Sad news emerged yesterday, that Gerry Anderson, best known as the creator of hit puppet sci-fi show Thunderbirds, has passed away at the age of 83. His son Jamie announced the death yesterday, saying he "died peacefully in his sleep"; Anderson also created Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and Space 1999 - to name just a few.
Having now had a day to process this, it's sunk in just how much of an impact Gerry's work has had on me - and indeed anyone who grew up in England since the 60s. Thunderbirds was, and to some extent still is, huge. I have fond and vivid memories of watching the show, playing with my Thunderbird 2 toy, and a friend and I dressing up as Scott and Virgil as children. The show's immense popularity spawned a (slightly less brilliant) 2004 feature adaptation starring Ben Kingsley, complete with the similarly titled chart-topping single by Busted; a new series of the show was also being developed, in CG.
Although Anderson's most famous work was using modified marionette puppets (a technique called supermarionation), he did dabble in other formats; for all the brilliance of the 1960s original, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, my fondest memories of that show are of the 2005 CGI reboot. That, Thunderbirds and shows like Cubix helped fuel my lifelong love of sci-fi and technology. He also created the beloved live-action series Space: 1999.
Several animators, stop-motion directors, filmmakers and celebrities have expressed a deep love of Anderson's work and a deep sadness at his passing.
Space 1999, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlett, Terrahawks, Joe 90, UFO. My whole childhood just died. Rest In Peace Gerry Anderson.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) December 26, 2012
Gerry Anderson, thank you for marvelous adventures, and the mostincredible vehicles in which to take them. Rest in peace.
— hal hickel (@halhickel) December 26, 2012
Sad to hear about Gerry Anderson. He had me hooked from Four Feather Falls. And then Supercar of course.
— Peter Lord (@PeteLordAardman) December 26, 2012
Sad news. Gerry Anderson RIP. For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.
— jonathan ross (@wossy) December 26, 2012
Goodbye Gerry Anderson. Space 1999 series one was some of the most sublime, philosophical SF ever to grace the TV sets of the world.
— Paul Franklin (@PaulJFranklin) December 26, 2012
Gerry Anderson made my childhood better. (My favorite Thunderbird was 4, Gordon's, because I could legitimately play with it in the bath.)
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) December 26, 2012
Rest in peace, Gerry Anderson. Thanks for so, so much. A legacy that will live on for decades.
— Den Of Geek (@denofgeek) December 26, 2012
Sad to hear of death of Gerry Anderson. Thunderbirds still regular viewing in our house, and I remember Space 1999 with particular fondness
— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) December 26, 2012
Gerry truly was a wonderfully talented man (he even wrote an early story treatment for Moonraker), one who has influenced multiple generations of children and one who will be greatly missed. Jamie Anderson is endeavouring to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society in honour of his father's condition - you can donate here.
Thunderbirds, sadly, are go no more. Rest in peace, Gerry.