50 years after the launch of the original Thunderbirds, its real creator, Sylvia Anderson, explains why she stayed in the background and let her husband Gerry, take the glory.
As the original creator of Thunderbird’s and voice of the iconic character of Lady Penelope in the original series, Sylvia will now be playing another feisty woman, Lady Penelope’s Great Aunt- Secret Agent Sylvia. In the animated remake to be screened by ITV in April, actress Rosamund Pyke is playing her alter ego Lady Penelope.
Sylvia has often been overlooked for her creative input into all of the Andersons’ series, co-created with her husband Gerry Anderson, who has historically been credited for the shows. Sylvia was in fact, the creative strength whereas Gerry was brilliant for his technical and sci-fi knowledge and expertise.
‘Fifty years ago it was the norm to sit in the background and let the men take the lead’, says Sylvia ‘in spite of the fact that I was one of the first female TV Producers in the Country. But I did in fact create the characters and devise the storylines, bringing in the ‘human element’. A movie mogul of the time told me, if you don’t care about the characters you have no longevity. I remembered that and made sure all of our stories contained that element, even though they were puppets.’
Sylvia’s daughter and business partner Dee added ‘Mum is very reluctant to sing her own praises, so I have to do that for her, and she is indeed a very creative person, whereas Gerry was not, it is as simple as that.
I am often asked by people in the industry if she in fact was responsible for it all, as a lot of people feel this to be true. But I always want to be fair and say that the partnership was ideal and equal with their distribution of talents, plus they had an awesome team. Mum feels the same’.
New Series for Sylvia
Sylvia and her daughter Dee Anderson have recently announced that their next venture THE LAST STATION has started production having secured early funding for the animation and voice overs. Thomas Sangster will voice the leading male role, and the top Animation House Factory™ doing the computer graphics. Clive Crouch, former COO of GMTV is on board. The new show is due to air next year.
Sir Richard Taylor of Lord of the Rings and Avatar fame have described the new series as ‘groundbreaking and of its time’. It is an unusual combination of science fiction and music, and the multiple platinum selling band Skunk Anansie have been selected to write the music and source the new talent.
Sylvia and Dee have also launched their new multimedia channel Glotime.tv which is delivering magnificent lifestyle articles, celebrity interviews and art reviews to their huge global audience. They also us the channel as a way of showcasing exclusive and personal updates from Sylvia and Dee on both Thunderbirds and The Last Station.
“It is all hugely exciting’ says Sylvia, ‘this is the way to go to speak to all our followers over the years, and now to bring new families and generations to the new Series.”
Captions: Sylvia Anderson today with the original Lady Penelope puppet. Brains and the new animated Lady Penelope with Parker as they will appear in the new ITV show.