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article imageITV studios to reboot 'Thunderbirds' with new series

By Andrew Ardizzi     Feb 5, 2013 in Entertainment
London - "International Rescue" will be returning to their Thunderbird rescue crafts after ITV Studios announced it would revive the classic 1960s children's TV series.
“Thunderbirds is a highly respected brand that continues to hold recognition around the world," ITV's Denise O'Donoghue told Deadline. "This cult series is often credited as changing the history of animation and action-adventure.”
The original series, created by Gerry Anderson, aired between 1965 and 1966, with 32 episodes having aired in the U.K., Ireland, Japan, the United States and Australia. The series was considered groundbreaking for its time through its use of "supermarionation," a form of marionette puppetry.
Thunderbirds followed the five Tracy brothers as they used their technologically advanced equipment -- including five high-tech vehicles -- to travel the world and help those in dire situations.
The new series, titled Thunderbirds are Go!, will depart from the classic puppetry used by Anderson and will rely on a mixture of CGI animation and live-action model sets to help tell the story of the "International Rescue" team as they travel the globe.
The Hollywood Reporter states the New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop have been tasked with bringing the new 26 half-hour episodes to life for a new audience, which are expected to begin airing on the United Kingdom-based CITV in 2015.
"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 and Weta co-owner Richard Taylor told The Hollywood Reporter.
Taylor will also work as Executive Producer, and will be joined by ITV Studios' Estelle Hughes and Giles Ridge, in addition to Andrew Smith from Pukeko.
“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," Smith told the Hollywood Reporter.
Jamila Metran, CITV's head of programming, considers the series a beloved British institution that has garnered significant international recognition, believing the network's audience will relish the chance to discover the new show 50 years after the original series first aired.
"We look forward to taking the show to another level while retaining the much-loved heritage that has endured over the past 50 years," O'Donoghue told the BBC.
Thunderbirds are Go! is currently in pre-production, while Rob Hoegee has been hired as the series' head writer.
Anderson, the creator of the original series, died Dec. 26, 2012 at the age of 83.
More about Thunderbirds, Thunderbirds are Go, Gerry anderson
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