Thunderbirds creator Sylvia Anderson expects the animation re-incarnation of the cult children series to take-off.

Anderson, and her late-husband Gerry, created and co-wrote the sci-fi series the Thunderbirds, which first aired in 1965, and is now being remade as a 26 part animation series in New Zealand.

Titled Thunderbirds Are Go!, which is also the name of the 1966 feature film based on the TV series, will feature CGI animation and live-action model sets.

The team behind the new series includes Oscar-winning Weta Workshop which worked on Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

Even though Anderson’s were the creative genius of the Thunderbirds, they did not retain any rights to the series. They are solely owned by the UK’s ITV Studios.

“They were very polite in discussing it with me even though I have no say,” Anderson told AAP from London.


“I’m pleased our version is still alive and it leaves it to be updated, and you have to ask if we were making it now what would we do to it, and in my mind they have done it really well.”

The Thunderbirds centres around the Tracy family, headed by widower Jeff Tracy, who forms the secret organisation International Rescue which is committed to saving lives.

Tracy’s five adult sons Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan are International Rescue’s only members.

Anderson has seen excerpts of the animation series and she also voices Lady Penelope’s great aunt, Secret Agent Sylvia, in the first episode which is due to air in April.

She’s been impressed with the updated appearance of all the characters but specifically her own creation Lady Penelope who will be voiced by Rosamund Pike (World’s End).

“The lead is perfect. She is really tall, elegant and beautiful in all respects,” Anderson said.


“Penelope was a different time and a different place and they’ve shown great respect for what we had done previously done.

“I haven’t seen the first episode yet but I may see it at the end of the week.”

Sylvia and Gerry Anderson’s “supermarionation” credits also include Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Fireball XL5.

She said she still owns about eight original puppets from all of their shows, including the Lady Penelope and Captain Scarlet which are kept in a vault and rarely seen in public.


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