Rubbing shoulders with a host of previews for new and continuing drama for a wide range of companies, the latest MIPCOM Preview from World Screen includes a number of comments on the new Thunderbirds Are Go! series, launching next year on ITV and which will have a preview screening at MIPCOM Junior in Cannes, France next month.
“There is already so much anticipation for the show since we started to unveil its development and production earlier this year,” notes Dan Gopal, the executive VP of EMEA distribution and global digital partners at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, “both with commercial partners and fans of the original 1960s show.”
“We’ve been working with a very talented writer and producers from Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop to bring Thunderbirds Are Go! to screens in 2015,” enthuses Maria Kyriacou, managing director of ITV Studios GE. “We will be screening the first completed episode on Saturday night at MIP Junior.
“We’ve been working hard to create a very unique look and feel to the show by combining a CGI overlay of characters, crafted into live-action model sets. They are just gorgeous.
“Everybody involved has been careful to preserve the best elements of the original,” Kyriacou insists. “Our voice cast is top notch, too, with Rosamund Pike as Lady Penelope and the original Parker, [Aloysius] David Graham, returning.”
Kyriacou also gives a mention to top British toy maker Vivid, who were appointed master toy partner for the new show in Europe, Australia and New Zealand last year, a range expected to launch in 2015 alongside the premiere of the new series – 50 years after Thunderbirds, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, first debuted.
Toy News noted back in March 2013 that Vivid, Britain’s biggest toy company and the 20th biggest toy company in the world, who have a long association with the Gerry Anderson shows, have a series of Thunderbirds are Go! toys in the works, including figurines and vehicles, diecast models, role play and dress up, construction, board games and puzzles.
Vivid started making toys in 1993, and their first big hit was Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, which became the top selling boys toy for Christmas that year.
“We are delighted to be partnering again with ITVS GE on Thunderbirds as master toy partner,” said Paul Weston, CEO of Vivid when the news of the partnership broke. “The collective expertise of ITVS GE, Pukeko Pictures, Weta and Vivid make this a compelling must-have toy line for our retail partners across the world.”
Trudi Hayward, SVP global merchandising at ITVS GE, added: “Vivid’s position as a leading international toy manufacturer and familiarity with the iconic Thunderbirds brand makes the company the perfect toy partner for the new series.”
“There are a lot of possibilities,” says Kyriacou of other tie-in merchandise for the show. Unfortunately, there’s still no confirmation of a tie-in comic, but with Egmont publishing a range of Classic Thunderbirds titles this year, they must be in the running – we can confirm Titan Comics isn’t.
“Other merchandising conversations are happening right now,” she reveals. “We are conscious of how children are turning more to virtual toys and games, and the need to ensure the show lives and breathes in a digital world.”
Along with the Thunderbirds Are Go! series, ITV is also producing a Making of documentary about the new series. There’s some information on that here on the ITV Studios GE web site.
Egmont’s publishing plans for this year include five Classic Thunderbirds strip collections – Volume Two was released last month – note books and other Gerry Anderson titles.