Typical. You go on holiday and just as you do, what happens? ITV release the first image from their new new Thunderbirds Are Go series. Of course, it would have ben great if they’d started with Thunderbird 5 and worked down, but let’s not be too churlish: aside from its stubby wings, Thunderbird 1 looks pretty much like the original, despite the fears of some when we featured the sneek peek of the design last September.
ITV are drip feeding imagery and information about Thunderbirds Are Go, its update of the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson-created show in the build up to the show’s launch next year. Aside from teaser videos, including this one, taken at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, information about the show, aside from the voice cast, is still thin on the ground, although we do know that the licensing program is running at full speed.
Thunderbirds Are Go will definitely be about half the running time of the original. “This will feel more dynamic,” says Giles Ridge, who is executive producing the show, alongside former CITV controller Estelle Hughes.
The new 26 x 30 minute series – aimed at 5-11s with a sweet spot of 6-9s and which recently made its first re-sale, to Australia’s Nine Network – will be a mix of CGI animation and live-action backgrounds. ITV Studios is working with New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures on the project and it’s expected a full episode will be ready in time to be screened at MIPCOM and MIPCOM Junior in October.
ITV are of course hoping that this time around, the show will gain a US deal, considered a “key priority”. TBI Vision reports that a failure to sell the original to America is cited among the reasons it was cancelled. Showrunner and lead writer Rob Hoegee is an experienced American-based action-adventure animation producer with credits including Teen Titans Go!, Slugterra and Generator Rex to his name. “He has an incredible track record in this space,” says Ridge.
There’s still no official word on whether a comic is in the works.