The Lost Worlds Of Gerry An­der­son

String the­ory and be­yond

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated dvd & blu-ray - Nick Setch­field

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW! 1955- 1992 | 12 | DVD Cre­ator: Gerry An­der­son Cast: Shane Rim­mer, Brian Blessed, Nick Tate, Ni­cholas Par­sons, Ed Bishop, Peter Dyne­ley

Gerry An­der­son’s le­gacy is unas­sail­able. Thun­der­birds, St­ingray. Cap­tain Scar­let. Gems of Brit telly, ex­plod­ing with imag­i­na­tion and charm, his muse on fire. But what lurks be­neath this qual­ity thresh­old? What’s rat­tling around in Gerry An­der­son’s bot­tom drawer?

This two- disc set gath­ers odd­ments and rar­i­ties from the string king ’s ca­reer, some strange, some weak, all fairly fas­ci­nat­ing. There are a cou­ple of starchy cu­rios: post- war mag­a­zine show You’ve Never Seen This marks An­der­son’s di­rec­to­rial de­but, while Blue Skies Ahead finds Ni­cholas Par­sons in his tweedy ’ 50s pomp, ex­tolling the virtues of Ma­jorca in chilly black and white.

1973’ s The In­ves­ti­ga­tor is in­fin­itely more in­ter­est­ing to An­der­son fans. A mis­fir­ing pi­lot mix­ing pup­pets and live ac­tion, it’s a weirdly for­lorn thing, its young he­roes re­duced to mar­i­onettes by a glow­ing “voice from the fu­ture”, the bet­ter to fight crime. They don’t seem to have had much say in this. Af­ter trundling around Malta in a tiny, eight- wheeled car they perch on cliffs, look­ing rather sad. It’s ex­is­ten­tially pe­cu­liar even by An­der­son’s stan­dards.

The Day Af­ter To­mor­row is a mid-’ 70s blast into a black hole, In­ter­stel­lar by way of Open Uni­ver­sity, while Space Po­lice is a clunky, synth- drenched early pass at Space Precinct, its an­i­ma­tronic aliens pre­serv­ing a fi­nal slice of pup­pet show charm.

An un­screened episode of Dick Span­ner PI rounds it all off. An­der­son’s into Plas­ticine now, and while the an­i­ma­tion has a wonky, “Sledge­ham­mer” video charm, its crass, lad­dish gags and dodgy racial car­i­ca­tures feel be­neath him. It’s clear that his muse has gone. Maybe she was called Sylvia af­ter all. Ex­tras: Here Comes Kandy, a kids’ pup­pet show pi­lot from 1956; Blue Cars: Mar­tians, an SF- themed live- ac­tion com­mer­cial; a col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal film el­e­ments for Space Po­lice, in­clud­ing test footage; photo gal­leries.

In the late ’ 70s Gerry An­der­son cre­ated Thun­der­birds- styled ads for Jif Dessert Toppings. They’re not in­cluded here, sadly.

Failed pi­lot The In­ves­ti­ga­tor – not the new Top Gear pre­sen­ters.

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