Call for help: A plaque for Gerry Anderson

Gerry AndersonA fundraising initiative to raise money for a plaque commemorating Gerry Anderson is calling on support from fans.

Gerry’s parents Joseph and Deborah Abrahams lived at 50 West End Lane in Kilburn from 1929 to 1935. This was a large detached house on the corner of Woodchurch Road and is now occupied by Sidney Boyd Court. Gerry also attended Kingsgate Primary School in Kingsgate Road, Kilburn, walking each day down Messina or Cotleigh Road.

The Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme has proposed that a plaque should go on both Kingsgate School and Sidney Boyd Court in memory of Gerry.

Make a donation

If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque payable to the “Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme” to:

Ed Fordham, Scheme administrator, 7 Douglas Court, Quex Road, London, NW6 4PT

If you want to find out how else you can help with unveiling the plaque, or supporting other projects in Kilburn, you can email Ed at ed.fordham@gmail.com or phone him on 07974 950 512

Kingsgate School

Sidney Boyd Court

Review: The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Sam Denham reviews Ian Fryer’s new book on the story behind the Andersons’ extraordinary creative partnership.

It was good timing when I recently received a copy of Ian Fryer’s ‘The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’, the latest non-fiction book inspired by the couple’s innovative and enduring productions, as I’d just been re-reading the first, Tim Heald’s ‘The Making of Space:1999’. Since Heald’s eyewitness report was written – exactly forty years ago – an increasing number of books have been produced about the Andersons and their pioneering films and television programmes, from the ‘primer’ Boxtree publications of the early 90s, to detailed episode guides, biographies and behind the scenes accounts. I think I’ve read all of them, and even had the chance to write one myself – 1993’s 21st Century Visions – for special effects supremo Derek Meddings. But as some have asked, is there really any need for another? I’d say undoubtedly ‘Yes’, Ian’s book shows that there are still novel ways to explore the Andersons’ creatively rich partnership.

Taking an overview of the productions the couple were involved with together from ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’ to ‘Space:1999’, Ian places them in the context of the world in which they were produced, and unlike other books which have largely focused on the technical aspects of how they were made or the recollections of those who made them, he gives an insight into the creative development of the production team’s work, focusing on elements such as story conception, music, and production design. In the section covering Stingray he highlights the increasingly sophisticated approach to scripting, which results in a series that achieves an entertaining balance between adventure, romance and humour, while in the section on UFO he discusses the eye-catchingly memorable – if impractical – aspects of the costume designs and Barry Gray’s equally memorable – and possibly more future-proof – score. Such observations help shed light on the continuing appeal of the Andersons’ shows to viewers, many decades after they were originally produced, and in this respect the book is unquestionably successful.

The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

The book isn’t without certain flaws though, both in accuracy and presentation. Having carried out my own research into the history of AP Films and Century 21, an early interview with Arthur Provis revealed that John Read and Reg Hill were never directors of Pentagon Films, that AP Films only became established as an active production company after the commission to produce ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’ had been received, and that stories of Les Bowie having been based at Ipswich Road prior to AP Films’s arrival have somehow confused the order of events. This information is also corroborated in other publications and documentaries not referenced in Ian’s bibliography.

A number of other errors have crept in that possibly should have been picked up at an early stage. Such slips include Alan Fennell being described as the script editor of Thunderbirds instead of Alan Pattillo, and Gerry’s return to Pinewood, after originally working there as a dubbing editor, being said to be in 1973 with the production of ‘Space:1999’, when he’d clearly already returned some years earlier to make ‘Doppelganger’ and the last nine episodes of ‘UFO’ (these are also later referred to as having been filmed at Elstree Studios).

It’s also stated twice that ‘Space:1999’ was the only occupier of Pinewood’s stages during the course of its production, although I can readily think of two others – ‘The New Avengers’ in 1976, and ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ in 1974 – that were both shot during the same period. Christopher Lee would have filmed his guest role in ‘Earthbound’ just prior to the Bond film’s main foreign location shoot and its subsequent return to Pinewood in the summer for the filming of its studio interiors.

The oddest claim made in the book is in the section covering the conception of the ‘Thunderbirds’ craft, where it’s stated that Derek Meddings based his designs of the vehicles on the shapes of the numbers assigned to them. Having interviewed Derek extensively about his work on ‘Thunderbirds’, he never mentioned that this affected his creative thinking, and during a recent conversation with Mike Trim, Mike supported the opinion that the craft were designed purely with a ‘form follows function’ philosophy – the only exception being Thunderbird 5, which was solely inspired by the shape of the Tracy Island roundhouse.

