One of Gerry’s greatest strengths was that he was never interested in the past – only the future. Every show he made he wanted to be better than the last. Of course, that wasn’t always possible but that burning ambition and need to be better never ended. The downside to that need to keep looking forward was that Gerry never really seemed to fully appreciate the enormous impact he made on the world. When he passed on Boxing Day last year, after a long and difficult period suffering from Alzheimer’s, the tributes came pouring in.
The film industry is littered with artists and technicians who have either worked for Gerry or have been enchanted by the magic of shows like Thunderbirds. However, what we saw last year is Gerry’s impact on the world beyond his own personal sphere. Individuals from all walks of life, who had seen one of Gerry’s shows and had in some way been inspired, felt the need to get in contact to tell us about why they had now become doctors, scientists and artists. It would have been nice for Gerry to have seen the heartfelt responses to his death, though we suspect he would have been characteristically reluctant to accept the praise.
Over the last twelve months we’ve been doing a lot of what Gerry would have hated – looking back. Gerry loved to tell stories – something he tried to do until the Alzheimer’s finally made it impossible. However, one story he shied away from telling was perhaps the most interesting of all – his own. What started of as finding boxes of personal effects bundled away in a corner of his office has led to a journey of discovery. We’ve heard from former colleagues and friends – the amazing group of people whom Gerry needed to help realise his ambitions – and have started to piece together a complicated, yet very human story which we hope to share soon.
Another benefit of looking back is that we’ve been able to help realise some of Gerry’s ambitions that he was unable to achieve himself in his final years. The first of these projects, GF1, was funded via a very successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year and we’ll be bringing you exciting news of other projects soon.
One year on we’re very touched that the tributes continue to flood in – not just to Gerry but to the teams of extraordinarily talented people that he worked with. It’s clear that there’s a lot of love that will keep these shows going for a long time and we hope that we’ll be able to continue Gerry’s legacy by creating new shows to entertain and inspire new generations.
To watch Fanderson’s special commemorative documentary on Gerry’s final year with Alzheimer’s please head over to their website
to watch in from midday on 26th December
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