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email BIG RAT

Last updated
9 April 2009

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Factual and typographic errors appearing in both the hardback and paperback editions
of "Gerry Anderson - The Authorised Biography" by Simon Archer and Stan Nicholls,
published by Legend Books/Little Brown Books.

This information originally appeared on the Fanderson web site,
and is reproduced here with the permission of the author, Chris Bentley.

Page 4 Para 2
Line 6: "...on a green beige card table.." should be "...on a green baize card table..."

Page 26 Para 4
Line 9: "She worked in the rag trade as a machinst..." should be "She worked in the rag trade as a machinist...".

Page 35 Para 3
It would be fairer to say that many of the character voices on Twizzle were undertaken by Denise Bryer rather than most, as many of the other voices (including the voice of Twizzle himself) were provided by Nancy Nevinson.

Page 40 Para 8
Granada financed 39 episodes of Four Feather Falls, not 52.

Page 42 Para 2
The wires had 50V running through them, not 60V.

Page 42 Para 4
Barry Gray wrote the outline and concept for Four Feather Falls, but he did not write the first episode, How It Began - this episode was actually written by Mary Cathcart Borer.

Page 44 Para 5 - Page 46 Para 2
The placement of this section is chronologically misleading as it implies that Crossroads To Crime and the Blue Cars commercials were made prior to Supercar, which is not so. Crossroads To Crime was filmed between the two seasons of Supercar and released in November 1960 (at about the same time as Gerry & Sylvia's marriage, mentioned on page 56).

Page 54 Para 1
The credit sequence at the beginning of Supercar lasted for 50 seconds, not 1 minute.

Page 55 Para 8
The first British show sold by ITC to America was The Adventures Of Robin Hood (it began on CBS in September 1955). It was followed by The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot (1955), The Buccaneers (1956), The Count Of Monte Cristo (1956), The Four Just Men (1957), The New Adventures Of Charlie Chan (1957), The Adventures Of William Tell (1957) and Danger Man (1961) before Supercar in 1962.

Page 57 Para 3
There was a second series of Supercar - the first 26 episodes constituted season one (broadcast January to September 1961) while the last 13 comprised season two (broadcast March to February 1962). The making of Crossroads To Crime took place between the two seasons. George Murcell was not available to voice Professor Popkiss in the second series, which is why he was replaced by Cyril Shaps.

Page 67 Para 1
The end credits song for Fireball XL5 is called "Fireball", not "I Wish I Was A Spaceman".

Page 69 Para 3
Stingray was not the UK's first colour television series. Certainly the crew at A.P. Films were under the impression that it was, but in fact 14 of the 30 episodes of The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot were made in colour in 1955, seven years beforehand. It would be more accurate to say that Stingray was the first British television series to be made entirely in colour.

Page 69 Para 4
The sale of A.P. Films mentioned in the previous paragraph took place prior to production on Stingray - this was in 1962, not 1964.

Page 72 Para 8
The Rolls Royce does not appear in the opening credits of The Protectors. It does, however, appear in the opening sequence of the first episode, 2000ft To Die.

Page 73 Para 5
Once again, Stingray was not the UK's first colour television series (see comment above re: Page 69 Para 3).

Page 75 Para 4
Stingray was designed by Reg Hill, not by Derek Meddings. This quote is wrongly attributed to Derek Meddings as he would not have spoken in this way about a craft that he did not design (and which he acknowledged in his own book, "21st Century Visions", was designed by Reg Hill).

Page 75 Para 5
2nd line: "Gerrys' creation" should be "Gerry's creation".

Page 80 Para 3
Paddy Seale's nickname on the set was 'Flipper', not 'Oink'.

Page 80 Para 6
Alan Pattillo did not write for Stingray, although he did direct. Apart from three episodes written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, all the episodes of Stingray were written by Alan Fennell and Dennis Spooner.

Page 80 Para 7
The last sentence is a gross (and erroneous) simplification of the respective writers' talents. Many of Fennell's scripts were overtly humorous, and Spooner's were action-packed too. As mentioned above, Pattillo did not write for the series.

Page 87 Para 8
The filming practices on Thunderbirds were that two episodes were shot simultaneously right from the commencement of shooting on the series. At the time that the order came from Grade to expand the episodes to one hour, episodes 9 and 10 were being filmed while episodes 11 and 12 were being prepared.

