The UK’s ITV Studios is teaming with New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop to co-produce Thunderbirds Are Go!, an update of the classic kids series that debuted in 1965. Twenty-six half hours have been ordered for air on ITV and CITV in the UK in 2015. The original Thunderbirds was created by Gerry Anderson, who passed away in December. Although it aired for just two seasons on ITV in the 60s, it became an international sensation. In syndication, the high-tech tales of adventurers rocketing around the world to fight evil-doers became a staple of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon programming in the U.S. The series also spawned feature films and inspired South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police.
The new series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets while also paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from Anderson’s original. Thunderbirds Are Go! will see the return of the five brave Tracy brothers as they pilot their incredible vehicles into impossible rescues across the globe. Estelle Hughes is exec producing for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. Read More »
Gerry Anderson, creator of UK television series Thunderbirds and other marionette and live-action shows, died today in a nursing home near Oxfordshire, England. Anderson had suffered from Alzheimer’s since 2010, and his condition had recently worsened significantly, his son Jamie wrote on his website. Anderson was 83. Although Thunderbirds aired for just two seasons on Britain’s ITV after debuting in 1965, it became an international sensation. In syndication, the high-tech tales of adventurers rocketing around the world to fight evil-doers became a staple of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon kids programming in the U.S. Anderson’s first work with puppets was Granada TV’s The Adventures of Twizzle, about a doll that could “twizzle” his arms and legs to greater lengths. Anderson and his associates developed a technique that became known as Supermarionation. The system used audio signals from recordings of the actors’ voices to trigger electronics in the puppets’ heads that enabled synchronization of dialogue with the puppets’ lip movements. Anderson’s other productions included Space: 1999, UFO, The Day After Tomorrow, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, Supercar and Fireball XL5, but he was best known for Thunderbirds. Read More »