By Chris Dale
Network Distributing and Anderson Entertainment present a feast of Gerry Anderson classics in a streaming ‘watchalong’ from 7pm on the very first Gerry Anderson Day, this April 14th!
To mark the anniversary of his birth in 1929, April 14th 2021 is the first ever International Gerry Anderson Day, celebrating the life and work of the legendary television and film producer. Along with many other talented creatives and artists, he brought to the world such classic shows as Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, UFO, Space:1999 and many more that are still being enjoyed to this day by their many fans around the globe.
As part of the celebrations to mark this occasion, we at Network are proud to present Gerry Anderson’s Night In – a marathon of eight classic episodes in High Definition! If you’ve yet to try one of our Night In experiences, these are a specially curated schedule of episodes of classic British television, normally running for between four and five hours, which you can stream at watch.networkonair.com.
We’ve had great success with our ABC Nights In, compilations of the best television output from ABC, and we’re proud to now be able to add a Gerry Anderson Night In to that line-up! This five-hour schedule of classic sci-fi entertainment will take viewers to Anderson and company’s Supermarionation worlds of the 1960s, on to their live action universe of the 70s, and then all the way to the mid-2000s for an episode from his final television series – with a stop in the 80s along the way!
Our episode marathon begins in 1961, with an early instalment of the first television series to carry the immortal words Filmed in Supermarionation; Supercar! False Alarm sees Supercar, the revolutionary Marvel of the Age, fall into the unscrupulous hands of the arch villains Masterspy and Zarin after they trick Mike Mercury and Doctor Beaker with a phony distress call – but help might just come from an unexpected (and hairy) source!
Next up is a classic episode of 1962’s Fireball XL5, in which trainee controller Lieutenant 90 dreams of getting promoted to Space General and being placed in charge of Space City itself – only for chaos to ensue! A Day in the Life of a Space General was the first (but hopefully not the last!) episode from any of Gerry Anderson’s black and white shows to be fully colourised – and it’s the colourised version we’ll be showing as part of our Night In! Filmed near the end of production, the episode is also notable for featuring the on-screen destruction of many of the show’s models and sets – including the Space City tower and Fireball XL5 itself! Appropriately enough for Gerry Anderson Day, you’ll also hear the voice of the great man himself in his regular role as XL5’s robotic co-pilot Robert!
From the early days of Supermarionation, we then jump forward to the second half of the 1960s for the final episodes of 1967’s Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and 1968’s Joe 90. By this time the Supermarionation world had made major technological advances, now producing shows starring puppets created in human-like proportions and with a greater focus on spectacular action – not to mention violence! The Inquisition and The Birthday both see our heroes relieving memorable moments from some of their greatest adventures, including Captain Scarlet leading a team to investigate the Mysterons’ lunar complex and Joe 90 infiltrating a lair of ruthless gunrunners!
From the world of Supermarionation, we then leap into the land of 1970s live action sci-fi for a pair of much-praised instalments from two of the most celebrated Anderson works; UFO and Space:1999. A Question of Priorities sees Ed Straker struggling to balance his duties as both a father and SHADO’s commander-in-chief when his son is hit by a car shortly before an alien defector lands on Earth, while Black Sun sees the lost human community on Moonbase Alpha facing extinction when the Moon finds itself on a collision course with a black sun!
We also have two exciting episodes from subsequent decades of Anderson’s career, beginning with a trip to the early 1980s for Anderson’s long-awaited return to the world of puppetry! In Close Call, global defence organisation the Terrahawks face a threat to their security when the Overlander supply train is hi-jacked by a human collaborator in league with the evil android Zelda – but is he all he appears? Lastly, we wrap up the episode marathon with Dominion, the concluding episode of Gerry Anderson’s final television series, New Captain Scarlet – a 2005 CGI reimagining of the classic 1967 Supermarionation original. In this episode, Captain Scarlet seizes a chance to end the war with the Mysterons once and for all – by teaming up with Captain Black and returning to Mars where it all began!
But that’s not all! Along the way our Gerry Anderson Night In will also feature additional material, including archive treats and newly created content from Anderson Entertainment. There’ll be vintage commercials and trailers starring popular Anderson characters, looks behind the scenes, and even Gerry Anderson himself to talk us through some of his favourite memories and introduce these classic episodes via archive recordings.
If you can’t make the Gerry Anderson Night In when it first streams at 7pm on April 14th, don’t worry! The complete five-hour marathon will remain available to purchase on our website alongside our other Nights In, allowing you the chance to watch whenever is convenient for you – or, if you’ve already seen it, to relive the entire Night In over again whenever you like! You can choose between purchasing a seven-day rental access to the stream for £4.99, or to buy it to own forever for £6.99 – but if you do watch the stream when it first goes out, don’t forget to share your reactions on Twitter using the #FabNightIn hashtag!