Page 88 Para 3
The implication here is that the simultaneous filming of episodes was an innovation developed for Thunderbirds to cope with the burden of the hour-long episodes, but in fact the AP Films team had been shooting episodes simultaneously since Fireball XL5. Without this practice, on a shooting schedule of two weeks per episode it would have taken the crew 18 months to film Fireball XL5 and another 18 months to film Stingray, whereas both series were actually completed in half that time. For the hour-long Thunderbirds episodes, the schedule for each was expanded to four weeks, but with simultaneous shooting, the first season (26 episodes) was completed in just over a year.
Gerry's comment is more specifically relevant to the company's move to Stirling Road (mentioned on page 72) which was prompted by the requirement for larger studio facilities on Stingray. Stingray was the first series in which episodes were filmed simultaneously by crews working on two completely separate soundstages with duplicated sets and puppets (on Fireball XL5, the limited studio space had meant that the two crews shared the facilities on a single soundstage and moved between the sets on a rota).

Page 88 Para 4
The Americans did not decide that each show had to be split in two at this time as, in fact, they didn't want the series at all (which is why Grade cancelled it (see comment on Page 111 Para 5 below). Certain stations on the ITV network asked for each episode to be split into two parts, which is how the series was broadcast in some regions. However, this did not put a massive additional burden on the editing department - the editing department simply had a massive workload editing two hour long episodes of Thunderbirds every month. The two part versions of the series were later sold to syndication in the U.S.

Page 94 Para 2
The plot of Joe 90's first episode did not feature Russian and British secret agents working together. In fact, it featured a British agent (Joe) stealing a Russian fighter plane to restore the balance of power. However, this is revealed to be a story made up by Shane Weston who explains at the end of the episode that "there is no conflict between Soviet Russia and the West".

Page 97 Para 1
The actor mentioned here as the basis of Alan Tracy was the late Robert Reed who co-starred in the courtroom drama series The Defenders.

Page 98 Para 3
Iris Richens actually succeeded Betty Coleman (not the other way around). Betty worked on Gerry Anderson's productions up until the Thunderbirds Are Go feature film in the early part of 1966. Iris was then promoted to wardrobe supervisor on Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons later that year.

Page 111 Para 2
Thunderbirds premiered on British television on Thursday, September 30th, 1965, not October 2nd.

Page 111 Para 4
The name of Tucker's cuddly koala pal is spelled Tingha not Tinga.

Page 111 Para 5
Thunderbirds was not a success in America and was not shown there until 1968 - after Captain Scarlet had already appeared on American television. It was primarily because Grade was unable to acquire a network sale for Thunderbirds in the USA that he cancelled production of the series and asked for a new show (Captain Scarlet).

Pages 115-117, 118, 129 and index
The title of the first Thunderbirds feature film is "Thunderbirds Are Go" not "Thunderbirds Are Go!" (there is no exclamation mark).

Page 119 Para 4
Thunderbirds had 32 episodes, not 22. The first series comprised 26 episodes and the crew had already filmed the first six episodes of a second series (in parallel with the Thunderbirds Are Go feature film) when Grade dropped his bombshell at this meeting with Gerry.

Page 119 Para 9
Grade's view was simply that he couldn't sell Thunderbirds in the States (see comment above re: Page 111 Para 5). There was no point in continuing to produce a series that wouldn't sell in the USA, so he wanted a new one.

Pages 121-129
Throughout this section, Spectrum is incorrectly typeset as "SPECTRUM" as if the name of the organisation is an acronym. It isn't.

Page 121 Para 7
The premise of Captain Scarlet as given here has become confused with that of UFO. The Mysterons have no interest whatsoever in taking over the Earth. They simply wish to take revenge for an unprovoked act of aggression (the destruction of their complex on Mars) by the Earthmen. This revenge takes the form of a war of nerves against Spectrum, with the Mysterons engineering their acts of retaliation by targeting various locations, prominent figures or organisations. Captain Scarlet does not become indestructible after surviving a Mysteron attack - he is killed, and replaced by an indestructible duplicate.

Page 122 Para 3
The puppets' eyes were not operated by solenoids, but operated manually by the puppeteers via a pair of control wires.

