When ITV announced last year that they were intending to relaunch Gerry Anderson’s beyond-seminal 1960s supermarionation adventure series Thunderbirds as a new CGI series for CITV, Anderson fans rolled their eyes and muttered ‘yeah, right…’ as they continued to try to blot out the memory of the disastrous, misbegotten 2005 feature film version. Hopes continued to fail to rise when Jamie Anderson, son of the late Gerry who passed away last Boxing Day, announced that the new series would have no involvement whatsoever from his new Gerry Anderson production company which is planning to bring to life some of Gerry’s unproduced, previously-unseen scripts and projects.
It now seems, though, that Anderfans can breathe a sigh of relief as ITV has hauled in some top-notch behind-the-scenes talent to bring this new debac…sorry, exciting series to the screen. Apparently the “new series” which is “currently in production” will be the work of head writer Rob Hoegee, whose previously credits include Slugterra and Generator Rex, with David Scott - LEGO Star Wars as director and Theo Baynton (The WotWots… what???) as ‘episodic director’. Not exactly Russell T Davies or J.J. Abrams, we trust you’ll agree…
We’ll grudgingly admit that things look a little perkier on the ‘voice artist’ front as there are some decent names on board including one 1960s-era Anderson favourite. Here’s more from the Press release issued by ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures (?)…
“Rosamund Pike to play Lady Penelope and original cast member David Graham reprises his role as Parker.
Fifty years after its television debut the iconic series is back in production featuring a talented cast led by Rosamund Pike (The World’s End, Gone Girl) as Lady Penelope and David Graham (Thunderbirds 1965) reprising his role as chauffeur and International Rescue agent Parker.
Debuting on ITV in 2015 this re-invention of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's much-loved series will be produced using an innovative mix of CGI animation and live-action miniature sets.
Unstoppable inventor Brains will be voiced by Kayvan Novak (Fonejacker, Facejacker) whilst Tracy brothers Gordon and John are both played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who). Rasmus Hardiker (Saxondale, Lead Balloon, Cockneys Vs Zombies) has been cast as both the youngest and oldest Tracy brothers Alan and Scott. The fifth Tracy brother, Virgil, will be played by David Menkin.
Tracy Island matriarch Grandma Tracy is voiced by Sandra Dickinson (Amazing World of Gumball, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and master villain The Hood played by Andres Williams (M.I. High, Foyle’s War).
Plus Thunderbirds Are Go! will feature new characters including Kayo, the Tracy brothers’ friend and fellow island resident, who will be played by Angel Coulby (Merlin, Dancing on the Edge) and Colonel Casey voiced by Adjoa Andoh (Invictus, Doctor Who).
Giles Ridge, Executive Producer, Thunderbirds Are Go! said: “Each member of the cast has brought a brilliantly fresh and unique approach to these wonderful characters. I can’t think of anyone better than Rosamund to bring back to life the fabulous Lady Penelope and we are honoured that David Graham has joined the cast to revisit his role as Parker.”
Rosamund Pike commented: "I’m very excited to bring Lady Penelope’s wry wit and taste for adventure to a new generation. Exploring the scenes with David Graham has been an absolute delight. The scripts are very modern, very fresh and very funny. We’re all eagerly anticipating our next stint in the recording studio!"
David Graham, playing Parker, added: “I am triple chuffed to be on board the new series of Thunderbirds Are Go! and reprising my role of dear old Parker with such a distinguished cast. My driving skills are in good nick and I am delighted to be behind the wheel again with M’Lady. Cheerio!”
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.”
Bitter experience - that damned Thunderbirds film again - has taught us that a Gerry Anderson project without an Anderson creatively attached to it can only lead to disappointment, anguish and eventually blind fury. The voice talent on board is impressive but it remains to be seen what the geniuses behind Slugterra, LEGO Star Wars and the WotWots can bring to one of the most beloved and iconic TV shows ever made. Or what further damage they can do to it…
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