November 5th, 2006

Pertwee bike

Thank You, Sir Lew

The National Film Theatre has convinced me to take out another year's membership with yesterday's offering of Gerry Anderson in Conversation and A Gallop Through The Archives, an afternoon spent paying tribute to Lew Grade.

First up was Gerry Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds, Stingray (my personal favourite: Troy Tempest and his permanently-raised eyebrow, yum), Captain Scarlet and all the rest.

A polite and old-fashioned man (someone asked if he had seen Team America and he complained about the inappropriate language, which seemed to me to be missing the point), he talked with huge affection about Lew Grade and everyone else involved with his studio (with the notable exception of his ex-wife and co-producer, Sylvia).

The clips from the various Supermarionation series and the audience reaction to them were among the best moments, particularly the ripple of laughter during episode 1 of Torchy The Battery Boy in which Mr. Bumbledrop announces "I know! I'll make a toy boy!"

The second chunk of entertainment was a whistle-stop tour of the rise and rise of Lew and ATV, with lots more great clips (ending with a complete episode of The Buccaneers) and a few surprise celebrity guests in the audience who stood up to share their memories of that golden age, including the voice of Captain Scarlet.

The presenter, Robert Sellers, was in the foyer before the performance signing copies of his book. I told him as I purchased my copy that I had to buy it because there was a still from Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), one of my favourite programmes, on the cover.

"Oh," said he, "Kenny Cope [Kenneth Cope, who played the deceased Marty Hopkirk] is in the Green Room right now; he's going to be in the audience. I'm sure he'll sign this for you."

And off he trotted, returning minutes later with a book now inscribed 'Love, Kenneth Cope XXX' and totally making my day.
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