UK: Thirty years ago today… Thunderbirds were back!

It’s hard to believe now, but the BBC’s purchase of the then 26-year-old Thunderbirds for broadcast in 1991 was so, so significant.

It was, of course, the first ever UK network broadcast of the Supermarionation series (until that point, all screenings had been on the regional ITV stations).

Many of us were particularly keen to watch Trapped In The Sky, Sun Probe, Operation Crash Dive, Terror In New York City, Atlantic Inferno and Ricochet uncut as (unless you were lucky enough to have home video recordings of earlier broadcasts) they were only widely available in edited form as part of the Super Space Theater releases on Channel 5/Polygram VHS cassette.

The BBC clearly weren’t overly confident of their acquisition, as Lady Penelope was tucked into the corner of that week’s Radio Times cover, playing second fiddle to Liza Minnelli. Compare that to when the the series returned again in 2000: Scott, Virgil, Penelope and Brains had a cover each to themselves!

Indeed, although ITC were in the process of lining up an array of licensees to produce merchandise, many were surprised by the series’ success and would be unable to satisfy the unexpected demand that Christmas.

Being the official fan club, Fanderson experienced a surge of interest, with an astonishing 29% jump in members, we had just re-launched the club magazine with FAB issue 1, and a few weeks later hundreds of members would gather in Leeds for our Fanderson 91 convention in October.

Ratings-wise, Thunderbirds secured the #1 spot for BBC2 for its first two weeks (Trapped In The Sky 6.83m and Pit Of Peril 5.83m) and it usually maintained a single-digit position on the chart for the rest of the run. By comparison, the top-rated programme in the UK right now is BBC One’s Vigil, with just 3.607m watching live (although, admittedly, adding catch-up services brings this up to 8.93m). But Thunderbirds still beats today’s #2 programme, Silent Witness, which had 6.749m viewers all told (Thinkbox).

Thunderbirds was so popular that it was obvious that the BBC would quickly snap up Stingray, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons and Joe 90 for broadcast too, and the UK would enter a purple patch for Anderson fans.

Perhaps hardest of all to believe is that although there were 26 years between Thunderbirds‘ production and those BBC broadcasts, another 30 years has now passed!

40 FAB Years: Are you a survey winner?

Throughout August we ran a membership survey, both to celebrate some of the great things we’ve achieved over our first 40 FAB years, but also to get members’ input to the future of their club.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and we’re starting to go through the results now. As an incentive to take part, all valid entries went into a draw to win one of these fantastic prizes, and we can now confirm the lucky winners:

  • Japanese Thunderbirds Visual Archives book – hard to get outside of Japan – won by Sean Fox
  • UFO Screenplays book – a long out-of-print Fanderson book from 2001 – won by Darren Allen
  • Earthfall – our 2002 reprint of EC Tubb’s 1977 Space:1999 novel – won by Kenneth Stuart
  • Century 21 Diary – our membership gift from 2008 – won by David Green

Prizes will be mailed over the next few days, so keep an eye out for the postman!

   

EXTENDED: four special offers for our 40th year

OFFERS EXTENDED: As members are still receiving FAB 98 (due to postal delays) we’ve extended this offer until the end of September.

As a special celebratory offer to club members for the whole of August* – our 40th anniversary month – we’re offering a whopping 40% off four popular items of our fantastic, exclusive, merchandise:

All these offers and lots more great exclusive merchandise, always just for Fanderson members, is now in the Shop.

*Obviously, as stocks last, as all our merchandise is limited edition.

40 FAB Years: Since 20th August 1981. By fans, for fans.

Fanderson is 40 years old today!

On 20th August 1981, Gerry Anderson invited representatives from the Fanderson 81 convention, plus clubs Anderpup and the Century 21 Appreciation Society, to meet with him at his office at Pinewood Studios, along with his merchandising right-hand-man Keith Shackleton.

Together, they pooled their ideas and talents to form the world’s only official appreciation society for the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. You can read the minutes of that inaugural meeting here.

On behalf of all Fanderson members:

  • The biggest THANK YOU to Gerry Anderson, for having the foresight to unite fans around the world
  • Another big THANK YOU to Pam Barnes, Mark Jones, Barbara Kitson, Chris Leach, David Nightingale, Phil Rae, Keith Shackleton, Brendan Sheehan and John Williams for getting together with Gerry that day to give our club such a great start.
  • THANK YOU also to Sylvia Anderson, who was so kind, understanding and gracious (if, at times, a little naughty!)
  • A very special THANK YOU to all the committee members who have given up countless hours of their free time to run the club over the years, as well as those who have made a significant contribution (recognised as a Friend Of Fanderson or Life Member).

Finally, THANK YOU to all Fanderson members, past and present. Thanks to your support, after 40 years the club’s stronger than ever.

Join us in celebrating today with something bubbly, whilst you read more about Fanderson’s beginnings here. Or, if you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to have your say about the future of your club, by completing our 2021 Membership Survey – you could win a FAB prize!

40 FAB Years: Tell us what you think of your club – you could win a prize!

Fanderson is 40 years old this year, and we’re rightly celebrating our many achievements over those four decades.

But as well as looking back over the great things we’ve done, we’re looking forward to the future for the club, and we’d like your input. It’s seven years since we last surveyed the entire membership so it’s certainly the right time to do it again.

