Take a trip back in time and rediscover a hidden gem from the Gerry Anderson archives with Candy, Andy & The Bearandas, a new book from Four Corners Books which gathers together imagery from Century 21 Productions' most surreal project.
Gerry Anderson's Century 21 Productions is responsible for some of the biggest children's series of the 1960s, with the likes of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons emerging from its studios and claiming their place in the cultural zeitgeist.
But for every hit series, there are also projects that are destined to remain something of an obscurity. Century 21 Productions is no exception, and in a new photo book from Four Corners Books, the highest quality transparencies from its short-lived photo strip Candy and Andy have been collected together and given a new lease of life.
If you've not heard of Candy and Andy before, you're not alone. Whereas International Rescue has been reimagined as a CGI series and a live-action film, these characters were quietly abandoned after just a year.
Unlike their studio stablemates, which featured puppet characters dealing with larger-than-life threats, Candy and Andy were much more down to earth. Telling the story of the titular Candy and Andy – a pair of life-size child mannequins – the photo strip series saw them going on adventures in the perfect English village they lived in.
No Gerry Anderson project is quite as straightforward as all that, though. Candy and Andy are no exception either, as they have somewhat unusual parents in the shape of Mr and Mrs Bearanda: a pair of Rupert the Bear-esque panda people who raise them in their quaint little cottage.
The resulting series of images in the photo strip resembles something of an inverted Sylvanian Families play set, where the creatures appear to be playing with a pair of plastic children. It's a novel idea, but the photos sit somewhere between the whimsical and the uncanny.
"Candy and Andy is such a strange and wonderful sixties time capsule combining offbeat creativity, captivating photography, an incongruous narrative, and material that, through a contemporary lens, often borders on the harrowing!" says Gerry Anderson's son Jamie in the book's foreword, and we can't disagree.
Perhaps it's the strange scale of the characters or the unsung bizarreness of how they try to carry on with domestic life as if nothing is unusual, but the whole set of images contains a distinct, slightly unnerving charm that's far removed from anything else Century 21 Productions ever put out.
Nevertheless, Candy and Andy are an intriguing pair that deserve some overdue attention. And in this photo book, the best of the surviving original transparencies are allowed to shine like never before.
Featuring images of the family as they drive their striped Mini, prepare for Bonfire Night or enjoy a boat ride, Candy, Andy, and the Bearandas are a time capsule of an innocent, dreamlike world that no longer exists. But thanks to these carefully restored images lovingly presented in a faux leather-bound hardback, you can at least now pay them a visit.
Candy, Andy & The Bearandas by Alan Dein is available from Four Corners Books now for £15.
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