In terms of presentation the book takes a slightly idiosyncratic approach, being divided into sections, most of which are devoted to one particular production. In the case of each TV show, Ian has also chosen an episode to examine in more detail, and this helps to give a flavour of the particular series without giving away too many spoilers to readers who may not have seen them. In addition he provides potted biographies of cast and crew along the way, although these do tend to break up the flow of the text and might have been more effectively included in a separate section at the end of the book, as would the extensive opening list of acronyms.

Probably the weakest aspect of the book’s presentation though is the visual content. Given that it includes a beautifully glossy section full of colour images, it’s a shame that most of these are either book covers or lobby stills (including one from ‘The Man From Uncle’!), indicating that official picture rights may have been difficult to obtain. Even given this limitation, the selection of images strikes me as not having made the best use of the opportunity – perhaps greater use of studio or location images, or photographs of cast, crew and props from events and conventions might have added more variety.

Such criticisms aside, I enjoyed reading ‘The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’. Apart from the occasional factual inaccuracy, the book appears to be generally well-researched, and offers an objective and very readable account of the Andersons’ almost 20-year partnership. Ian clearly has a genuine love and enthusiasm for the subject and has provided a thoughtful and thought-provoking addition to the Anderson literary canon. Although perhaps ideally suited to those who are relatively new to the Andersons’ worlds, and at £25 in hardback not such good value as the recent ‘Thunderbirds Vault’ book, it still deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone who loves the Andersons’ productions, or wants to learn about their creation. Forty years on, the snowball that Tim Heald started rolling with ‘The Making of Space:1999’ is still growing.

The Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson: The Story Behind International Rescue is available in hard back and Kindle editions from Amazon.

Archive Anderson interviews on sale for first time

Blast from the Past Productions (run by Jeff Smart and Chris Drake) has released a series of fascinating audio interviews featuring Gerry Anderson, Sylvia Anderson and Ed Bishop.

The archive interviews, conducted in the early 1990s by Chris Drake, have never been released before. Now they have been been brought to the ears of fans in lovely TV21-inspired packaging.

Volumes 1 and 2 go on general sale on 15th June, but you can pre-order your copy now on ebay.

Alternatively you can email BFTPCD@gmail.com for more information.

The discs cost £7.00 each, with post and packing £2.00 (£4.00 overseas). More discs will be released in the coming months, and will build towards a really collectible set.Blast From the Past

Fanderson enters The Nice Rooms

Gerry AndersonAn in-depth article about Fanderson and the work of Gerry Anderson has been published today on The Nice Rooms, a non-profit, completely  independent website that celebrates all things, art, music, film and more.

FAB Editor Ian Fryer is interviewed in detail about the role of the club, his favourite series, the greatness of Space:1999’s 1st season, ill-fated puppets and props and his experiences of meeting Gerry Anderson.

“Despite the dementia that was eating away at him, Gerry was a natural showman,” recalls Ian.  “(He) could still turn it on in front of an audience. I did one of Gerry’s last on-stage interviews and saw the transformation in him when it was time to go on stage. At quite a late stage of his illness Gerry did a brilliantly funny speech at the SFX awards ceremony, which should be still available on You Tube.”

Read the full article here

 

 

 

42 guests at Andercon and counting…

Andercon ticketsThings are hotting up as we approach April – the month of Andercon!

A flurry of exciting new guests have been announced for the event, and the guest list now stands at 42 members of the cast and crew of every single Anderson show from Twizzle to New Captain Scarlet, including members of new project Gemini Force One!

Anderson Entertainment and Network have joined forces to screen some exclusive and never-before-seen transfers and restorations over the weekend – which they’ll be announcing in the coming weeks.

New additions to the line-up also include Andy Rolfe’s beautiful SPV interior recreation and the Model T Ford “Gabriel” as driven by Stanley Unwin in The Secret Service.

Andercon takes place over the weekend of 19th-20th April at the Park Inn Hotel, London Heathrow.

