Extending A Life UnchartedFebruary 17, 2023
By Chris Dale
When Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted launched on Britbox in April 2022, viewers were treated to a ninety-minute documentary exploring the previously untold story of the life of Gerry Anderson; writer, director, producer and creator or co-creator of many classic British television shows including Thunderbirds, UFO and Space:1999. Although well received by fans and critics alike, the documentary’s limited running time (a requirement for international markets) increased the challenge of fully exploring Gerry’s eighty-three years of life in a single film. As a result, many sequences that director Benjamin Field and producer Jamie Anderson felt were crucial to telling Gerry’s story, either had to be severely truncated or else removed altogether.
For its new UK release on DVD and Blu-ray, A Life Uncharted has been given room to breathe in an exclusive extended director’s cut (included on the disc at the request of the late Tim Beddows) that includes more than twenty minutes of previously unseen material that was unable to be included in the Britbox release.
Some of this additional material came thanks to feedback from viewers in search of additional information or clarification of certain points raised during the Britbox cut of the documentary, but those who have already seen A Life Uncharted will pick up on several sequences entirely unique to this extended version of the documentary. Much of the reinstated material focuses on the latter years of Gerry’s life, and includes his recollections on the infamous 2004 Thunderbirds movie – both the finished product and his own treatment during its development. The extended cut also allows for Gerry to reflect on some of his own mistakes over the years – such as his angry dismissal of future Space:1999 effects director Brian Johnson during the production of Thunderbirds.
Also included in the new DVD and Blu-ray of A Life Uncharted, is a making-of featurette exclusive to this release, delving into not only the production process behind the documentary itself, but also the personal archive of the Anderson family with previously unseen photographs and video content, allowing viewers an even more personal look at the home life of the man behind their favourite shows.
If you’ve already seen the documentary, or have yet to give it a watch, there’s something in this release for even the most casual of Anderson fans – although the focus remains firmly on Gerry Anderson the man rather than any of his television or film productions. Gerry’s son Jamie described the intent of the documentary was “not about examining the works of a great painter, it’s about examining the canvas of their life and how that was painted upon.” The new director’s cut of Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted (and its bonus feature) embraces that ambition by offering viewers a better understanding of the life and experiences of Gerry Anderson as a human being than was possible for the original streaming edit, and shows the extent to which those experiences shaped his life and work – for better or (sometimes) for worse.
Order Gerry Anderson – A Life Uncharted Extended Director’s Cut