Thunderbirds creator’s daughter vows to take ITV to court unless they recognise mum’s role

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Dee Anderson, who is the daughter of the couple who created Thunderbirds, has vowed to take ITV to court over millions of pounds in lost royalties. It comes as Dee claims her stepfather Gerry Anderson undervalued the puppet series when he decided to sell the TV rights in 1962.

Dee, 68, said the deal was fruitful for the TV company, who made”’millions of pounds” from it.

However, she claims the sale left her family, including her mother and co-creator of Thunderbirds Sylvia, out of pocket.

Dee said: “I want retrospective action over the deal. ITV made millions of pounds from something my mother helped create but she’s received barely anything.

“She was kept out of any negotiations purely because she was female and never got the recognition she deserved,” she added to the MailOnline.

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson were the creators behind Thunderbirds’ global rise to fame.

The success of the show sparked several spin-off series including Captain Scarlet.

Sylvia voiced the show’s iconic character Lady Penelope and was the creative thinker in the team, while Gerry used his technical brilliance to make the show a success and also took charge of the business side.

Gerry sold the rights to ATV, which went on to become ITV, in 1962 for £110,000, despite being inundated with bigger offers elsewhere.

 

He later sold the rest of their production firm AP Films to British production company ITC and ATV for just under £15,000 in 1975.

Gerry’s business move came just after his reportedly bitter split from Sylvia, selling the firm without her consent. 

The former couple finalised their divorce in 1981.

Gerry lived comfortably in Oxfordshire with his third wife, while Sylvia was forced to remortgage her house in Bray, Berks, due to being short on money.

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Sylvia’s daughter Dee has also claimed her mum was not credited on any further Thunderbirds-related material to “airbrush” her from the show’s history. 

Dee’s lawyer told the publication that they want the deals investigated because, they argue, Gerry didn’t have the authority to sell the TV rights without Sylvia’s consent. 

Dee also said MP Lisa Cameron is going to raise her complaints against ITV in Parliament to gather support and encourage ITV to look into the origins and morality of the deals, as she claims she has been ignored by the broadcaster so far.

Dee explained: “I first came across this when the 1975 contract surfaced in 2013 and my mother’s name had a line through it which Gerry’s had marked with his initials. That’s when I suspected something wasn’t right.

“She was the creative force and most people know that in the industry, and now suddenly she’s not there.

“People come up to me and say you’re Gerry Anderson’s daughter but they don’t mention her.”

Discussing her belief that Sylvia was a victim of “sexism” in the industry, Dee said: “My mother was a pioneer of women in television, she was one of the first and yet, they’re not valuing that. The whole deal was set up for Gerry who was part of an old boys’ network.

“My mother was totally creative so she didn’t really have a business head and wasn’t included in any of the conversations, but she could have been.”

Sylvia died in 2016, four years after Gerry’s death.

Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for ITV for comment.

An ITV spokesman said: “ITV has been engaged in a prolonged dialogue with Dee Anderson and her legal advisors over the course of the last three years or so.

“At all times we have sought to understand the basis for Dee’s concerns and provided responses to her and her legal advisors, and we remain open to continuing this dialogue.”

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