Gerry Anderson became famous during the 1960s as the creator and producer of a range of futuristic television shows. Many involved the use of models, miniature sets and specially-modified marionettes, a process known as "Supermarionation". His production company A.P. Films - later known as Century 21 - made its first series for Granada in 1957, The Adventures of Twizzle. Another series, Four Feather Falls, followed in 1959. But it was Anderson's partnership with Sir Lew Grade of ATV and ITC that brought his best-remembered productions to ITV over the following decade.


Century 21 Ident
1968
The ident which prefaced Gerry Anderson's productions, following the change of production company name from A.P.Films to Century 21 in the mid-1960s.
 
We present a selection of Anderson's productions below, in alphabetical order, which include series made for Granada and LWT as well as ATV/ITC. Thanks to Mark McMillan for capturing the images and video clips seen on this page.


Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
1967
Mankind comes under threat from the Mysterons in this marionette-based series (32 episodes: 29/09/1967 to 14/05/1968). Captain Scarlet, whose real name is Paul Metcalfe, is one of the few humans able to resist their charms. An agent of Earth defence service Spectrum, he was once killed by the Mysterons before being replaced by a duplicate under their control. But the duplicate fell several hundred feet from a tower, and the shock allowed Metcalfe's true personality to reassert itself. His new body had the power to sense nearby Mysterons, and also to re-create itself with "retro-metabolism" should he ever be injured or killed. No-one ever explained why this happened to him, but it didn't matter because it was a thrilling series for children and adults alike!

Fireball XL5
1962
An early example of the 'Supermarionation' marionettes, this series was created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It ran to 39 episodes (28/10/62 - 27/10/63) and was graced with both an opening and closing theme song; the latter, Fireball, was written by Barry Gray and sung by Don Spencer and became a minor hit in the UK. Voices were provided by Paul Maxwell, David Graham, John Bluthal, also Gerry and Sylvia Anderson themselves.

Joe 90
1968
Gerry begat Joe 90 in 1968, a nine year-old who studied the brain patterns of professionals to become a secret agent and steal hardware from behind the Iron Curtain. Len Jones voiced him in 30 episodes (29/09/68 to 20/04/69) with Rupert Davies as his dad, Professor Ian McLaine.

The Protectors
1971
The Protectors comprised 52 half-hour episodes of thrill-based action (29/09/72 - 15/03/74). It was Gerry's second TV series to use live actors instead of marionettes - the first being The Secret Service - and it's the only one made outside the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Anderson claims Sir Lew Grade gave him the idea in brief, but left it to him to develop it. Everything centred on three affluent private detectives from an organisation called The Protectors: Harry Rule (Robert Vaughn), Contessa Caroline di Contini (Nyree Dawn Porter) and Paul Buchet (Tony Anholt). The very catchy theme tune, "Avenues And Alleyways", was a minor UK hit for Tony Christie.

The Secret Service
1969
Set in the present-day, The Secret Service was the first Anderson series to make use of live action footage, albeit in long shots of the characters. Supermarionated puppets were still used for close-ups. The series followed the adventures of Father Stanley Unwin, a priest who moonlights as a secret agent for an organization called B.I.S.H.O.P. (British Intelligence Service Headquarters, Operation Priest). The voice and occasional physical actions of Father Stanley were performed by a British actor and comedian of the same name. Stanley Unwin was best known for speaking a gobbledegook language of his own invention, "Unwinese", which made him popular on chat shows. The gimmick was used in the series to allow the fictional Unwin to confuse his enemies, but when Sir Lew Grade saw the first episode he cancelled it, fearing that "Unwinese" would confuse international buyers. Just 13 episodes were made: 21/09/69 - 19/12/69.

Space 1999
1975 - Series 1
Glossy, live-action space drama, starring Martin Landau as Commander John Koenig, with his real-life wife Barbara Bain as Dr Helena Russell. Their life on Moonbase Alpha is a barrel of laughs until, one day, disaster strikes! A nuclear explosion wrenches the moon out of Earth orbit and out into deep space. Cue big trouble for Marty and Babs, as they dealt with various deep space dramas. 48 episodes were made in two series, the first of which aired from 17/10/1975 - 02/04/1976. Barry "Johnny Cyclops" Morse was the regular guest star.

Space 1999
1976 - Series 2
Series two was shown intermittently from 04/09/1976 - 01/05/1978. In these episodes, Mart & Babs were joined by Catherine Schell as the shape-changing Maya, and Tony Anholt as Tony Verdeschi. Other guest stars included Zienia Merton and Nick Tate. The producers hit upon an intriguing method for beating tedious plot exposition: by setting up the story with subtle captions in the title sequence... The title music was changed too.

Stingray
1964
A series that relates the adventures of W.A.S.P. and its super-submarine Stingray, captained by Troy Tempest. Stingray will be patrolling our oceans in the year 2064, so we've only got another 55 years to go... The voice cast consisted of Don Mason, Ray Barrett, Robert Easton, David Graham and Lois 'Moneypenny' Maxwell, in 39 x 25minute episodes.

Supercar
1960
Anderson's first half-hour series for ITC was aimed at children, and concerned a nifty mode of transport called Supercar. Piloted by Mike Mercury, the car had all sorts of wondrous design fixtures: no wheels, for it rode on a cushion of air; retractable wings and a jet engine enabled it to fly; it even worked underwater! 39 episodes were transmitted between 28/01/61 and 29/04/62. In common with many Anderson series, the music was composed and conducted by Barry Gray. The opening and closing theme song vocalist for the first series was Mike Sammes; his vocal group The Mike Sammes Singers re-recorded it for series two.

Thunderbirds
1965
Thunderbirds are "GO" in the year 2065, thanks to International Rescue, that family business of superheroes based on a remote island, with a fleet of specialist craft at their disposal. The Tracys were the good guys (Jeff, Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John, Brains and...er, Alan), the bad guy was The Hood. Every week, a sloaney aristo called Lady Penelope rang Tracy HQ with tip-offs and new cocktail recipes, while her decrepit butler Parker would be obliged to drive her to her next investigation in a pink Rolls-Royce. Penelope was based on Sylvia Anderson, who voiced her throughout the 32 episodes despite her acrimonious relationship with Gordon, while the other parts were played by Shane Rimmer, Peter Dyneley, David Holliday, Matt Zimmerman, David Graham, Christine Finn and Ray Barrett as The Hood.

UFO
1970
Ed Bishop wore a beautiful blond wig as Commander Straker in this live-action series. He headed up SHADO, an organisation set up in 1980 beneath a film studio, to defend the Earth against hostile alien attacks. His staff included George Sewell and Wanda Ventham. (26 episodes, 16/09/70 - 13/01/71.