1929 – 2012
One of the true greats of childrens’ television started his career in Maidenhead.
Gerry Anderson was born Gerald Abrahams in Bloomsbury in 1929. His mother changed the family name to Anderson in 1939. After the war, he started a career in photography, but developed an interest in film and joined Gainsborough Pictures. He worked there until the studio closed down in 1950, then worked as a freelancer on several films.
Anderson then joined Polytechnic Studios as a director, which is where he met cameraman Arthur Provis, with whom he formed AP Films in 1957. The company was originally based at Islet Park in Maidenhead, and it was here that their early puppet series – ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’, ‘Torchy the Battery Boy’ and ‘Four Feather Falls’ – were made. It was on ‘Four Feather Falls’ that Anderson pioneered an early version of ‘Supermarionation’, an electronic process that made puppets look more convincing.
In June 1959, AP Films moved to larger premises on the Slough Trading Estate, and during their time there created some of the best-loved childrens’ TV programmes of all time, including ‘Stingray’, ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Captain Scarlet’.
Gerry Anderson never stopped working, and was planning new projects right up to his death. He was made an OBE in 2001, and when he died in 2012, Jonathan Ross tweeted the following tribute: “For men of my age, his work made childhood an incredible place to be.”
FIND OUT MORE –