All seemed to be going well ... until, a little later, I was summoned to Gerry's office to discuss commissioning terms with his partner, at what was then Anderson-Burr Pictures. The meeting did not go well, as I was unable to reach an agreement with Christopher Burr on several levels. I did not warm to his methods. I could see that Gerry was a tad embarrassed as I picked up my materials and left.
Determined not to give up on this opportunity, I decided that with or without Gerry Anderson I would conceive a children’s TV series through thick and thin, and believe me, there were subsequently large helpings of thin!
It’s not often that a scenario comes practically ready-made into my mind, but in this instance I had barely seated myself at my drawing board and assembled my pad, pencils, etc., when the lyrics to a tune I had written for my band Squidd back in 1971 popped into my mind. The song was titled 'Lavender Castle'. The genre was cosmic adventure and the characters were right out of an idiosyncratic story for children. The following lyrics snippet, though highly embarrassing, gives a flavour of the concept:
Lavender Castle in the air, oh how I wish that we were there.
John Dory gate-house keeper smiles as he takes your sky-horse.
Lady Forget-Me-Not is stitching your honeysuckle gown.
Ultimately the names were changed and Lady Forget-Me-Not became Lyca (apparently not so much of a mouthful).
Before long I had made up a presentation portfolio complete with character designs, etc., and a synopsis. Below are some of the images contained in said portfolio:
ORIGINAL LAVENDER CASTLE LOGO (ABOVE)
SOME OF THE CAST (ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT - SPROGGLE, LYCA, ROGER, CAPTAIN THRICE, SHORT FRED LEDD AND DR AGON)
CHARACTER SKETCHES OF SHORT FRED LEDD (TOP LEFT AND BOTTOM LEFT) AND ROGER (RIGHT)
ISEMBARD DEFENDS THE SHIP (ABOVE)
THE PARADOX DOES A FLYPAST (ABOVE)
THE VILLAGE IN THE POD (ABOVE)
ISEMBARD ON A SKY-HORSE (ABOVE)
AN EARLY VERSION OF DR AGON'S MAMMOTH MACHINE (ABOVE)
THE PARADOX LANDING ON THE DECK OF THE CUTTING SNARK (ABOVE)
Now who could I approach with this baby?
A couple of years passed.
The telephone rang, it was Mary Anderson, Gerry's wife and business partner.
Well, apart from a very eager arm, I had a whole castle up my sleeve ...
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