Early voyages

I was sad to hear of the passing of Gerry Anderson earlier this week, creator of several popular sci-fi shows of the 1960s and 70s.

Anderson, working with small budgets and - by today's standards - an extremely limited palette of special effects, was nevertheless able to conjure the imaginative worlds of TV series such as Thunderbirds, UFO, Captain Scarlet and Space 1999.

Thunderbirds of course is the best known of his creations, but, as a child of the 1970s, that came a bit early for me, and I was never particularly taken with it: it was his 1975 series Space 1999 that I remember. With a simple set comprising models of a few space craft and a moonbase - Moonbase Alpha I think it was called - Anderson was able to indicate something of the limitlessness of the galaxy and the universe beyond.

It certainly opened my imagination to the wonders of space exploration, and by extension, to the possibilities of technology. In addition to the moonbase and space ships I recall being entranced by the gadgetry the crew used to navigate the base and ships: a world of glimmering lights, labs, phasers, dials and touchpad user interfaces. I also liked the architecture of the moonbase, a network of bright strip-lighted corridors embellished with brushed metal, walls of sheeted glass, and the reassuring hum of an efficient air circulation system…

I can't think of anything earlier than this that might have sowed the seeds of my life long love of technology: the big budget 70s sci-fi of Star Wars and Close Encounters came later. So, thank you Mr Anderson. I'm glad to see there are nice comments by others of similar vintage to myself on the BBC's tribute page.

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