Thursday, 27 December 2012

RIP Gerry Anderson

Gerry Anderson died today and that's a right shame.  I haven't given the man or his work much thought in years, I think I might have watched a few episodes of the CGI Captain Scarlet a few years back but that's about it. However my Twitter feed's been full of tributes to the man and as I've watched the opening credits to some of his shows and thought about the likes of Stingray, Thunderbirds and even Space Precinct I've started to realise just how into Superanimation I was as a kid.  I had the toy's and the comics, my mum made me a Virgil Tracey dressing up outfit and I once had a Thunderbird 2 birthday cake.  I didn't just build the Blue Peter Tracey Island, I built it twice.  Thinking about it now I realise that Gerry Anderson's work was probably the first thing I properly geeked out over as a kid, setting me on the path to become the endearingly pathetic man child I am today.  

I've posted some videos of the opening credits of his various shows and I think they pretty perfectly sum up the appeal of his work.  Everything Anderson created was bold and exciting and unique.  His work featured big Sci-Fi ideas in bold, optimistic pop art colours.  He created worlds with square jawed heroes, evil villains and amazing machines, vast industrial installations built to launch rockets or hide underground from the Aquaphibians.  I loved how methodically these creations were filmed, so many shows would skip over the launch of a spaceship or have the crew embark a vehicle between scenes, Thunderbirds and Stingray and everything else revelled in the Heath Robinson, domino track like qualities of their creations and as a child I couldn't think of anything more exciting, Britain would probably have a lot fewer engineers without Anderson's work.

Gerry Anderson created some incredibly loved, utterly unique television, distilling the 60's adventure into something timeless, probably his greatest achievement was creating puppets that weren't utterly terrifying,  he'll be missed.