Click here to complete the survey and give us your views. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete, and club members’ collective views will really help us ensure we’re making the right decisions for the future.

If you’d rather not complete the survey online, click here for a copy that you can print, complete and then mail to us at Fanderson, 99 Caton Crescent, Milton, Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 8XH (United Kingdom).

The 2021 membership survey closes at midnight on 31st August 2021. All valid entries* received by that time will go into a draw to win one of these fantastic prizes:

  • Japanese Thunderbirds Visual Archives book – hard to get outside of Japan
  • UFO Screenplays book – a long out-of-print Fanderson book from 2001
  • Earthfall – our 2002 reprint of EC Tubb’s 1977 Space:1999 novel
  • Century 21 Diary – our membership gift from 2008

 

 

*valid entries are from current club members, and whose personal details provided in the survey match those in our membership database

40 FAB Years: Extra free gift for new members!

As a celebratory free gift to new members in August – our 40th anniversary month – we’ll include a copy of either Journey To The Moon or Great Themes From Thunderbirds mini album on CD (as stocks last) in their membership package.

Join Fanderson now to get this great free offer! And don’t forget we’ve got some great anniversary merchandise offers right now too!

On 20th August 1981, Fanderson was formed at Pinewood Studios under the provisional name of ‘Anderclan’. Gerry Anderson and ITC had called a meeting with representatives from the various clubs, publications and the Fanderson 81 convention in the hope that they could all come together as a unified club. Our status as Sylvia Anderson’s official fan club was bestowed posthumously by her family in 2016. You can read more here.

Terms and conditions (in addition to our standard Ts&Cs):

  • Either of the mini albums will be inserted to new membership packages throughout August 2021, at random, and as stocks last.
  • This offer is only applicable to new Fanderson members (including former members that are no longer on our database, due to our GDPR privacy notice, who are rejoining the club). The discs were previously given as part of the 2008 and 2013 Fanderson membership packages respectively.
  • As an extra free gift these do not form a contractual part of the membership package, and Fanderson is under no obligation to provide an alternative gift once stock of these mini albums is exhausted.
  • Please don’t ask if you can buy either of these mini album replicas from us. Due to our licensing agreement, we cannot sell them. We can only give them away.

Welcome Derek!

We’re delighted to announce that Derek Eaton has joined the Fanderson committee as Online Services Supremo (we’ll have to come up with a better title!).

Derek’s worked in IT for over 25 years, with the last 20 or so as Head Of IT, so he’s brilliantly placed to ensure that we’re using technology at its best to service club members. Many will already know Derek as he’s been a member for many years, and during a previous stint on the committee (2007-2014) masterminded our website re-platforming and introduced online ordering.

Most importantly, Derek has a great sense of humour too, as evidenced by his fancy dress costume at our TV21 convention in 2010. Or was it X-2-0?

Welcome aboard, Derek!

 

Online Services supremo needed!

After 13 years of sterling service to club members, Jay Mullins has decided to step down from the Fanderson committee. On behalf of all club members, I’d like to thank Jay for his contribution to the club during that time, hope to see him again before too long, and wish him well for the future.

As a result of Jay’s departure, Fanderson is looking to recruit a club member to look after our Online Services (click here for a Role Outline). We’d like to hear from any club member who would be interested in the role.

Please email your CV to fanderson.org.uk@outlook.com with a covering letter explaining why you’re interested and what makes you perfect for the role. Experience of working with content management systems is essential (and WordPress and Woocommerce in particular is desirable), as is web hosting. Due to the nature of the role, applicants who can show experience of working in similar roles where security (including the secure handling of personal information) is an important factor will be looked on particularly favourably.

The closing date for applications was Sunday 18th July 2021, and selected applicants will be invited to a subsequent virtual interview shortly afterwards (by mutual arrangement).

Nick Williams, Fanderson chairman

Virtual AGM – 27th March 2021

Fanderson’s 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is today.

You can hear the facts and figures right now in a special podcast, in which host Ros Connors is joined by Fanderson chairman Nick Williams and designer/FAB co-editor Mike Jones to also get answers to members’ questions.

The club committee will also be available live on the Fanderson Forum today 12:00-13:00 UK time to answer any further questions.

 

 

 

The Fanderson Forum is back!

We’re delighted to announce that the Fanderson Forum is back! You can get to it using the link above, or under to “Social” button on the menu bar.

For a decade, the Fanderson Forum was an online place where club members could share their news, views and ideas. Unfortunately, due to insurmountable technical issues, the Forum closed in 2019.

The club’s Facebook group has continued to be a great place for Anderson fans to share their thoughts and ideas. But members have repeatedly asked when the Forum is coming back, as it offered the ability to put and follow threads in discrete spaces (modelling, fan fiction for example) rather than the stream of consciousness that is Facebook.

It looks a bit different now, and you’ll need to log in to your Fanderson account to post anything (as you do to buy merchandise or renew your membership). Your old Forum log in will not work and, sadly, we haven’t been able to recover any of the old Forum conversations.

As it’s part of your online membership account, you can be sure that you’re talking with other club members on the Forum. Although this also means that when your membership expires you’ll lose access to the Forum.

It’s a new, blank canvas. Come in and join the conversation.