Lavender Castle is a place of mystery and legend, fabled throughout the universe, a floating city of light, a place of peace, harmony and all the things that have ever been dreamt of. It is... See full summary »
The headquarters of B.I.S.H.O.P. are in the Centre Point building at the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road. An architectural icon of 1960s London, the building was deliberately kept empty by property tycoon Harry Hyams for ten years as its value soared from £5m to £20m while not being liable for taxes as it was unoccupied. Gerry Anderson obviously decided the ideal location for a secret intelligence office was an otherwise empty building. See more »
It seems to me that some of us have forgotten that Gerry Anderson's productions were originally aimed at *children*. A generation of confirmed adolescents have laid claim to 'Thunderbirds', 'Captain Scarlet', etc., with their SF elements and spectacular model work. When Mr Anderson decided on a change of pace with a whimsical espionage story people were baffled: "A Gerry Anderson show - starring a Model T Ford? What's that about?"
Well, don't forget the 60's was also the era of 'The Avengers', when England's green and pleasant land was full of power-mad eccentrics. It seems to me that Anderson combined elements of 'The Avengers' (off-the-wall spy stories in an apparently innocent setting) with the Father Brown character of GK Chesterton (unobtrusive village priest as super-sleuth). Father Unwin lives in an England of parish churches, tea on the vicarage lawn, and tree-lined country lanes free of traffic. He thinks getting 42 m.p.h. out of his Model T is cutting a dash. If anything I would like to know more about how he came to be involved in B.I.S.H.O.P.
The result was not (and is not) to everyone's taste, but it should not be dismissed just because it's different. The stories are not repetitive, although they do repeat the same elements. 'Thunderbirds' is repetitive: a huge disaster requires the fantastic equipment of International Rescue to save the day. Only the circumstances change: skyscraper, monorail, airliner. We saw the launch sequence of Thunderbirds 1 & 2 in every episode.
And in my opinion Stanley Unwin was a genius whose wordplay lay as much in the subtle association of ideas (a typewriter becomes a 'tripewriter', a trombone is a 'slideyhuff') as the simple scrambling of the words themselves. Read Unwin's 'House and Garbidge' or 'The Miscillian Manuscript' then John Lennon's books 'In his own write' and 'A Spaniard in the works' to see how influential he was (even those titles are 'Unwinesque'). He could also be extremely quick-witted and funny without resorting to 'Unwinese'. When, as 'Professor Unwin', he was asked about the castrati (male singers who were castrated to preserve their boyish voices) his reply was simple: "I'm not cut out for that sort of thing." Deep joy!
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