27 Dec 2012

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson dies

6:16 am on 27 December 2012

Gerry Anderson, creator of the Thunderbirds and Joe 90 TV shows, has died at the age of 83.

Anderson had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease since early 2010, and his condition had worsened in the past six months, his son Jamie Anderson said.

Gerry Anderson also created Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. His other creations included UFO, Space: 1999, Supercar and Fireball XL5.

Anderson, who lived in Oxfordshire, began his career studying fibrous plastering but had to give it up when it gave him dermatitis, the BBC reports.

After a spell in photographic portrait work, film editing and time spent in air traffic control, he set up AP Films with some friends.

Commissions were few however, so he responded eagerly to the opportunity to make puppet series The Adventures of Twizzle in 1956.

Thunderbirds was first broadcast in 1965. The puppet show marked the career apex for Gerry and his wife Sylvia, who had honed their supermarionation technique on Fireball XL5 and Stingray.

The story revolves around International Rescue, a futuristic emergency service manned by the Tracy family, often assisted by Lady Penelope - voiced by Mrs Anderson - and her butler, Parker. It inspired the catchphrase "Thunderbirds are go!"

Jamie Anderson announced on his website that his father had died peacefully in his sleep at noon on Wednesday.

He had decided with his family on a care home and had moved there in October. He was a celebrity ambassador for The Alzheimer's Society.