At Home With Candy, Andy and the Bearandas, A Terrifying Children’s Comic From 1966

Devised by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, this weird family lived for a year in rural England

In 1966, Candy and Andy lived with their parents, Mr and Mrs Bearandas above a toy shop in a typical English village called Riverale, going about the place in their rainbow-striped Mini. For a year, their everyday lives were documented in 154 comic books ( ‘the comic full of fun and magic’), many hard-backed annuals, longer story books for young readers and much merchandise.




This family of two clothed, tall panda bears and their life-sized, human children was created by Gerry Anderson (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012), known for his ‘supermarionation’ (marionette puppets containing electric moving parts) TV shows Thunderbirds, Stingray, Joe 90, and Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons. Anderson hoped that “Candy would be the basis for high quality children’s books for forever and a day.”

To add to the sense of readers observing something real, the four characters were photographed, rather than drawn. They fly kites, ride bikes and horses, and go on picnics. They meet real humans, who like the unblinking Candy and Andy never bat an eyelid at the sight of this unconventional family. But at no point do we find out how they came to live together. Paddington, arguably the most famous British bear, had a backstory that explained how he came to live in a house in England. But we’re none the wiser as to why Candy, Andy and the Bearandas lived together.

And it all becomes unsettling, a tale of creepy dolls more akin to The Village of the Damned, the 1960 film adaptation of John Wyndham’s terrifying The Midwich Cuckoos, Morton Bartlett’s family of homemade children or David Lynch’s sitcom about rabbits living with a fearful mystery than a fun puppet show like Sesame Street.



Alan Dein spoke with Anderson and the comic’s photographers, Doug Luke and Roger Perry, and learned that photographs on large format transparencies had survived. They appeared at exhibition at London’s Barbican in 1994, and in Dein’s book  Candy, Andy & The Bearandas (2023).





Candy-Andy-The-Bearandas breakfast


And a few from the show via Alan Dein’s site:




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