Thunderbirds returns to TV screens

News Shopper: Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson died in December at the age of 83 Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson died in December at the age of 83

Thunderbirds is returning with a new TV series - 50 years after the cult show featuring the exploits of International Rescue first went on air.

Combining CGI (computer-generated imagery) animation and live-action model sets, Thunderbirds Are Go! will broadcast on ITV in 2015.

The series will "affectionately pay tribute" to the classic show, created by Gerry Anderson, who died in December at the age of 83.

Thunderbirds Are Go! will feature a "whole new level of action-adventure animation for today's audience", co-producer ITV Studios said, with the five Tracy brothers piloting their "incredible vehicles into impossible rescues across the globe".

Thunderbirds, created by Anderson and his second wife, Sylvia, was first broadcast in 1965.

With the catchphrase "Thunderbirds are go!" and featuring the secret emergency service run by the Tracy family, aided by London agent Lady Penelope and her butler, Parker, it enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s.

In 1966, Thunderbirds was made into a major feature film, Thunderbirds Are Go, which was followed by a sequel two years later, Thunderbird 6.

ITV Studios UK managing director Denise O Donoghue said: "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 50 years."

New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures is co-producing the TV series in collaboration with the Weta Workshop, which worked on King Kong, Avatar and Lord Of The Rings. ITV and children's channel CiTV will broadcast the new series, in the form of 26 half-hour episodes.

Anderson, famous for the use of "supermarionation", or the use of modified puppets, was also known for creating TV Shows Captain Scarlet and Stingray.

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