It’s just been announced that Gerry Anderson’s classic puppet series Thunderbirds has been re-licensed to Sci Fi Channel UK.
SCI FI has renewed its license for the 32-episode show, for launch in the spring, and has also taken two additional Gerry Anderson series: all 30 half hour episodes of the junior spy adventure series Joe 90 and the earliest Anderson colour series, Stingray.
New Gerry Anderson series-related merchandise inspired by Thunderbirds, Joe 90 and Stingray is also in development, for release next year.
The three series will broadcast from spring 2009 as part of the network’s primetime line-up.
Meanwhile, BBC Two will re-air Stingray: The Reunion Party at 4.00pm on 28 December, a special compilation episode first shown earlier this year utilising footage found in Japan.
The screening will be followed by the one-hour documentary All About Thunderbirds also screened earlier in 2008. In it, Anderson, together with the show’s cast, crew and fans, reflect back on the series and its legacy. The documentary will be followed by a screening of the Thunderbirds episode Attack of the Alligators.
Both Thunderbirds films are set for early morning showings on Channel 4 on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th, with another chance to catch Attack of the Alligators on New Year’s Day on BBC2.
The British TV activity comes as ITV Global gears up to relaunch the Thunderbirds consumer-products campaign next year and launch new products for Joe 90 and Stingray.
“Thunderbirds has been entertaining the world for decades and the trusted brand continues to deliver new and dedicated fans to all it touches, including consumer products — which currently features fashion, toys, Blu-ray DVD and gaming,” said Giles Ridge, the head of brand and product development at ITV Global Entertainment in a press release. “We’re looking forward to developing new and exciting licensing partnerships with Thunderbirds for 2009.”
As we reported earlier this month, the new merchandise includes collections of strips from the classic 1960s comics TV Century 21 and Lady Penelope, which are being published by Reynolds and Hearn in the UK.
• Thunderbirds fans may be interested in joining Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson fan club. More info: www.fanderson.org.uk