The classic British TV series Thunderbirds is set to return fifty years after it first graced television screens, with ITV announcing that it has placed an order for 26 half-hour episodes of Thunderbirds Are Go! to air in 2015. The new series will be co-produced by New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, the visual effects company whose credits include The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin and The Hobbit.
Created by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, Thunderbirds first aired in the UK between 1965 and 1966 and centred on the adventures of International Rescue, an emergency response team led by former astronaut Jeff Tracy and consisting of his five sons. While Thunderbirds was famous for its marionette puppetry, the new show will jettison the ‘Supermarionation’ style in favour of a unique blend of live-action model sets and CGI characters.
“Thunderbirds is a highly respected brand that continues to hold recognition around the world,” said ITV Studios UK managing director Denise O’Donoghue. “This cult series is often credited as changing the history of animation and action-adventure, and we look forward to taking the show to another level while retaining the much-loved heritage that has endured over the past fifty years.”
Thunderbirds Are Go! won’t be the first of Anderson’s Supermarionation shows to receive a CG update from ITV, with Anderson himself producing a ‘Hypermarionation’ CG-animated reboot of Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons, Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlett, which ran for 26 episodes in 2005.