Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson says ITV has pretty well scuppered his plans to offer a CGI remake of the classic series - despite his insistence he can raise the £15m needed to bring the Tracy family back to the screen. Gerry Anderson and Lady Penelope. Pic: BBC Anderson, 80, told the Daily Mail he's engaged in "a bitter …
ITV version of thunderbirs
You have cameras following the funny antics of the Thunderbird 2 crew - preferably with one camp one .
You could have a competition to replace one of the crew each week with Simon Cowell criticizing their rescue attempts.
Or you could use Tracy island as the location for a competition of which contestant gets to date Lady Penelope.
Definitely, Thunderbirds is still magic, even after all these years. My young son likes watching it, and I can still describe the full plot of any of the episodes given a couple of meaningful seconds of it (i.e. not one of the standard Thunderbird launches).
Come on Grade, give him a chance.
Wot, no strings!
Sorry, it just wouldn't be the same without the strings, jerky movement, etc.
Grade's got form on this
In charge of the BBC, he tried to kill Doctor Who completely when anyone with half a brain knew that chucking a few quid at it and bringing in a decent writer along with a touch of 'Star Trek the Next Generation' production was all it needed to to successfully refresh. The fanbase alone would have been enough to recoup the investment if it wasn't able to reach a wider audience - which of course it did becoming one of the BBC's best revenue generators in recent years.
Gerry, if you're reading this, tell Grade to piss off, give the BBC a ring and tell them you want to do an updated reboot of UFO. Again, done properly, you're looking at another smash hit.
A shame but hardly surprising
ITV only want to produce cheap nasty reality TV and poor quality talent shows. They don't want anything else. They've said they're not interested in early evening family TV or children's TV. Withness the sudden and rather stupid cancellation of Primeval which was getting good ratings and was a very entertaining, if flawed, family show. My son is gutted it won't be on again esp. after leaving it on a cliffhanger.
I watched the Captain Scarlet remakes a few years ago. An excellent series but totally BF'd by ITV by putting it several parts spread throughout MoM hence not many people watched it, certainly not any adults. It would have made a perfect Saturday early evening family show. Much better than the endless repeats of YBF or X Factor or Britains Got Something Slightly Amusing that Certainly Isn't Talent.
ITV should at least give Gerry A the rights back. Mr. Grade has a lot to answer for.
Just do it
Go ahead Mr Anderson, who gives a fuck about some poxy 3rd rate commercial TV channel?
Is it the copyright that's an issue? Grief, I reckon Aardman or Dreamworks would jump at it!
Please, make it happen while Anderson and I are still alive. Fond, fond memories*. Expressions like "This contract's got more strings than the cast of Thunderbirds" will, natch, be irrelevant in a CGI version.
I still use chauffeur Parker's line when offering a girl a lift in a car....
"Ridin's better than walkin', M'Lady"
* Had to buy my 9-year-old son a video of "watch with mother" - Bill&Ben, Woodentops, Andy Pandy, etc so that I could show my son what era I grew up in.
Black and white, dammit.
here's a better idea gerry....
just re-run the originals, who the fuck wants a cgi version? the live action film was bad enough!
"...a CGI rehash of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons which first appeared...in 2005."
Yes, and we all know how craptacular that little escapade was.
...I want Primeval series 4....
come on ITV...
...before the firesale when some mid-Asian conglomorate sells off your assets do the right thing and give Gerry enough control of what was after all his creation and let him give it a go.
I for one rather enjoyed the Captain Scarlet CGI re-creation and it introduced my daughter to the whole (no pun intended) spectrum of Anderson creations (Space 1999 was probably her favorite, though I personally have a fondness for Dick Spanner)
CGI would be rubbish
...just like the CGI remake of Spitting Image.
Do it with puppets on the BBC and call it ThundaBirds to get down wit' da yoof and stuff ITV's hold on the name Thunderbirds :-)
Black Helicopter is Thunderbird 6...
Grade is the Muppet...
..that killed Dr Who.
If you've got the cash make it! call it 'team america world police' or something..
@Wot, no strings!
If they do it properly then the CGI animations would move as if they were controlled by strings ... when Dreamworks did the CGI bunnies in Aardman's Curse of the Were-rabbit they were careful to make them look like plasticine models complete with thumb prints on them
Gave us Thunderbirds, The Prisoner and the Muppet Show.
His nephew Michael, canned Dr Who and British Wrestling.
How the dynasties fail us
Rival to Doctor Who?
I always thought ITVs rival programme to Doctor Who was "The Tomorrow People".
Of course $ky.....
.....has a bunch of money to play with right now.
I bet Murdoch-o-vision management are (even now) thumbing out some fivers.
In fact, what am I saying? it will be perfect.
Children's TV advertising revenue (tick)
HD content with whizz bang visuals (tick)
Trusted ready-made brand (tick)
Can be sold onto their US overlords who will love it too (tick)
Guaranteed revenue income from subscription (tick)
Possible TV movie on-demand (tick)
And best of all, a kick in the face for ITV (double tick)
Perhaps a simple rename of the programme and the lead characters would get round any rights problems?
