'Filmed In Supermarionation' is an upcoming documentary which will tells the story of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the creators of Thunderbirds, and how they created a new way of working with puppets, named Supermarionation.
Ever wanted to know how Thunderbirds was filmed? Or how the cast and crew managed to create a series which remains alive and well in the popular imagination? Well this is your chance as a new documentary has been made focussing on AP Films, the company behind the animated puppet series.
Lady Penelope and Parker will return to narrate the documentary.
Filmed In Supermarionation tells the story of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who founded AP Films (later renamed Century 21) in the 1960s. They also created such children's television series as Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons and Stingray. All the series were filmed using puppets and special effects created on a miniature scale.
The use of puppets was dubbed by Gerry as 'supermarionation' and signified a revolutionary new means of using puppets and marionette techniques. Gerry continued to use the technique in various projects until his death in 2012 and he was awarded an MBE in 2001 for his services to entertainment.
Filmed In Supermarionation has been directed and produced by documentary film maker Stephen La Rivière (The Story of Upstairs Downstairs) and is based on his book of the same name. Sylvia Anderson narrates the documentary. She is best known for providing the voice of Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds. Sylvia is joined in narrating the film by David Graham, who provided the voice for Lady Penelope's butler Parker. Lady Penelope and Parker will host the documentary, in puppet form, in specially created new segments.
AP Films were also responsible for Captain Scarlet.
The documentary uses archive footage, recent interviews and reconstructions to show how Gerry and his team created an ingenious new means of using puppets. Stephen La Rivière explained his interest in the subject, as recorded on Anderson-entertainment.com, saying "Despite being made in the 60s the Supermarionation shows have continually found new audiences. A large part of this is down to the incredible care with which they were made."
He continued by stating, "For a long time it's been my hope to make this film and tell the pioneering story of the small team of filmmakers behind these shows; a team that was so desperate to make 'proper' grown up films that they utilised all their ingenuity to push forward the then limited arts of puppetry and special effects and in the process inadvertently changed film history."
The popularity and ingenuity of the series, which saw a group of highly trained secret agents aid in the air, sea and land rescue of various individuals around the globe, continues fifty years after its creation. Set a century ahead, the series saw Jeff Tracy, voiced by Peter Dyneley, and his sons pilot various technologically advanced vehicles and weaponry. The series was the basis of a 2004 film starring Bill Paxton which was a critical flop but a new series for ITV has been commissioned which will air next year.
Filmed In Supermarionation will premiere in October at the BFI.