Gerry Anderson sadly passed away towards the end of 2012. A pioneer of UK genre TV, he’s perhaps best known for his Supermarionation shows, the ones that starred puppets from Four Feathers Fall through to The Secret Service.
And of these shows, the most popular and well remembered would be Thunderbirds, a grand-scale action adventure series that built on the popularity of James Bond and the ongoing space race. It brought me a lot of joy as a kid, watching repeated episodes with my Dad, so cheers, Gerry.
In America, I expect it’s probably known because of Team America: World Police, which parodied the show for an audience that pretty much didn’t know it.
There were 32 hour-long episodes of Thunderbirds made, which is actually a pretty good score for a British series. In 1966 the two year TV run was followed by the feature film Thunderbirds Are Go, named for one of the show’s catchphrases.
And with the addition of just a simple ! we now have the title of a TV remake.
Thunderbirds Are Go! is to be produced by ITV, who were – broadly speaking – the UK broadcaster behind the original show, and Pukeko Pictures, who are connected to Weta Workshop by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger.
The new show is to feature model sets and CG characters. The press release says:
Showcasing Pukeko Pictures’ and Weta Workshop’s ground-breaking creative and technical excellence, it will deliver a whole new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience, whilst also affectionately paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series.
We’re a couple of years plus from the show taking its bow on the CITV channel but I’ll be very curious to see what look this ultimately has. A good part of Thunderbirds‘ appeal was the artistry and skill involved in making it happen.
Here’s a little clip showing some of how the original Thunderbirds was put together.