Voice of 'Thunderbirds' character Lady Penelope dies aged 88

Sylvia Anderson co-created the show with her late husband Gerry

Sylvia Anderson, Thunderbirds, Lady Penelope, London, Gerry Anderson

1966 file photo dated of Sylvia Anderson and her Lady Penelope character at the Television Society Awards | Image: PA / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The voice of Lady Penelope in the cult 1960s TV series 'Thunderbirds' has died aged 88 following a short illness.

Sylvia Anderson co-created the hit puppet show with her late husband Gerry, along with a string of other children's classics, including 'Stingray' and 'Captain Scarlet'.

Her daughter, Dee Anderson, hailed her "a mother and a legend", who would be sadly missed.

She said: "Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way".

Born in London, Sylvia Anderson graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in economics and sociology before moving to the US.

On her return to the UK she joined a TV production company, where she met her future husband.

Together they created 'Thunderbirds', which featured the futuristic adventures of the Tracy family, who operated International Rescue.

The ground-breaking show pioneered the technique of 'Supermarionation', which made the puppets' lips move in time with the recorded dialogue.

The hit series went on to spawn a highly successful franchise, including two feature films and a toy empire.

Sylvia provided the aristocratic voice of the Lady Penelope character, which was also based on her own appearance.

The Andersons' creative collaboration continued up until they separated in 1975. They divorced in 1981.

She went on to work for the US TV network HBO in the UK and also wrote a number of books, including her autobiography 'Yes M'Lady'.

She also dedicated time to charity work, including Breast Cancer Care.

She leaves a daughter, Dee Anderson, a singer and songwriter, and a son, Gerry Anderson Junior, an anaesthetist.

She also had four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.