Find out more about the event and book your tickets online at www.andercon.co.uk

Space Police screenplay released

The cover of the Space Police scriptbookAnderson Entertainment has released the original screenplay from Space Police – the pilot film starring Shane Rimmer that eventually became Space Precinct in 1994/5. Released in both paperback and ebook formats, it features a foreword from Shane Rimmer, as well as a brief introduction from Gerry’s son Jamie. It’s a direct transcription of the original screenplay – including dialogue insertions, scene changes, and hand-written alterations.

It’s available to buy on Amazon now!

A review will appear in FAB 77.

Gollancz agrees Gemini Force 1 Book Deal

Gemini Force One logoFollowing great success to raise funding with a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Anderson Entertainment has announced a three-book deal for Gemini Force One with publisher Gollancz. Book one will be available to Kickstarter backers in 2014 before going on general release, with books two and three following over the next two years.

The original concept for the books was devised and developed by Gerry Anderson before his death and completed by bestselling author M G Harris with the approval of the Gerry Anderson estate, led by his son Jamie.

Fans who backed the campaign will receive a special and strictly limited edition of GF1, which will first be published by Gollancz in August 2014 and also sold in collaboration with specialist bookseller Goldsboro Books.

An Orion Children’s Books main paperback edition will then be published in spring 2015 with books 2 and 3 to follow in 2015 and 2016.

Jamie said:”In continuing to develop GF1 we’ve been lucky enough to team up with best-selling author MG Harris who really understood the premise of the project and its “Gerry Anderson spirit” from the get-go. Now I’m delighted that we’re able to team up with Orion, who share our passion for GF1, to bring this fantastic book series to a global audience.”

Gerry Anderson – His Alzheimer’s Story


 
It’s been a year since the club lost our President, Gerry Anderson. Gerry’s final years were as remarkable as his creative career. In this, his final interview, he tells us about his struggle with Alzheimer’s and his work to create awareness about the disease. Gerry’s son, Jamie, also talks frankly about the effect of the illness on the family and their work with the Alzheimer’s Society.
www.alzheimers.org.uk

The FAB Book of Gerry Anderson Sweet Cigarette Cards

FAB Book of Gerry Anderson Sweet Cigarette Cards

A quick reminder about one of our great new sale items…just in time for Christmas. 

Cigarettes have often had a place in the worlds of Gerry Anderson. And whether you think they’re redolent of childhood nostalgia or are just fascinatingly un-PC in our modern  times, The FAB Book of Gerry Anderson Sweet Cigarette Cards Vol.1 is a must-have read for any fan of Gerry Anderson merchandise!

The first volume of what promises to be a series of guides takes a look at the cards that were designed to tie in with Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. The book features high resolution scans of the cards and albums with notes on variations and packaging.

It might just make a nice Christmas present for someone – probably a reformed nicotine fiend.

Please note: Fanderson merchandise is available exclusively to club members.

Purchase your copy

New Gerry Anderson convention announced for 2014

Andercon logoGerry Anderson Convention alert! Anderson Entertainment has announced it will hold its first ever Gerry Anderson convention in April 2014.

Hosted by Anderson Entertainment and produced by Basestar Limited, AnderCon will celebrate the life and legacy of British television’s most celebrated Science Fiction producer, and creator of telefantasy classics including Thunderbirds, Space 1999, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Stingray.

There will be guest appearances from many of the actors and voice artists from across the series, including Zienia Merton, Prentis Hancock and Pam Rose (Space 1999); David Quilter and Richard James (Space Precinct); David Graham, Matt Zimmerman and Shane Rimmer (Thunderbirds).

Andercon banner

Production personnel attending currently include Mike Trim, Steve Begg, Kevin Davies, Crispin Merrell, Terry Adlam and Phil Ford.

In what promises to be a first for a Gerry Anderson convention, the event also aims to bring to life the creativity and ingenuity of those early studio days through displays of production drawings, together with recreations of actual sets used in the filming of classic shows such as Thunderbirds and Stingray!

Andercon will be held across the weekend of Saturday 19th – 20th 2014, at the Park Inn Hotel, Heathrow Airport, London.

Watch out for:

  • Brains’s Laboratory
  • an explosive Refinery
  • the Rolling Road beloved of many an action sequence
  • Stingray’s “underwater” tank, complete with fish alongside some of the surviving full-sized vehicles that appeared in Anderson’s productions.

There will be an impressive display of reproduction props and models courtesy of fan collectors and prop builders, providing some great photo opportunities for fans.

More information on the event can be found on the event website: www.andercon.co.uk with additional guests and event attractions to be announced in the coming months!