Page 122 Para 4
The story about the puppets' eyes being made from photographs of the eyes of members of the Century 21 staff is apocryphal. Christine Glanville recalls that the idea was mooted but found to be impractical - the photographer was simply unable to get clear photographs of people's eyes that were good enough to use. Instead, large flat artworks of irises were painted and it was these that were photographed and moulded into the puppets' eyeballs.

Page 124 Para 2:
The suggestion that the puppets were operated "glove-puppet style" implies that the puppeteer's hand was inside the head of the puppet, which was not the case. "Rod-puppet style" is a more accurate description.

Page 126 Para 7
The Mysterons' technique was to engineer the deaths of innocent people and then duplicate their bodies, reanimating these duplicates as Mysteron agents. They did not take over the original bodies, which were often later found by Spectrum.

Page 127 Para 2
Each episode of Captain Scarlet had a two week shooting schedule but for the first 12 episodes, pairs of episodes were shot simultaneously over a period of 12 weeks. The remaining 20 episodes of the series were shot back-to-back with Thunderbird 6 over a five month period.

Pages 130-133
Throughout this section "Thunderbird Six" should be written "Thunderbird 6" (with a numeral).

Page 130 Para 7
Captain Scarlet's two production blocks were of 12 and 20 episodes (re: Page 127 Para 2 above), not 13 and 19.

Page 131 Para 4
The second word here should be "climactic", not "climatic".

Page 131 Para 5
The location for filming of the motorway sequences in Thunderbird 6 was on the M40 at Lane End near High Wycombe, not Stokenchurch which is over four miles away.

Page 131 Para 7
Norman Foster was charged on three counts (not 17) of aiding and abetting while Joan Hughes was charged on seven counts of dangerous flying.

Page 133 Para 2
The original Thunderbirds puppets were not sanded down, re-painted and re-wigged for Thunderbird 6 - all the puppets in Thunderbird 6 were newly made for the film (their proportions and features are very noticeably different from those used in the television series and the first feature film).

Page 133 Para 4
Line 2: "...accompanied Lady Penelope lookalike Penny Show" should read "accompanied by Lady Penelope lookalike Penny Show".

Pages 135-139 & 163
Throughout these pages the word "Doppelgänger" (both used as the film title and as a descriptive word) is consistently spelled incorrectly as "Doppleganger".

Page 135 Para 4
Doppelgänger was not Gerry Anderson's first live-action adventure movie (we have already been told about Crossroads To Crime back on page 44). It was, however, his first major live-action motion picture as Crossroads To Crime had been made as a B-movie.

Page 138 Para 2
Doppelgänger was only retitled Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun for American and Australian audiences. British and European prints retained the Doppelgänger title, which is the name under which the film is catalogued by the BFI and the BBFC.

Page 139 Para 2
Line 6: "...and had too do what he told him" should be "...and had to do what he told him."

Page 139 Para 5
Doppelgänger did not go on release in July 1968. The film premiered in June 1969 in the USA while the British premiere did not take place until the following October. The film was still being shot on location in Portugal in July 1968 as Joe 90 was being prepared.

Page 140 Para 7
Line 6: "Wurzel" should be spelled "Worzel".

Page 140 Para 4
There was no "new kind of puppet" introduced on Joe 90. The only two puppet types on the series were the marionettes and the rod-controlled puppets operated from beneath the set - which were developed for Thunderbirds Are Go and the second series of Thunderbirds (as discussed back on page 124).

Page 141 Para 3
BIG RAT is an acronym, and so should appear as either BIG RAT or B.I.G.R.A.T., not "Big Rat".

Page 142 Para 5
The Secret Service was not the first of Gerry Anderson's puppet series to be set in the present day. Supercar was also set in the present day (the first season episode A Little Art indicates that the date is around 1960 while the second season episode The Day That Time Stood Still is specifically set in 1962).

Page 143 Para 8
While the puppet stages closed down and the puppetry staff were made redundant in January 1969, the Century 21 Studios at Stirling Road continued to operate until late in 1970, as all the stages were given over to the filming of special effects for UFO.

Page 145 Para 9
12 actors from Doppelgänger appeared in UFO, although only seven of these made regular appearances in the series.

Page 145 Para 9/Page 146 Para 5
Although Doppelgänger is spelled correctly both here and in the index, the umlaut is missing above the 'a' in both cases.

