Earlier this year we were lucky enough to interview Thunderbirds and Stingray creator Gerry Anderson. You can see the full length clips from Gerry's interview over on our video page now. But there were some questions asked by members of our community which we just didn't have time to fit in on that occassion, so Gerry very kindly offered to address them on a later date... and here are his answers.
Would you ever consider a CGI version of Thunderbirds and if so would you try to mimic the supermarionation style?
If I were to remake the television series or a new movie I would make the show(s) using CGI. I would certainly keep all the characters but I would make them photo real. I firmly believe I would get a faster pace and be able to create much more tension in the rescues. I hope that all of you who have seen the NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET would agree with me. I would not emulate the puppets for I believe it would look as though I had been stuck in a time warp for the last forty years.
After the Hollywood film, will 'Thunderbirds' be back in any shape or form again?
I was not involved in any way I'm glad to say. The film was the biggest load of rubbish I've ever seen! I feared it would do a lot of damage to Thunderbirds, but fortunately everyone I speak to understands that it was not a Gerry Anderson production and so Thunderbirds the series is unharmed. My greatest ambition is to make a new Thunderbird series or movie.
What happened to the proposed series 'Lightspeed'?
Lightspeed was a great Idea which was dreamed up by Phil Ford, a screenwriter I have a great respect for. We worked together on the new Captain Scarlet and our intention was that Phil would write the scripts and I would produce the show. Together we tried to raise enough money to pay for the production, but without success. Phil is still trying to get it going, but I am no longer involved. I hope he gets lucky.
Which series would you most like to remake or reimagine?
My first choice would be Thunderbirds. Second, I would choose UFO because it was such a pleasure to work with Ed Bishop who played the part of Ed Straker. UFO was a great success in America which was a great bonus.
Are there any projects you are currently working on?
Yes, I have a number of new projects, and they are all with a very successful production company that I would very much like to work with. At the time of writing I am waiting to hear from them. As you know money is in very short supply at the moment and it's not going to be easy for them, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Do you think contemporary sci-fi programmes have stolen ideas from the likes of Thunderbirds and Joe 90?
There are two types of people who write scripts and dream up ideas. The first group, like everyone else, watch television, go to the movies and read books etc.
It's all too easy to think of an idea and believe it is an original thought. I'm one of this group and for that reason I don't read unsolicited scripts. If I did I might unwittingly copy something from it a few years later.
The other type of writers are criminals who intentionally steal other people's ideas because it is an easy way to make a lot of money. These people should be hung drawn and quartered.
How different is the experience of watching Thunderbirds in HD?
Thunderbirds was shot on 35mm film which is still used for movies and so the picture quality was and still is first rate. However the reproduction on an old television screen degrades the image. Now provided you have an HD television and are watching Thunderbirds being generated by a BluRay disk the picture quality is superb. Most of the time I'm not aware of the control wires, however, the cluster of wires at the top of the puppets head were always difficult to hide and they show up like crazy on BluRay. Fortunately these wires have been pushed out of the top of the screen when the pictures were re-formatted to make them suitable for widescreen televisions.
Why do you think Thunderbirds, in particular, has such enduring appeal?
There is nothing more compelling than to see someone's life slipping away knowing there is nothing you can do to save them. Except of course you can call International Rescue!
Imagine you are Jeff Tracey and your sons are risking their lives to save someone else. Of course you would worry and so do the audience. Add to that a group of interesting characters including Penelope and Parker and you've got a good mix for an exciting and responsible family show.
Looking back, what's the best idea for a TV show that you had and never made?
It is a science fiction Christmas story for a movie. It exudes charm and is set against the most spectacular settings you could wish to see. It is based on an idea by Rodney Matthews who is a brilliant artist with a bizarre and unique style. This is one show that I haven't made - YET!
You can join the Gerry Anderson discussion over in our forum.