Sylvia Anderson

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For complete histories of her work with Gerry Anderson, and of AP Films/Century 21 Productions, see the linked articles.
Sylvia Anderson
Born Sylvia Thamm
(1927-03-27) 27 March 1927 (age 88)
London, England
Residence Bray, Berkshire[1]
Alma mater London School of Economics
Occupation Television and film producer, writer, voice actress and costume designer
Years active 1957–present
Employer HBO
Television Supermarionation series, including Thunderbirds (1965–66)
Board member of Polytechnic Films/AP Films/Century 21/Group Three (1957–75)
Spouse(s) Gerry Anderson (m. 1960; div. 1981)[2]
Children Jacqueline Dee Anderson
Gerry Anderson Jr. [2]

Sylvia Anderson (née Thamm, born 25 March 1927) is a British television and film producer, writer and voice actress, well known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson, her husband between 1960 and 1981.[2] In addition to serving as co-creator and co-writer on their TV series during the 1960s and early 1970s, Sylvia's primary contribution was character development and costume design.[1] She regularly directed the bi-weekly voice recording sessions, and provided the voices of many female and child characters, in particular Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds. The Andersons divorced at the start of the 1980s following a five-year separation.[2]

Life and career[edit]

After graduating from the London School of Economics[1] with a degree in economics and sociology, Sylvia Thamm became a social worker and emigrated to the United States to live with her first husband, an American golfer.[2] Returning to the UK with a daughter, she joined the newly founded and short-lived Polytechnic Films as a secretary in 1957.[1][2] There, Thamm would meet Gerry Anderson, an editor and director.[2] That year, when Anderson and his business partner Arthur Provis created AP Films following Polytechnic's collapse, she joined them on the board of directors of the new company, alongside their colleagues John Read and Reg Hill.[1][2] In 1960, Thamm and Anderson married, after which she played a wider role in production duties.[1][2]

The Andersons' creative partnership ended when their marriage broke down during the production of the first series of Space: 1999 in 1975.[2] Gerry announced his intention to separate on the evening of the wrap party,[3][4] following which Sylvia ceased her involvement with the company, which by this time had twice been renamed and was now called Group Three. In 1983, she published a novel, Love and Hisses,[2] and in 1994 reprised her role as the voice of Lady Penelope for an episode of the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. She worked as a London-based talent scout for the American TV network HBO for 30 years.[1][2]

Anderson's autobiography, Yes M'Lady, was first published in 1991;[3] in 2007, it was re-published as My FAB Years[5] with new material to bring it up to date with the latest developments in her life, such as her role as a production consultant for the 2004 live-action film adaptation of Thunderbirds. Of the film, Anderson commented, "I'm personally thrilled that the production team have paid us the great compliment of bringing to life our original concept for the big screen. If we had made it ourselves (and we have had over 30 years to do it!) we could not have improved on this new version. It is a great tribute to the original creative team who inspired the movie all those years ago. It was a personal thrill for me to see my characters come to life on the big screen."[6] My FAB Years was re-released as a spoken CD, narrated by Anderson, in 2010.[7][8]

In 2013, Anderson was working with her daughter Jacqueline Dee, a jazz singer, on a concept for a new TV series[1] named "The Last Station". They have set up a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for followers to contribute and be a part of the new series.


AP Films[edit]

Century 21[edit]

Group Three[edit]

ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Griffin, Stephen (26 May 2013). "Sylvia Anderson: 'The press loved Penelope and that made Gerry jealous'". Daily Express (London: Express Newspapers). Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Sylvia Anderson Biography". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Sylvia Anderson (1991). Yes M'Lady. Smith Gryphon. ISBN 1-85685-011-0. 
  4. ^ Simon Archer, Stan Nicholls (1996). Gerry Anderson: the Authorised Biography. Legend Books. p. 171. ISBN 0-09-978141-7. 
  5. ^ Sylvia Anderson (2007). My FAB Years. Hermes Press. ISBN 1-932563-91-1. 
  6. ^ "Thunderbirds: The Movie". Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "My FAB Years – the Audiobook". Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "My FAB Years – Abridged – Audible Audio Edition". Retrieved 24 February 2011. 

External links[edit]