Countess CheesePiece and her Butler, Farter
Why bother with copyright?
F**K it, just go viral and offer a handshake from Gerry for the best you-tube posted fan-film remake of Chunderbirds? Two fingers to ITV from me (one from each hand)
Not the first time they've tried to go for a remake ?
Carlton TV were supposedly looking at this before the great ITV merger, but Granada proposed the new Captain Scarlet around the same time.
This is supposedly test footage - CGI and puppets:
Captain Scarlet was a bloody disaster, mostly because ITV put it on during "Ministry of Mayhem" on Saturday mornings, and worse, they moved it round the schedule so you had to record the enitre show. Even fast-forwarding through that tripe is enough to cause brain damage - especially the bits where they allowed the show's presenters to dress up as the characters.
During the first few episodes, they even put up those silly scrolly messages, usually at inappropriate moments... Captain Black's just shot someone in the face at point blank, and up pops "HAPPY BIRTHDAY KYLIE LUV MUM XXXX"
The biggest sins of all ? Bad timeslot, and NO advertising. I only found out it was on about halfway through the 1st season, after spotting a posting in a forum. For an encore, they then shifted the 2nd season to the now-defunct CITV Channel, average number of viewers: 70,000.
FAIL icon, for obvious reasons.
Next round of bidding?
When will the next round of franchise bidding coming up, or has that been killed off now?
If it's soonish, then surely that'll be the death of ITV as we know it as they won't have any cash to bid for franchise space again.
Their killing off of all but the cheapest to make TV possible surely can't fulfil a remit of a franchise to deliver a rounded schedule of quality programming?
Thunderbirds are go ... for private backing...
It would be awesome to see a Gerry Anderson backed CGI Thunderbirds. I'll happily pay for the entire series DVD set now before they make it!
The only way these days is to side line and totally bypass the control freaks like Michael Grade. They have lost their way. They are not producing television the majority of people want to watch and their job is ever more about corporate greedy and power struggles than it is about program making. Same with the film executives.
(Reality TV is cheap TV based on the human exploitation. E.g. how to make a reality show... (1) Exploit some attention seeking Histrionic Personality Disorders in a room in front of cameras then (2) throw in a few control freak, empathy lacking, Narcissistic Personality Disorders to stir up the mix to treat the HPDs unfairly to get the HPDs emotional (not difficult) ... then (3) film for 6 weeks and call it television). (4) profit.
Forget ITV. Please get private backing because as soon as any scifi show relies on any TV channel for support then TV exec's know they gain power over the show by threatening its survival, which is what they love doing as its gives them power to control and force for better profits out of shows. (See Fox for details).
The solution must surely be to go for private backing. Then sell the episodes to every other channel in the world combined with strong plans for DVD releases plus exploiting other revenue avenues such as product licensing for a new generation of toys as spin off products to pay for the shows. People love Thunderbirds. With the shear strength of the Thunderbirds fan base, surely someone (outside of TV companies) can see the huge business potential in backing a new series and spin offs.
ITV don't make good programs
If you can't phone in and vote out they're not interested.
Could not stand another re-imagining destroying my childhood memories.
Thanks for the video
I've just watched the video.
This isn't going to have the same effect on the British movie industry as original Thunderbirds did, but I can't see it being a flop. Captain Scarlet deserved better than the release it got.
The only thing is, original Thunderbirds is still getting shown.
Thunderbird 6 was actually a Tiger Moth biplane, so it predates black helicopters by some margin.
It was in a 1968 film of the same name.
@ Chris King
quite right, the scheduling was what scuppered The New Adventures of Captain Scarlet: I ended up torrenting* them once a nice person had removed all the surrounding drivel. It was bloody good too.
*polite note for the "downloading is teh theft" crowd: I now have the DVD box sets sitting on a shelf
an updated reboot of UFO....
Now there's a good idea. I always thought it was underrated and I'm still not sure I've actually seen every episode they made due to the bloody stupid way it got shipped around the Granada schedule when it first came out. I saw one episode for the first time only a couple of years ago!
As for M. Grade... imo he ruined C4, then the BBC (no Dr. Who (a guaranteed profit maker for goodness' sake), more Eastenders) and ITV appears to only be phone-in to make Simon Cowell rich (luckily I don't get it where I am). 2nd against the wall when the revolution comes.
Michael Grade is Evil
First Primeval, then this. Has ITV got no sense - The DVD rights of a properly executed Thunderbirds alone could probably justify the cost, as God Gerry seems to hint.
How many other "children's" TV series are still kicking about from the mid 60's. Christ Thunderbirds has worn better than Star Trek! The big three of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and UFO are 3 of my favorite series ever.
Even watching the Youtube clip has seriously whetted my appetite.
Can we please please please have a "michael Grade is evil" icon - or a Gerry Anderson is God icon? Or Both??
