Fifty years after the original series first went to air, ITV is to broadcast a new series of the popular show.
Twenty six half-hour episodes have been commissioned by the British company - and it will be made by Kiwis.
New Zealand-based, Pukeko Pictures, is co-producing the television series in collaboration with the Weta Workshop, which worked on King Kong, Avatar and Lord Of The Rings.
‘Thunderbirds’ was originally devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson using a form of marionette puppetry dubbed "Supermarionation". The series followed the adventures of International Rescue, a secretive organisation created to help those in grave danger using technically advanced equipment and machinery launched from its hidden Tracy Island base.
The 32 part series focused on the head of the organisation, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, and his five sons who piloted the "Thunderbird" craft. Its London agent, international socialite, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, and her Cockney butler/chauffeur Aloysius "Nosey" Parker, also make frequent appearances.
The main characters' looks were modelled after prominent actors. Jeff Tracy was modelled after Lorne Greene of Bonanza fame, Alan after Robert Reed, Scott after Sean Connery, and John after both Adam Faith and Charlton Heston.
The science fiction series first broadcast in 1965 and 1966 but ceased production in the autumn of 1966 after an unsuccessful trip to the U.S. to sell the programme.
According to British newspaper, The Independent, a Thunderbirds feature film in 2004 was dismissed by Anderson as “the biggest load of (rubbish) I have ever seen in my life”. The movie plot sidelined the main characters and it was poorly received by critics, fans and at the box office.
Gerry Anderson died in December at the age of 83 but two years before his death, he endorsed the new television series.
The Independent says Richard Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, is “looking forward to designing and creating an inspirational world that will engage the imagination of a whole new generation as it did for us nearly half a century ago.”
- Newstalkzb/RBG News