Thunderbirds are Go! Weta Workshop, Pukeko Pictures reinvent classic series

Thunderbirds are Go! Weta Workshop, Pukeko Pictures reinvent classic series

Weta Workshop and Pukeko Pictures have landed a plum of a job: a remake of Thunderbirds for ITV in the UK, 50 years on from its original TV debut.

They'll be co-producing Thunderbirds are Go!, a new children’s series set to debut in 2015.

There will be 26 half-hour episodes, created using a mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets.

ITV holds 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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The classic show followed the adventures of the Tracy family. Credit: ITV News

Richard Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, had this to say: "Thunderbirds was a hugely influential television series in my childhood. Having watched it originally in black and white, it was only years later that I discovered the full and rich world that Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Derek Meddings, Mike Trimm and their team created.

"It is thrilling therefore to think we have the opportunity to work with ITV on this new series inspired by this most wonderful of British shows. 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.”

Andrew Smith, chief executive of Pukeko Pictures, said they were "thrilled to be associated with such an iconic brand, one that brilliantly encompasses family values, heroism and generosity".

With the catchphrase “Thunderbirds are go!”, the original show was created by Gerry Anderson – famous for its use of puppetry or 'supermarionation' – and his wife Sylvia in the 1960s.

It featured the exploits of the Tracy family, who ran an emergency rescue services, aided by London agent Lady Penelope and her butler, Parker.

In 1966, Thunderbirds was made into a major feature film, Thunderbirds Are Go, followed by a sequel two years later, Thunderbird 6.

Denise O Donoghue, ITV Studios UK managing director, said Thunderbirds was a highly respected brand.

“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 50 years.”

Head writer on the new series will be Rob Hoegee, whose credits include Ben 10, Generator Rex, Teen Titans and Slugterra.