Thunderbirds are Go – Again!

A re-imagining of the classic 1960s TV series Thunderbirds is in the works from the man who originally co-created the show – Gerry Anderson.

With the launch of a new set of Royal Mail stamps celebrating the work of Gerry Anderson, the 81-year-old producer has been conducting interviews about his work and told Radio 5 Live a new show was finally in the works.

The new Royal Mail stamps
celebrating the genius
of Gerry Anderson

Fan club Fanderson confirmed Gerry had finalised a deal to make a new series, with Gerry revealing that he has signed a non-disclosure agreement for the time being.

“I don’t want to sound conceited,” Gerry told Radio 5 Live, “but because I’m going to make it…I’m confident that it will be a smash hit!”

The news has been picked up by media as diverse as the Daily Telegraph and Ain’t It Cool News.

Gerry has long wanted to re-imagine Thunderbirds, but rights issues apparently prevented this for some time, so instead he re-worked another of his Supermarionation series, Captain Scarlet, into a gritty CGI show, first broadcast in 2005. It had a mixed reception, perhaps in part due to a decision to re-design all the original show’s iconic vehicles such as the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle and Angel Interceptors – but many praised its scripts and delivery.

The design for Thunderbird 2
by David Warren

Thunderbirds was brought to the big screen as a live action movie in 2004, directed by Star Trek‘s Jonathan Frakes, but was panned by critics.

In 2005, plans, as noted on our Gerry Anderson links page, were afoot to revive the show – again as a puppet show. Showrunner and director David Freedman (whose credits include the highly successful Legend of the Dragon and animated comedy series King Arthur’s Disasters starring Rik Mayall and Matt Lucas) was one of the people involved.

Brought in to create a new vision for modern puppet relaunch, Freedman says the goal was to bring the series up to date, but stay true to the magic of the original series. “Redesigned, reworked, re cast, re everything!

The 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”.

“It ws the best show never made,” he enthuses on his current web site.

• Gerry was also interviewed about his career for BBC1’s The One Show this week You can listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer (begins playing at about 8 minutes – available for the next week)

Categories: British Comics

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1 reply

  1. Seems there may still be some obstacles in the way of this project – ITV Studios owns the rights to Thunderbirds and The Guardian ( reports today that an ITV spokesman said: “There is nothing we can discuss currently but obviously Thunderbirds is a hugely important property in our portfolio and we are delighted to be working with the Royal Mail to celebrate the phenomenal work of Gerry Anderson.”

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