LAVENDER CASTLE - PART IV: ELATION AND DISAPPOINTMENT
If you haven't read parts one to three yet, you can find them by clicking below:
Part I: How I met Gerry Anderson
Working with Gerry was a pleasurable experience for multiple reasons. I had heard that he was a well focussed man, who would not suffer fools gladly – I assume that he did not consider me a fool because we managed to work together, under the customary production pressures, without a harsh word between us for the two years of Lavender Castle.
I considered it a great honour to have the legendary Gerry Anderson produce the TV show that I had devised, but more than that, hardly anything of my concept was changed! This is truly unusual in the world of film and TV. In short, financing means interference, but Gerry saw to it that my original enthusiasm was not dampened by the stream of individuals wanting to put their own stamp on the show. Gerry had warned me of this well in advance, stating also that if anyone obstructed my work they stood a good chance of being fired!
THE GUARDIAN - SIDE AND FRONT VIEW (PENCIL)
CAPTAIN THRICE CONFRONTS THE GUARDIAN (SCREENSHOT)
LYCA AT WORK (PENCIL)
SAME BACKGROUND (SCREENSHOT)
THE DANK'S HUT (PENCIL)
THE DANK'S HUT (SCREENSHOT)
HOUSE IN THE POD (PENCIL)
HOUSE IN THE POD (SCREENSHOT)
THE CUTTING SNARK HOLD/DUNGEON (PENCIL)
THE CUTTING SNARK HOLD/DUNGEON (SCREENSHOT)
I enjoyed watching my characters transform from 2D drawings to fully animated stop-motion models via the brilliant Mackinnon & Saunders and Cosgrove Hall Films. I would wander around at Cosgrove Hall checking on the sets being built, including the amazing work on the Paradox interior.
Not all of Lavender Castle was stop-motion, Steve Weston did the computer generated animation and built cg models of The Paradox, The Dark Station, The Mammoth Machine, The Cutting Snark and so on. It was great to see everything put together in front of my very eyes! And, of course, to hear my characters speak and interact.
NOT SURE HOW TO CAPTION THIS ONE, OTHER THAN MY SON YENDOR ENJOYED BEING ON SET!
I learned a lot about the business from Gerry, who, with his wife Mary, became good friends. On occasions I would take my son Yendor to their home where he and a young Jamie Anderson would give their video games consoles a good thrashing! Gerry also came several times to my house in North Wales where on one occasion his car slid off the snowy half mile track to the house – all good fun!
GERRY ANDERSON TALKS TO 'THE TIMES', NOVEMBER 16, 1998
GERRY ANDERSON INTRODUCES THE SHOW TO 'THE FUNDAY TIMES' (THE SUNDAY TIMES SUPPLEMENT), NO 486, JANUARY 3, 1999
All twenty six episodes of Lavender Castle were screened by CITV commencing 7th January 1999 and quickly earned good ratings and reviews. The show was sold and broadcast internationally, however, not so in the United States (at that time they were not keen on taking British productions with British dialogue), but still things looked good with talk of subsequent series and a movie.
THE CREW OF THE PARADOX
Then, Warner Brothers took an interest and I believe a contract was tabled, but for some bizarre reason Carrington signed it over to Hit Entertainment - with dire consequences. Momentum was lost. There was no merchandising (a great disappointment for me, as I had designed everything to translate to toys, etc.) Then, no second series! No Movie! At a final meeting we demanded an explanation and got none - I witnessed the "mild mannered" Gerry Anderson blow his top in no uncertain fashion! A mystery surrounds the demise of Lavender Castle to this day. I believe it was bought by Classic Media and in turn by Dreamworks. Now though, it is apparently in the hands of NBC Universal.
Gerry and I continued to enjoy our friendship up until the time of his death, but we failed to find homes for the other projects we had worked upon – ‘Christmas Miracle’, ‘Regor The Rescue Dog’, and ‘Thunderbolt’. In the course of our creative endeavours we would meet to discuss the various properties in hand, with one such meeting standing out in my memory for different reasons:
We had decided to meet half way at the car park of the "Little Chef" and services on the A5 at Oswestry. We exchanged some materials, including design work I had done, when Gerry randomly remarked:
“I’m looking to buy a replacement car for Mary [his wife], not too big, but perhaps a tad "nippy"! How does that go” he asked, gesturing towards my newly delivered perk from the proceeds of Lavender Castle – a Subaru Impreza turbo.
“Get in,” I said, “I’ll give you a quick drag up the road”.
The road was quiet and I managed to exceed the speed limit by a considerable margin by the time we came to the first roundabout where I intended to ‘U’ turn. I shot around said roundabout with great commitment, noticing with some amusement Gerry’s face flattened against the passenger side window. Then, I floored it again and in next to no time we were back in the "Little Chef" car park. There was silence for a few seconds (in which our nostrils inhaled the smell of overworked rubber) followed by the words:
Shame about the contract, such a bummer. A full CG Feature Length Film, just based on your style would be Amazing. Still waiting for a studio to come to their senses one day. Super interesting read!
Who owns the copyright now?