In 2013, ’14 and ’15 three interesting projects emerged:
In 2013 ITV made a new version of Thunderbirds called Thunderbirds Are Go (they own the rights of course). It was made with live action model sets and CGI characters courtesy of Weta Workshop. Initially 26 episodes were commissioned but towards the end of 2014 ITV added another 26. Quite a contrast to what Lew Grade did to Gerry! David Graham who voiced the original Parker returned to play the same part.
Meanwhile, in 2014 Gerry’s son Jamie launched a project to create a new puppet series called Firestorm. This was based on development work including a Japanese anime series carried out by Gerry before he died. Crowdfunded using Kickstarter, the pilot used puppets (with the same proportions as in Thunderbirds) and real model effects and explosions – no CGI! However, the show took advantage of developments in puppet technology and changes in film-making techniques so Jamie cleverly described Firestorm as being made in ‘Ultramarionation.’ The pilot was released via YouTube on 27 October 2018. According to their website, a series is in development.
In 2015, Stephen La Rivière took on a very interesting project, funded by Kickstarter, called Thunderbirds 1965. During the show’s period of great success, three audio recordings were released on vinyl records using the original voice artists. These recordings formed the basis of newly filmed episodes. The puppets were lovingly recreated – several were made for his superb 2014 documentary Filmed in Supermarionation. Sets and effects were made using the original techniques. Even better, the end unit at Stirling Road that previously occupied SFX stages 5, 6 and 7 was empty in the late summer and autumn of 2015 so the filming of these three episodes took place where some of the original episodes were made. All very exciting and congratulations to Stephen for carrying out this project. The DVD was only released to those who contributed funds but copies occasionally appear on eBay.