Lift-off for puppet master's last work
5:30am Monday 6th January 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
IT may have been losing money in the final week of its push for funding, but Gerry Anderson’s final project is finally on the verge of a big money publishing deal under the stewardship of an award-winning agent.
Gerry’s Gemini Force One is a series of books he began writing in 2008, but failed to finish as he dealt with rapidly worsening Alzheimer’s before his death aged 83 on Boxing Day in 2012.
Gerry is best remembered for his string-pupet based TV series in the 1960s, including Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet, and still has legions of fans.
His son Jamie, 28, of Hampton near Highworth, made it his mission to ensure all of his father’s creations saw the light of day.
Listed on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, where project creators set a goal and deadline, there were one or two nervous moments for Jamie in the final week as backers retracted ambitious bids.
“Four or five days before the deadline on October 5 last year we crossed the line with £24,350 pledged and then someone cancelled their pledge,” he said.
“The total kept going up and down. A lot of people had thought to do what they can initially, but when it looked like we were going to get the total, they were reducing their pledge.
“We ended up with over £33,000 after it went totally nuts in the final week.”
The single-biggest backer stepped forward in the final 45 minutes of the 30-day window, with £2,500 put forward. In return, the man was allowed to name one of the series’ main characters after his 18-month-old daughter – Addison Nicole Dyer.
As the venture entered its final days it attracted interest from some of the biggest players in the literary industry, according to Jamie.
With actors John Barrowman, Shane Richie and presenter Eamonn Holmes backing the project on Twitter, there were already publishers showing more interest, including Robert Kirby, Literary Agent of the Year in 2012.
Robert’s impact on Gemini Force One cannot be underestimated, said Jamie. His past clients include Anthony Horowitz, Rob Brydon, James Corden, Dawn French and Ricky Gervais.
“The literary agent has taken it to publishers and it has had some big interest,” Jamie said.
“He has made all the difference; as an individual or company with a story, the publishers are more sceptical.
“Our plans have already changed as a result of his impact. Initially, we were looking at getting a few thousand books printed and selling it as an e-book online. We’re now looking at a global release with the right deal.”
Dates for release are yet to be formalised, while Jamie, Robert and their team negotiate for the right deal with an array of publishers.
In the meantime, Anderson Entertainment has announced the launch of Andercon, the first annual convention for fans of Gerry Anderson.
The convention will take place across April 19 and 20 at the Park Inn Heathrow hotel with more than 40 guests from the cast and crew of every single Gerry Anderson production attending.
Tickets cost £45 per day and are available from www.andercon.co.uk.