Page 148 Para 4
The UFO episode Confetti Check A-O.K. was almost pure soap with hardly any SF elements in it, whereas there was quite a bit of SF in A Question Of Priorities (the Alien defector part of the plot). However, Confetti Check A-O.K. was filmed long after A Question Of Priorities so it is completely erroneous to say that "no further stories of that kind were produced" after Priorities. Perhaps the New York office was actually talking about Confetti Check rather than Priorities?

Page 157 Paras 8 & 9
John Cameron wrote the incidental music for The Protectors but he did not compose the title theme. As is clearly indicated by the credits on the end titles of each episode, the music of The Protectors theme ("Avenues And Alleyways") was composed by Mitch Murray, while Peter Callender penned the lyrics that were sung by Tony Christie over the end titles. An extended version of this end titles song was then released as a single.

Page 159 Para 4
Sylvia Anderson wrote the script for The Investigator based on a story by Shane Rimmer.

Page 165 Para 11
Keith Wilson's job title on Space:1999 was Production Designer not Art Director. He not only designed the sets but also all the costumes (except for the Alpha uniforms designed by Rudi Gernreich - as mentioned in Para 7 on this page) for the first season.

Page 166 Para 2
However unintentionally, the implication here is that Keith Wilson deliberately muscled-in and poached Bob Bell's job on Space:1999. In fact, both men acknowledge that Bob Bell was originally offered the opportunity to work on Space:1999 but turned it down in favour of the planned third season of The Protectors which was to have gone into production at the same time as Space:1999 - it would not have been possible for him to work on both series at once. By the time that the plans for the third season of The Protectors had fallen through, Keith Wilson had already been hired and contracted as Production Designer on 1999. This was unfortunate for Bob Bell, but left him free to take up the position of Production Designer on the first season of The New Avengers, which was filmed at Pinewood Studios at the same time as Space:1999.

Page 174 Para 3
This paragraph should begin "Only weeks after completing work on the first 24 episodes of Space:1999..."

Page 178 Para 11
No animatronics were used on Space:1999 - at the time, the technique was still very much in its infancy and far too expensive and unreliable.

Page 187 Para 5
The title Operation Shockwave appears erroneously in place of Five Star Five - this is actually a story about Five Star Five's financing and has nothing to do with Operation Shockwave.

Page 188 Para 8
Line 1: "He was equalled gratified..." should read "He was equally gratified..."

Page 191 Para 5
There were 39 episodes of Terrahawks, not 26.

Page 192 Para 6
The voice of Tiger Ninestein was provided by Jeremy Hitchin, not Ben Stevens. Ben Stevens voiced Hawkeye and Space Sergeant 101 among others.

Page 193 Para 2
"Customary" here implies that robot characters were a staple ingredient of Gerry Anderson's series. In fact, apart from Robert in Fireball XL5 (over twenty years beforehand) and Slomo in Space Precinct (ten years later), they were not.

Page 193 Para 6/Page 194 Para 4
HUDSON is an acronym and so should appear as HUDSON or H.U.D.S.O.N., not Hudson.

Page 194 Para 5
Bandai produced a range of 15 toy craft from Terrahawks, not 26. They also produced a range of 8 action figures and a deluxe 'Action Zeroid'.

Page 194 Para 8
The Terrahawks press call was attended by Denise Bryer and Jeremy Hitchin, not Ben Stevens.

Page 195 Para 2
The title of the song was simply "SOS", not "SOS, Mr Tracy".

Page 195 Para 4
Terrahawks' UK TV premiere was on Saturday, 8th October, 1983, not Sunday the 9th.

Page 200 Para 5
Each episode of Dick Spanner was six minutes long, not five (a minute is a long time in stop-motion animation).

Page 203 Para 7
Captain Scarlet did, in fact, appear in the original production of "Thunderbirds FAB".

Page 208 Para 4
Gerry Anderson is misquoted here: to make the life-casts required for the Space Precinct alien heads, the actor's whole head had to be covered in plaster, not just their face. (The actor referred to here is Ken Drury who was originally cast as Sergeant Fredo and replaced by David Quilter when it became clear that he wasn't going to be able to cope with the Tarn mask. He later appeared as Azusa in the fifth episode The Snake.)

Page 213 Para 4
Lines 3/4: "...she was always there to advice..." should read "she was always there to advise..."

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