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  Sylvia Anderson
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(Sylvia Thomas Anderson 1927–2016). British writer and producer.

IMDB credits Although the death of British producer Gerry ANDERSON was widely reported in 2012, the 2016 death of his former wife and collaborator, Sylvia Anderson, received little attention—which hardly seems fair, since she officially deserves a fair share of the credit—or more accurately, the blame—for his best-known achievements. But perhaps, having been wise enough to oppose the inappropriate casting of Martin LANDAU and Barbara BAIN in the unmitigated disaster that destroyed the Andersons' marriage, Space: 1999 (1975-1977), she was also wise enough to realize in retrospect that she and her former husband really had nothing to be proud of, and hence preferred to maintain a lower profile, only occasionally emerging to revisit old glories.

After two failed marriages, the thirty-year-old Anderson, now with a daughter to support, was surely pleased by the prospect of marriage to Gerry Anderson—already well on his way to becoming a successful, wealthy producer of television series—and as a bonus, he was willing to grant his lovely new wife equal credit for what was surely mostly his own work in creating and producing a series of television series featuring animated puppets. Charity clearly demands, then, that the various series jointly credited to her and her ex-husband should be properly eviscerated at length in Gerry Anderson's entry, not this one, interpreting her co-equal billing, like other commentators, essentially as a kind gesture from her husband—though one could question whether crediting someone for the likes of Fireball XL-5 (1962-1963) and Space: 1999 really represent acts of kindness.

While one can doubt whether she actually did much work in creating and producing series, she unquestionably did provide their animated characters with voices, something she appeared to enjoy doing, and since it was always necessary to create such jobs for the boss's wife, the Anderson series always featured prominent, if sometimes prissy, female roles, which could be regarded as enlightened in an era when the casts of science fiction series tended to be predominantly or exclusively male. If she was otherwise doing anything to earn her salary, it involved, by most reports, her habit of hovering over the shows' creative personnel and doing her best to ensure that the results of their work were as attractive as possible. If this is the case, then she indeed merits a modest amount of praise, for despite their execrable scripts, these puppet series did display a certain colorful style that may account for the fact that so many youthful British viewers retain some affection for them. And when they moved in life-action productions, the overall look of their best series, UFO (1970-1973) seemed especially persuasive and authentic (indeed, she was apparently given official credit as costume designer for one episode). Yet among its other, innumerable flaws, the successor series Space: 1999 didn't even look particularly attractive—but perhaps, by that time, Sylvia was already distancing herself from her soon-to-be ex-husband's endeavors.

Fleeing from the ruins of that series, Sylvia Anderson, by some reports, was involved in the production of the European television series Star Maidens (1976), but perhaps this was only a rumor, inspired by the series' abysmally low quality. To judge from her official credits, she was long content to relax and live off the proceeds of a no doubt generous divorce settlement and a steady stream of residual payments from old series. Still, she did appear in documentaries to discuss her old series and occasionally provided the voice of her most famous characters, Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds (1965-1966). As late as 2015, a year before her death, she voiced a new, fittingly elderly character, Great Aunt Sylvia, for the newest version of Thunderbirds Are Go (2015- ). And, since British producers seem committed to endlessly reviving that venerable atrocity, which she purportedly co-created, Sylvia Anderson's filmography might continue expanding, improbably and inappropriately, for decades and decades after her death.

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