ITV Studios is to re-invent the Classic Thunderbirds series 50 years on from its first television debut.
ITV Studios and New Zealand based Pukeko Pictures, in collaboration with world-famous Weta Workshop (Avatar, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings) are to co-produce Thunderbirds are Go! (working title) a 26 x 30’ major new children’s series set to debut on ITV and UK’s CITV Channel in 2015.
This re-invention of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s iconic series will be produced using a unique mix of CGI animation and live-action model sets. Showcasing Pukeko Pictures’ and Weta Workshop’s ground-breaking creative and technical excellence, it will deliver a whole new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience, whilst also affectionately paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the classic series.
Featuring the world’s most famous family of heroes, International Rescue, Thunderbirds are Go! will blast the five brave Tracy brothers back on to television screens piloting their incredible vehicles into impossible rescues across the globe.
Thunderbirds are Go! will be executive produced by Estelle Hughes for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. The series head writer is Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, Teen Titans, Ben 10, Slugterra.)
Thunderbirds are Go! is commissioned by Jamila Metran, Head of Programming for CITV, and is currently in pre-production.
Denise O Donoghue, Managing Director ITV Studios UK, comments: “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.”
Jamila Metran, Head of Programming for CITV, adds: “Thunderbirds Are Go! will be a hugely exciting new show for the CITV audience. We’re delighted to be working with ITV Studios and the talented teams at Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, whose success and innovation is renowned across the film and television industry. 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.”
Richard Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, says: “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, CEO of Pukeko Pictures, adds: “Pukeko Pictures is focussed 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. We are very proud to partner with ITV Studios to create a new era of Thunderbirds.”
ITV Studios Global Entertainment retains worldwide rights to the Thunderbirds brand and is the global distributor for the Thunderbirds Are Go! television series and consumer products.
ITV Studios is a global network of content development, distribution and production centres.
ITV Studios UK is the largest and most successful commercial production company in the United Kingdom, creating over 3,500 hours of original programming each year across a wide range of genres – from drama and entertainment, to factual and lifestyle.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Part of ITV Studios, ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE), is one of the world’s leading international TV distribution and consumer products businesses, distributing content across all genres, from both its in-house production business and from leading producers from around the world. The Consumer Products division brings together Home Entertainment, Promotions, Licensing and Publishing under one umbrella, partnering to more than 200 licensees worldwide.
About Pukeko Pictures
Pukeko Pictures is an independent entertainment production company focused on the development and production of excellent quality multi-platform entertainment for a global audience. Pukeko Pictures was formed in 2008 by Sir Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Martin Baynton, and is located in Wellington, New Zealand. With a connection to the world famous Weta Workshop (Avatar, King Kong, Lord of the Rings), Pukeko Pictures is uniquely positioned in the creation of world-leading entertainment, harnessing the best in global talent and world-class production processes. Weta Workshop is not to be confused with Weta Digital, the VFX company owned by Peter Jackson.