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You may never have heard of Gerry Anderson before, but if you’ve ever sat in front of an episode of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Stingray or Joe 90, you have experienced some of his unforgettable work. Sadly, Anderson died in his sleep on Wednesday 26th of December; he was 83, and had been suffering from mixed dementia for two years.
With ‘Supermarionation’, described as the use of modified puppetry, Anderson was able to capture the imaginations of generations of youngsters from the 1960s onwards. Viewers were fascinated by his exciting and colourful science fiction stories.
Thunderbirds, which has become his most famous creation by far, focused on an emergency service called International Rescue which was run by the Tracy family from their secret island. The series has spawned multiple films, and the associated toy rockets and aircraft (Thunderbirds 1 to 5) remain extremely popular, not to mention collectible, to this day.
Actor Brian Blessed, who worked with Anderson on programmes such as Space 1999 and The Day After Tomorrow, gave the BBC his reaction to Anderson’s death:
“I think a light has gone out in the universe…He had a great sense of humour. He wasn’t childish but child-like and he had a tremendous love of the universe and astronomy and scientists…He got their latest theories, which he would expand on. He was always galvanised and full of energy.”
Nick Williams, chairman of the Gerry Anderson Appreciation Society, otherwise known as Fanderson, has said:
“To those who met him Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works. Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.”
Anderson’s son Jamie has asked that anyone wishing to make a charitable donation in honour of his father should give to the Alzheimer’s Society.