Thunderbirds being remade by Weta Workshop

By Paul Harper

Puppets from the original Thunderbirds television series. Photo/supplied
Puppets from the original Thunderbirds television series. Photo/supplied

New Zealand's Weta Workshops and Pukeko Pictures are to work with ITV Studios on a new series of Thunderbirds - 50 years on from when the iconic children's show first aired.

The series, given the working title Thunderbirds are Go!, will be produced using a both CGI animation and live-action model sets.

It will screen on ITV and UK's CITV Channel in 2015.

"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," ITV said in a statement.

"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."

Richard Taylor, co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, said the original show was hugely influential on his 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," Mr Taylor said.

"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: "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."

- nzherald.co.nz

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