Picture Company or MPC in Soho, London,[14] where Gerry had previously worked). These early test reels had the visual design and characters looking very much as they had in the original show, although the vehicle designs had been somewhat modernised. Several years after the initial tests the project evolved into the remake Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, by which time the entire appearance had been very much updated. Gerry Anderson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.
Along with his then business partner John Needham, Anderson created another new series entitled Firestorm which was financed by Japanese investors and featured anime style animation. The project was not a happy one for Gerry and other planned shows with other Japanese backers, including Eternity failed to come to fruition. Firestorm sold throughout S.E.Asia but because of its anime style is unlikely to be shown on UK television. Anderson and Needham parted company in 2003.
Anderson was originally approached to be involved in a live-action feature film adaptation of Thunderbirds as far back as 1996,[15] but he was actually turned away by the producers of the 2004 film Thunderbirds, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes, after first being invited to meet with them.[16] He distanced himself overtly from the project, later turning down an offer of $750,000 simply to write an endorsement of the film shortly before its release; Sylvia Anderson, however, did become involved, and she received a "special thanks" credit in the film. Unfortunately, the film itself received poor critical reviews, and it was a box-office failure in America.
Anderson later[where?] praised the execution of the puppet-based political satire Team America: World Police, produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, which was produced using supermarionation-style effects.
Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet finally premiered in the UK in February 2005. The show cost £23,000,000 to produce, and was the most expensive children's programme ever to be made in the UK.[citation needed] Although many companies invested in producing toys and merchandise, the lack of exposure given to the series by ITV (episodes were incorporated into an existing children's show and shown in two halves, separated by games and adverts) inevitably failed to produce the excitement that accompanied the original series and disappointing sales followed. The accompanying comic lasted only six editions before being scrapped by its publishers. Anderson's displeasure at ITV's handling of the show was widely reported.[citation needed]. The series was subsequently released on DVD, where it found a new audience who were unlikely to have seen it on first screening and is generally regarded as a very worthy re-imagining of the original concept.[original research?]
The year 2005 also saw the 40th Anniversary of Thunderbirds, and a wide range of merchandise was produced to celebrate the event. In 2006, ITV announced it would re-run the entire series on its fledgling CITV Channel, a digital service available on cable, satellite and the Freeview service.
ITV4, another digital channel, also ran repeats of UFO and Space: 1999 up until the end of 2009.
At the end of 2007, Anderson was believed to be working on a new project entitled Lightspeed, about which very little had become publicly known by that time, and on a possible new edition of the UFO series.[citation needed]


In March 2011, Anderson was working with Annix Studios, Pinewood on a new project named "Christmas Miracle" a children's CGI animated feature. It was revealed in June 2012 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.[17]


Gerry Anderson died on 26 December 2012 at the age of 83 after his diagnosis of dementia.[18] The news was announced on his son Jamie's website, he wrote "I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today (26th December 2012), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83."[19]
Voice actor Matt Zimmerman who voiced Alan Tracy and supporting characters in Thunderbirds spoke to BBC News about Anderson's death praising his work saying "it's a big part of peoples lives" saying also that "people speak of the shows with such affection, and I held Gerry with that kind of affection as well, I am very pleased to have known him and I feel very sorry for Jamie and his wife Mary".[20] David Graham who voiced both Parker and Brains said it was "a very sad day".[21]
Tributes from across the world of television and radio poured in, among them tv presenter Jonathan Ross, DJ Chris Evans, comedian Eddie Izzard and actors Brian Blessed and John Barrowman. Ross tweeted "For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.". Blessed who worked with Anderson in Space 1999 and The Day After Tomorrow said "I think a light has gone out in the universe, He had a great sense of humour. He wasn’t childish but child-like and he had a tremendous love of the universe and astronomy and scientists."[22]
Fanderson chairman Nick Williams paid tribute to Anderson by saying “To those who met him Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works. Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.

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