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    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    No strings attached - Thunderbirds are GO!

    Thunderbirds are go as TV series returns with a makeover after 50 years



    5,4,3,2,1 ... Thunderbirds are go – but not quite how older viewers will remember. International Rescue has been given a makeover for the modern age, with the Tracy brothers, Brains, Lady Penelope and Parker smarter, fitter and with better gadgets than they ever had when the “supermarionation” show began on ITV half a century ago.

    But fans fearful that its return, complete with Hollywood star Rosamund Pike voicing Lady Penelope, would trample all over their childhood memories can rest easy.

    Unlike the 2004 live action film which Thunderbirds creator, the late Gerry Anderson, described as the “biggest load of crap I have ever seen in my life”, the new take on the children’s favourite, called Thunderbirds Are Go, remains remarkably true to the spirit of the 50-year-old original.

    Gone are the puppet strings – audience research found that younger viewers wanted something more dynamic – but along with computer generated effects are models and miniature sets (“actually rather huge” said executive produce Estelle Hughes) that faithfully recall the original Thunderbirds.

    Speaking after the first screening of the new ITV series on Tuesday, executive producer Giles Ridge said: “We felt we should pay tribute to all those elements that made it special but at the same time update it so it’s suitable and compelling for a modern audience.

    “The basic DNA of the show – five young brothers on a secret hideaway island with the most fantastic craft you could imagine, helping people around the world who are in trouble, that’s not a bad place to start.”

    The theme music is intact, albeit given a 21st century makeover, as is the Tracy Island setting – complete with the avenue of palm trees that makes way for Thunderbird 2 and the swimming pool that slides into the mountain for the launch of Thunderbird 1

    Lady Penelope – as voiced by Pike – still has a cut glass accent and is entirely unflappable. When she is not saving the world she is visiting Buckingham Palace or going to receptions at 10 Downing Street. There is also a nod – blink and you miss it – to another Anderson puppet series, Stingray.

    David Graham, who voiced Parker in the original series, returns in the same role. “I think they were checking me out to see if I was still in one piece,” said Graham, now 89, of the meeting when he was first approached to appear in the new series.

    “I was absolutely thrilled to repeat the voice and character of Parker. Although I am older my voice hasn’t changed too much over the years.”

    He said the voice of Parker had come from a wine waiter who used to work in the royal household, whom Anderson had taken him to see in a pub in Cookham, Berkshire.

    “He came over and said, ‘Would you like to see the wine list, sir?’ And Parker was born. Thank you, old mate.”

    Brains, as voiced by Fonejacker star Kayvan Novak, now has an Indian accent. keeping with the pc policy of the media.

    Sylvia Anderson, Anderson’s widow, who co-created the show, will make a guest appearance as Lady Penelope’s “crazy aunt”.
    A new all-action female character Kayo is more a reimagining of Tin-Tin Kyrano from the original series, but there is no room for the Tracy brothers’ father, Jeff, who is missing, possibly at the hands of the dastardly Hood.

    Writer Rob Hoegee said the character remained a “huge presence” but he wanted the brothers and Kayo “to take a step forward and shine. Storywise it became less about what dad tells us to do than what would dad do. The absence of their father is hugely important as we move forward with the series”.

    Thunderbirds fan Frank Skinner, who was among the preview audience, said: “As soon as I heard the 5,4,3,2,1 in the original voice I suddenly felt I could relax into it. I think they did a great job of modernising it but with love for the original. The palm trees still go back but now you can see the hydraulics that make it happen.”

    John Whittingdale, the former culture, media and sport select committee chairman taking time out from campaigning to be re-elected as a Tory MP, and another Thunderbirds devotee, said: “I was worried they would ruin it and they haven’t. It is clearly made by people with huge affection for the show. Tin-Tin has changed a lot since the original but all the characters are there, right down to grandma’s cooking.”

    Aimed at an audience of 6- to 11-year-olds, ITV director of television Peter Fincham said the show had “all the values of the original series – heroism, bravery, ingenuity – and in every episode they have to save the world”.

    Thunderbirds Are Go will air on ITV this Saturday at 5pm, and then on CITV and ITV on Saturdays and Sundays



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  2. #2
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
    withnallstoke's Avatar
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    Good stuff, although i preferred Stingray, which i watched in hope of copping a flash of Aqua Marinas underwear.


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