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Gerry Anderson, Thunderbird
Gerry Anderson in front of Thunderbird 2
Gerry Anderson and son Jamie
Gerry Anderson and son Jamie ©2012 Jamie Anderson

Gerry Anderson who created Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett and Space 1999 has died.

His youngest son Jamie has put on his website that he passed away peacefully just a few hours ago today.

On his site he said:-

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 2013), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83.

Please make donations in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Society via this just giving link.

UK talkshow host Jonathan Ross on Twitter (@wossy) sums up what many of us feel “Sad news. Gerry Anderson RIP. For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.”

Gerry Anderson first first series was a 10 minute puppet series The Adventures of Twizzle made in 1957. He then did Torchy, the Battery Boy also aimed at young children.

Progressing to Four Feather Falls before embarking on Supercar which set the tone for a succession of half hour science fiction based puppet series. Fireball XL5 and Stingray preceded Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds was the first hour length series and was the most successful with several feature films also being made. All the puppets where designed in the traditional theatrical ways with bigger heads and hands than would have been proportionally correct.

With the following years Captain Scarlet the puppets where more to scale but some people thought that this lost some of the charm. Captain Scarlet did prove successful however other series that followed where less so.

Live action series followed the run of puppet series including UFO and Space 1999. He year later went back to puppets with Terraharks.

A live action Thunderbirds was made in 2004. Gerry, having sold the rights years ago, had little involvement and although having some strengths lost much a the original shows charm. Gerry in retrospect made the right decision in not endorsing it!

I last met Gerry when he worked on a CGI version of Captain Scarlet in 2005 which certainly was a creative success.

I found Gerry Anderson to be a charming man who was always welcoming. His quiet manor belied his great skill as a professional producer with the ability to raise large funds, bring in highly skilled professionals and make many an original series.