Just like the original, Thunderbirds Are Go looks set to gain a cult following in Japan, after news broke that the Tokyo-based production and distribution company, the Tohokushinsha Film Corporation has acquired the Japanese television and licensing rights for the new series.
Produced by ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures in association with Weta Workshop, Thunderbirds Are Go has proved a success here with its first block of 13 episodes now screening on ITV, with the first two episodes attracting a consolidated audience of 2.9 million viewers.
ITV reports the show regularly reaches the top of its time slot on ITV among kids and outperforms the channel average across all key demographics, while on CITV, the show exceeds the slot average and performs ‘exceptionally well’ among boys aged six to 11.
It has also gained strong ratings in Australia, screening on Nine Network’s GO! channel.
Tohokushinsha has a long history of supporting Thunderbirds in Japan dating back to the screening of the original series. It was also the company that produced Thunderbirds 2086, a 24-episode anime version based on the Thunderbirds made in the 1980s.
“We’re delighted to have Tohokushinsha Film Corporation on board as our broadcast and licensing partner for Japan,” said Steve Green, EVP kids for ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
“Tohokushinsha has been a fantastic ambassador for the Thunderbirds brand since 1966 when it introduced the original series to the Japanese market. Almost five decades on, we’re delighted to be extending our relationship with Tohokushinsha to bring this groundbreaking series to the legions of loyal Japanese Thunderbirds fans and new entrants who I’m sure will love the show as much as previous generations have before.”
A Thunderbirds Are Go magazine published by DC Thomson is expected to launch in October, when it is anticipated the second block of 13 episodes in the series first season will begin to air in the run up to Christmas.
• Thunderbirds Are Go screens on CITV and ITV and is available on ITV Player. Official site: http://thunderbirds.com
Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds Are Go © ITV Studios Global Entertainment