Did you know?
Sylvia cast Michael Caine’s wife Shakira as one of the Moonbase girls in UFO (before she became Mrs Michael Caine)
SYLVIA ANDERSON has enjoyed a long, successful, unique and influential career in film and television entertainment. She was born in London and graduated with a Degree in Sociology and Political Science at the London School of Economics.
She spent some time in the States and worked as a freelance journalist.
She then joined a small film production company and worked on TV commercials and documentaries. It was whilst working for the film company that she met her future husband, GERRY ANDERSON. They became the famous husband and wife team responsible for such programmes as FOUR FEATHER FALLS, SUPERCAR, FIREBALL XL5, STINGRAY, to the high-flying heroics of THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN SCARLET. 21st Century heroes, STEVE ZODIAC, TROY TEMPEST, CAPTAIN SCARLET and JOE 90 all bear Sylvia’s hallmark for appealing and extraordinary characters – most famously of all, she fashioned the popular TRACY family for the award-winning series, THUNDERBIRDS, together with her most iconic character, the elegant, charming and deadly-dangerous Super-Agent LADY PENELOPE, for whom she also supplied that unforgettable aristocratic voice.
New worlds of live-action adventure followed with the launch of futuristic alien invasion fantasy, UFO, and the mind-stretching voyagers of MOONBASE ALPHA in SPACE 1999. Both now recognised as outstanding achievement in science fiction production. There also followed films for the cinema, DOPPELGANGER, a live-action sci-fi adventure and THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! and THUNDERBIRD 6. By the 1980’s, Gerry and Sylvia had gone their separate ways, both personally and professionally, and were divorced in 1981.
With a new solo career, Sylvia became Head of Production for one of the first video companies in the UK. She produced music programmes, cookery and children’s specials. The company went from strength to strength, finally going public. It was an interesting experience for her at a time when video production was in its infancy. The UK was ahead of the States at that time when the impact and usage of video was relatively unknown.
She also pursued her long-time ambition to write a novel. LOVE & HISSES, was published by Methuen in 1983 and received excellent reviews. It was a blend of fact and fiction – a bittersweet look at a young woman’s life, who is a product of the ‘60’s, with a background of the advertising world. As with most first novels, it reflected much of Sylvia’s own first-hand experiences. Written in diary form, it preceded BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY, with its blend of factual events in parallel with the story.
In the late ‘80’s, she joined HBO, the leading US Cable Company of the Time Warner group. It was yet another exciting challenge and enabled her to introduce a wide variety of British talent to the States over the years. She was their Original Programming representative in the UK and based at Pinewood Studios. Her job was to set up co-productions, seek out material for drama, music, documentaries and film and generally assess film properties for the US marketplace. In those early days, HBO was still seeking good material and were not yet known for programmes such as THE SOPRANOS, SIX FEET UNDER, SEX & THE CITY and BAND OF BROTHERS, all award-winning shows. She remained with HBO for thirty years.
Throughout her production career, Sylvia has also appeared on the other side of the camera, hosting and writing the original RUSSELL HARTY show ELEVEN PLUS, with TONY CURTIS as her main guest, MOVIE QUIZ with MICHAEL PARKINSON, CALL MY BLUFF, TELL THE TRUTH, BREAKFAST TV and many radio shows. Her next book was YES M’LADY, a personal account of her work in film and television and the behind the scenes story of THUNDERBIRDS.
SYLVIA’s most recent book is MY FAB YEARS, which tells the story of her early days and her journey from a fledgling woman producer in a strictly man’s world, through to the present day. As the book cover illustrates, this is not just another THUNDERBIRDS story, Sylvia’s encounters with THE ROLLING STONES, TOM JONES, TONY CURTIS, ROGER MOORE, CLIFF RICHARD, WENDY CRAIG, OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN, JOAN COLLINS and even champion boxer LENNOX LEWIS, have all featured in her working life, as well as the famous puppet characters. It’s basically a woman’s story with all the ups and downs of life with the backdrop of fantasy and glamour.
She has now completed the audio version of her book that she abridged and voiced.
She is a regular guest on TV and radio shows.