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LONDON – New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Peter Jackson‘s Weta Workshop have been tasked with re-inventing the classic puppet children’s show Thunderbirds for a fresh generation of TV viewers.
The company is teaming with the U.K.’s ITV Studios to co-produce Thunderbirds Are Go!, an update of the classic 1960s cult kids’ show.
Twenty-six half-hours have been ordered for broadcast on ITV’s children’s channel CITV in the U.K. in 2015.
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The original Thunderbirds was created by Gerry Anderson, who died in December last year. Anderson made two seasons of his show, which aired on ITV in the 1960s, before it went on to international syndication.
The re-invention will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets.
Featuring the show’s family of heroes, International Rescue, Thunderbirds are Go! will see the five Tracy brothers back on TV screens piloting their Thunderbirds vehicles in rescues across the globe.
Thunderbirds are Go! will be executive produced by Estelle Hughes for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. The series head-writer is Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, Teen Titans, Ben 10).
Thunderbirds are Go! is commissioned by Jamila Metran, head of programming for CITV, and is currently in pre-production.
ITV Studios U.K. managing director Denise O Donoghue said: “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.”
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Metran added: “Thunderbirds is a much-loved British institution with significant global recognition, and our audience will relish this timely opportunity to discover the new series fifty years on.”
Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, said: “Thunderbirds was a hugely influential television series in my childhood. I personally, together with the teams here at Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, look forward to designing and creating an inspirational world that will engage the imagination of a whole new generation as it did for us nearly half a century ago.”
Pukeko CEO Smith said: “Pukeko Pictures is focused on high-quality value-based programming, and we are thrilled to be associated with such an iconic brand, one that brilliantly encompasses family values, heroism and generosity.”
ITV Studios Global Entertainment retains worldwide rights to the Thunderbirds brand and is the global distributor for the Thunderbirds Are Go! TV series and consumer products.
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