Gerry Anderson was born on 14 April 1929, and through a combination of skill and sheer determination earned his first credit as a producer when he was still in his 20s. Years before the word ‘brand’ was popularly applied to television, Gerry’s name came to represent an inimitable style of entertainment that proved hugely successful around the world.
During the 1960s Gerry used puppetry to realise epic science fiction scenarios that would have been impossible to achieve in anything other than miniature scale. The names of the shows he produced during this era are familiar to millions: Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 are just some of the pioneering productions that continue to entertain audiences today.
As the optimism of the 1960s faded, Gerry created darker scenarios for the new decade. Live-action series UFO and Space: 1999 anticipated the accomplishments of Star Wars and are still regarded by many as his finest work.
Gerry was never content to stand still, and his programmes became increasingly diverse in the 1980s. He made a welcome return to puppetry for Terrahawks and brought the animated private detective Dick Spanner to the screen, while developing a parallel career as an award-winning director of sophisticated television commercials.
In the 1990s he created and produced the lavish live-action series Space Precinct, before returning to children’s entertainment with the enchanting Lavender Castle. In 2001 he was awarded an MBE for services to the British film industry.
The astonishing New Captain Scarlet premièred in 2005, by which time Gerry was long past the age when most people consider retiring. His enthusiasm for the next project, and his fascination for the latest technology, remained undimmed through much of his final illness. He passed away on 26 December 2012.
From the painstaking artistry of Supermarionation to groundbreaking CGI, Gerry Anderson and his team were responsible for some of the most ambitious and sophisticated television series ever created.
But rather than dwelling on past achievements, Gerry preferred to discuss his hopes and ideas for the future. This drive and ambition sustained a remarkable career as a producer that lasted more than five decades.
Over the years, however, he came to appreciate that for many people his shows represented a special time in their lives. And he was proud that the ingenuity and optimism of his characters galvanised some viewers who went on to distinguished careers within film, television and other fields.
Thunderbirds has inspired movies, stage shows and a vast array of merchandise, all reflecting its phenomenal impact on our popular culture. Many of Gerry’s other shows are similarly cherished by generations of viewers.
Gerry Anderson's legacy continues with unpublished and unfinished works being completed by his company Anderson Entertainment under the guidance of his younger son Jamie. His incredible body of work will continue thrilling audiences for years to come.