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Obituary – Shaun Whittacker-Cook

We’re sad to learn of the passing in January 2021 of Shaun Whittacker-Cook, who served as Special Effects/Visual Effects Director on some of the most popular Gerry and Sylvia Anderson shows.

Born in 1935, Shaun had previously worked with special effects artist Les Bowie before joining A.P. Films during production of Thunderbirds. By this time the Supermarionation series was shooting two episodes at once, and experienced effects artists were very much in demand at the Slough-based studio. Occasionally credited as Shaun Cook or Shaun Whittacker-Cooke, his name first appears as Second Unit Special Effects director on The Cham-Cham and Security Hazard. Shaun also worked on the 1966 feature film Thunderbirds are Go and served as Special Effects Director on the episode Ricochet. As Main Unit Visual Effects Director he oversaw effects on eighteen instalments of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, including such visually spectacular episodes as The Mysterons, Shadow of Fear, and Inferno.

Shaun surveys the remains of the Second National Bank from the Captain Scarlet episode The Heart of New York.

He served in the same capacity on fifteen episodes of Joe 90, including such stories as Hi-Jacked, Business Holiday, and Attack of the Tiger, plus five instalments of The Secret Service. He also worked on UFO, serving as Visual Effects Director for seven episodes including Computer Affair, A Question of Priorities, and Kill Straker! This was his final contribution to the Anderson universe, but Shaun remained happy to talk about his time with AP Films and Century 21 over subsequent decades, most notably in the 2014 documentary Filmed in Supermarionation – and the stunning work produced by his effects unit remains some of the most impressive in the Anderson canon.

Written by
Chris Dale

Writer, editor & voice actor on Big Finish's Doctor Who, Terrahawks, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet audio ranges. Host of the Randomiser on the Gerry Anderson Podcast.

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