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This week in Gerry Anderson news! (May 20th 2023)

This week in Gerry Anderson News

It’s been a week of exciting discoveries, and several sad losses – here’s the latest edition of the Gerry Anderson news roundup!

This week’s edition of the Gerry Anderson Podcast launched on Monday, and featured the second part of a chat between Jamie Anderson and Vanessa Harryhausen – daughter of the great filmmaker Ray Harryhausen! If you missed this week’s episode you can catch it (and all other previous episodes) either through our website or via your podcast platform of choice!

Also new this week over on the Gerry Anderson Randomiser Podcast (also available on all podcast platforms) The Protectors became embroiled in political power struggles in Malta, in the episode Ceremony for the Dead!

On Wednesday this week’s FAB Fact video travelled back to the 1990s, to discover why several Supercar episodes ended up on Space:1999 VHS releases!

On Tuesday we announced a very exciting discovery; a script and synopsis to an unfilmed episode of Four Feather Falls written by series star Nicholas Parsons has turned up in the personal script archive of the late actor, along with paperwork relating to the Blue Cars and Blue Skies Ahead projects he worked on alongside Gerry Anderson. Want to find out more? We interviewed Karl Williams about this amazing find here!

Breaking Point, the latest instalment of Big Finish’s audio reimagining of UFO, was released this week on CD and download! SHADO is nearly fully operational, but the alien menace is intensifying at a greater rate than the fledgling organisation can cope with. Under ever-increasing pressures, Straker is repeatedly put to the test. Facing unimaginable weaponry, warring factions, and near-insurmountable personal strain – can the man leading the fight to defend Earth survive?

On Friday evening David Munday and Jack Knoll joined forces once again to take a look back at the many iconic opening title sequences of the Anderson universe! What did they think of your favourite opening title sequence – and which was theirs?

Puppet sculptor John Brown with Stingray’s Commander Shore and Phones

On a sadder note, this week has seen announcements of the passings of not one but four names connected to the Anderson universe. Married in 1968, puppet sculptor John Brown and puppeteer Wanda Webb were both vital members of the team that brough the classic Supermarionation shows of the 1960s to life, with their joint Anderson career spanning the shows from Stingray to The Secret Service. John’s later screen work included special effects assignments on the James Bond, Superman, Indiana Jones and Alien franchises, as well as 1980s cult classics Jabberwocky and Willow.

John passed away on April 18th at the age of 83, with this local news article mentioning that Wanda had also passed a few months earlier.

Director Ray Austin with Sylvia Anderson and Barbara Bain

Beginning his career as an actor and stuntman, Ray Austin would be best known to Anderson fans for his directing work on Space:1999, for which he helmed eight episodes spanning both seasons of the show. His other screen directing work includes episodes of other such popular cult tv classics as The Avengers, The New Avengers, Return of the Saint, The Professionals, Wonder Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Magnum, P.I., Quincy, M.E., the 1980s reunion TV movies The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman – and much more. Ray Austin passed away on May 17th 2023 at the age of 90.

It was also announced this week that composer Francis Monkman had passed away on May 11th at the age of 73. Monkman was a rock classical and film score composer, and a founding member of the bands Curved Air and Sky. Although he never worked on an Anderson series, he did compose the piece of library music called Dawn of an Era, which went on to be used as the opening title theme on the 1980 compilation movie Invasion: UFO.

Popular Anderson episodes that first aired in the UK this week in years past include Fireball XL5’s A Day in the Life of a Space General (May 19th 1963), Stingray‘s Sea of Oil (May 16th 1965), TerrahawksTerratomb (May 17th 1986) and The Achilles Messenger, the final episode of the first season of New Captain Scarlet! (May 14th 2005).

That’s all the news for now – we’ll be back with more next weekend!

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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