Thursday, December 27, 2012

RIP Gerry Anderson

Eagle Transporter nose

At the age of 83, Gerry Anderson has died.

The world of entertainment has lost the most consistently innovating and imaginative thinker that we have ever had on British TV. Quite frankly, the UK telly industry has lost about 75% of it's creativity now.

Thunderbird 3I don't remember the original runs of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet or UFO. I did watch Space 1999 avidly and still consider the Eagle Transporter the greatest spaceship ever created. Not glamorous or even exciting, but a real workhorse that is exactly the sort of thing a real moonbase would need.

Tributes to Anderson now fill the web so I'm not going to try and fill in all the details here. From my personal point of view, I am a heretic in one respect - I don't think he could do plots. While the visuals on every single show are stunning, some of the stores are rubbish. Space 1999 suffered more than most in this respect with Stingraydistinctly weird fantasy pseudo religious mumbo-jumbo stuff on a regular basis. To be fair, he can't be blamed for series 2, which was muddled to appease an American market who seemed to think that replacing realistic settings with a character who could change shape was a good idea...

No, the plots, even for Thunderbirds, might often have been a bit thin, maybe the model shots went on a bit long sometimes, but as shows they were brilliant. The imagination behind them was simply stunning. Why Anderson wasn't given the contract to design the whole 21st Century, I don't know. What we got was a bit rubbish in contrast.

Lady Penelope and ParkerMy personal favourites, aside from Space 1999, were the his feature films - Thunderbirds Are Go and the live-action Doppelganger. Both flopped at the box office but visually they were great and had enjoyable plots. OK, so neither were exactly complicated but who cared, they trundled along well enough, who can ask for more?

1 comment:

Iain Robinson said...

Yes, I have to confess here that as a small boy, I loved "Supercar", Fireball XL5 et al. "Thunderbirds" were just F.A.B....futuristic and yet so very much of their time, like the Avengers. He was a genius, and the way he inspired people to work for him building those huge sets was amazing. Incidentally, the sound effects, such as those depicting the mole and the large vehicles were music to the HGV ear, like a big US diesel truck going full bore.