My Fab Years! Sylvia Anderson
When I began reading My Fab Years, I expected the book to be an interesting biography about the woman behind the voice of Lady Penelope, of Thunderbirds fame, and co producer and writer of the many Supermarionation shows I had enjoyed as a child. What I was not expecting was such a warm, touching and amusing book with so many wonderful photographs.
This huge book, (it is very large, and one of the advantages is a number of the photographs are full page) covers from Sylvia Anderson's childhood, through to the live action Thunderbirds movie.
The first eleven of the twenty-one chapters concentrate on the Supermarionation years and give an enlightening insight into the work involved in their making. The chapters are not written in a lineal timeline, which is what you would expect, but each chapter adds a little more colour to the first chapter's sketch of Sylvia's story. I was able to picture the scene of the young and growing AP Films company, feel the excitement, anticipation and trepidation for new ventures, inventions and characters, and, what it must have been like to work in that very unique genre of television.
The remaining chapters are a multifarious and compelling account of Sylvia solo career, live action shows, puppet auctions and more! The final chapter, regarding the live action Thunderbirds movie and accompanying photographs, complete My Fab Years on what I felt was a happy note.
There are parts in the book that made me smile and laugh, little gems about people Sylvia had dealings with along the way and from nostalgia at remembering scenes described from Thunderbirds, merchandise available and the FAB adverts.
Sylvia also covers the more unpleasant experiences, problems of funding, the break up of her marriage, which she describes more with sorrow at the break up of a successful team rather than with any bitterness, and fond remembrances of colleagues and friends who have passed away.
What I admire the most about My Fab Years is, Sylvia doesn't monopolize the credit for the success of the best of the Anderson shows, but, quite clearly, and often, gives credit for success to the whole of the team involved in production. I found her recognition to the involvement and achievement of John Read, Mary Turner, Derick Meddings, to name just a few, touching and very humbling.
My Fab Years is not only a compelling story of the making of television history, but also an encouraging and inspirational book that anyone with a dream they wished to make a reality should read.
Ce Ce Collins