Thunderbirds 2005

Jeremy Briggs’ earlier post about the Blackpool Illuminations Thunderbird 3 auction reminds me of a web find I made before Christmas, but forgot to post here. Do’h!

Back in 2005, plans were afoot to revive Thunderbirds – again as a puppet show. David Freedman, a multi-skilled director with comedy experience in both live action and animation, was one of the people involved, as its Executive Producer and recalls the project “was one of the greatest and most heart wrenching moments in my career.

“I nearly cried when I landed the gig. It is truly a boy’s dream come true.’

Freedman, now Senior Manager of Development, Global Original Programming at the UK Disney Channel, was determined to make the new show with puppets, and has posted several images from the test work done on the proposed series on his blog, including the design for Thunderbird 2 by David Warren, who worked on the Lost in Space and Sky Captain films (above).

“I felt passionately about doing it again with puppets,” he argues on his blog. “Why? Well, there was, and still is something magic about working with puppets. My logic is that even a sock puppet is magic, but a CG sock puppet is one step removed from being well… er, Kermit.

“Could you imagine a CG Kermit The Frog on Telly? It would simply feel odd. Besides, you can’t replace the thrill of seeing real things blow up! A CG explosion is good. But a real bang is worth its buck.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Freedman, whose credits include Legend of the Dragon and the animated show King Arthur’s Disasters, continues. “CGI works a treat in the Cinema, for the same reason that Stand Up Comedy works in a club and not on TV. If you’re not distracted and the room’s dark, one man with a microphone or indeed, a bunch of pixels can transport you to another place… but on telly, the smallest distraction and whamo, you’re out making a cup of tea. Sorry.”

This new Thunderbirds series was to have coincided with the release of the live action film, but Freedman says the merger between Granada and Carlton (in which Carlton was sort of swallowed whole) “put the kibosh on the whole thing”.

• You can view the trailer that was put together here (Quicktime).

Categories: British Comics


1 reply

  1. Perhaps the release of the Thunderbirds 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Megaset of DVDs will renew interest in this project? That would be excellent!

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