The UK’s ITV Studios is teaming with New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop to co-produce Thunderbirds Are Go!, an update of the classic kids series that debuted in 1965. Twenty-six half hours have been ordered for air on ITV and CITV in the UK in 2015. The original Thunderbirds was created by Gerry Anderson, who passed away in December. Although it aired for just two seasons on ITV in the 60s, it became an international sensation. In syndication, the high-tech tales of adventurers rocketing around the world to fight evil-doers became a staple of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon programming in the U.S. The series also spawned feature films and inspired South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police.
The new series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets while also paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from Anderson’s original. Thunderbirds Are Go! will see the return of the five brave Tracy brothers as they pilot their incredible vehicles into impossible rescues across the globe. Estelle Hughes is exec producing for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, Slugterra) is head writer. ITV’s Denise O Donoghue said today, “Thunderbirds is a highly respected brand that continues to hold recognition around the world. This cult series is often credited as changing the history of animation and action-adventure, and we look forward to taking the show to another level while retaining the much-loved heritage that has endured over the past fifty years.” ITVSGE will handle worldwide rights for the new series.