Sylvia Anderson (1927 -2016)

Sylvia Anderson who, with her former husband Gerry, created television classics Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and many more has died, aged 88. She was also a voice artist on all of the Supermarionation series, most famously providing the voice of Lady Penelope.

Her daughter, Dee Anderson said that she was, “a mother and a legend”, who would be sadly missed.

“Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way.”

Gerry Anderson, Arthur Provis, Reg Hill, John Read and Sylvia received their first commission at AP Films from Roberta Leigh coming in the form of a television puppet series called ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’. So began her famous work alongside Gerry producing some of the most advanced puppet films of the time including Thunderbirds. Her role in creating the Supermarionation series involved a great deal of character development and bringing the puppet stars to life with personalities which people all over the world fell in love with. Later on she would take on a number of responsibilities on UFO, including a great deal of costume design work, and as producer on the first series of Space: 1999.

Lady Penelope continues to be a popular character which puppet maker Mary Turner modeled on Sylvia herself. The voice, of course, was also Sylvia’s. Her final performance as Lady Penelope forms the backbone of the Filmed In Supermarionation documentary telling the story of the pioneering days that brought her and her team to fame. The Thunderbirds 1965 project which uses audio albums from the 1960s to produce 3 new episodes of classic episodes also features Sylvia Anderson as Lady Penelope.

Her career which spanned five decades also included work at the US TV network, HBO as head of programming in the UK. She also did a great deal of charity work for Breast Cancer Care.

The enormous contributions that Sylvia Anderson made to film and television throughout her career made a great impact on generations of families all over the world, and our thoughts are with Dee Anderson and all of Sylvia’s family at this difficult time.



Written by
Jack Knoll

I've been a Gerry Anderson fan from birth, growing up on the repeats of Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet in the early 2000's. I'm also a fan of Doctor Who and other cult TV series including The Prisoner and Danger Man. I enjoy writing on a range of topics from across the Gerry Anderson back-catalogue from behind the scenes insights to fun and entertaining reviews. In my spare time I'm also a writer and film-maker.


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