I admire Gerry Anderson for his staying power, but sure TV has moved on. ITV are a shell that just show dumbed down news or cheap reality shows between the adverts. I get the feeling Gerry still thinks ITV is what it was 15 or 20 years ago. Doesn't he realise they dropeed kids programmes years ago? And unless it's got Ant n Dec in ti, he won't get that early Saturday evening slot. Come to think of it, I'd like to see Ant n Dec stuck forever inside a communications satelite!
Sorry, Gerry, while I'm with you, I think you're flogging a dead horse.
dreamworks didn't do the rabbits for wallice and gromit, the moving picture company did, and most post houses won't jump at a repeat of captain scarlet, simply because it is such a massive undertaking, long form work like this requires a massive investment that is a huge gamble. Scarlet was several hundred people, with a whole studio set up just for it
Michael Grade can kiss my shiny metal ...
Does anyone actually watch ITV1 these days? Heck, I think our family TV has spent more time on the cable cooking channels than ITV1.
I only managed to catch a couple of the 'modern' Captain Scarlett and it seemed okay - certainly not as low-brow as I was expecting. Best of all, my kids saw it and it was a good chance to introduce them to the 'real' version - and a couple of Thunderbirds.
So, on that basis, a similar (or better!) re-imagining of Thunderbirds would push the right buttons for me. Heck, if you think about it, then if it's done well then you're pretty much guaranteed some sales in the US - because the main characters are all steely jawed, red-white-and-blue demonstrators of the 'right stuff'.
In which case, as Andy 97 says, this sounds like a jewel-in-waiting for Sky, if they have the foresight, the guts, and best of all, the cash, to do it.
The more I see/hear of Michael Grade, the more I come to the conclusion that he's a complete and utter smeeheeed (thanks Red Dwarf).
And come to think of it - why the f--- hasn't Gerry Anderson been knighted - he's unarguably done more for culture than some of the luvvies that seem to be preferred. Maybe I need to log an epetition with No. 10?
Oh no, whatever will I do?
Thank goodness they said no!
I've never seen a resurrected TV series that stood up to the original. And even the ones that make it popularity-wise only vaguely resemble the original, which disappoints the fans that were supposed to be happy about it.
ITV's reasons probably have nothing to do with the above, but I say good on them. Without doing it the same way, it's only going to be lame.
There is a god after all. Crap as ITV is, Thunderbirds has had its day a long time ago. Maybe it lasted better than Star Trek from the Kirk era, but I'd sooner put up with Third Rock than those prats.
Anderson had his time, and he did advance things. However so did the ZX81 Spectrum, and I don't want one of those sitting in my house.
You can argue all you like about it being different, artistic quality yadda-yadda-bollocks. Production quality, writing quality and culture have moved on, and it was always a little vomit inducing.
UFO reboot, maybe if it was in a similar quality to the (early) BSG reboot stuff. Thunderbirds though just seems like a sci fi version of those crappy emergency rescue shows the BBC insists on putting on every so often.
As a licence payer, I am not adverse to the BBC taking Gerry up on his offer, especially since he's got already some of the financial backing in place.
"Anderson produced 32 episodes of Thunderbirds between 1965 and 1966."
But... but.... Thunderbirds ran forever! There were millions of stories! Please. El Reg, check your facts before publishing stuff like this!
Not Politically Correct?
Could it be that the Thunderbirds and the world they inhabit with it's pro-nuclear stance is at odds with present thinking as nobody wants to be booted off the green bandwagon?
Pop quiz.. which of the Thunderbirds is NOT powered by 'atomics'?
(no looking it up on the internet, phone a friend or ask the family)
Perhaps another approach is needed for the Thunderbirds to fly again, the mighty Star Trek franchise has some serious flea bites on its hide from the fans who unhappy with what was being offered. So they went out and made thier own live movies and CGI animated episodes, Star Trek New Voyages & Aurora stand out in particular. Sure Paramount are not happy the copyright issues but they put up with it beacause they don't want bad publicity.
With fans creating low budget live action and CGI movies for under £10,000 then Fifteen Million would go a long way... Well Mr Anderson ?
@Dr Patrick J R Harkin
From a well known source;
"Production commenced in 1964 and the show premiered on British television on 30 September 1965 in the ATV Midlands region. Other ITV regions followed, including London on 25 December 1965. Two series were produced, comprising 32 50-minute episodes in total. Each episode was also split into two parts for a half-hour slot, creating 64 25-minute episodes."
Beer. 'Cos it's Friday.
Don't do it Gerry
I'd love to see Thunderbirds resurrected byt definitelt not in CGI, bring back the puppets!!!
Its a bit like them redoing Inspector Gadget in CGI (one of my favourite shows when I was kid) it looks naff.
ITV is not go!
I've said this more than once in more than one forum. Everything that Michael Grade touches turns to shit. If Anderson wants to do this, he'd be better off looking elsewhere.
Come on, Mr Grade - flog Gerry the Rights....
....or at least allow him to make the bloody series - I mean, what have you got to lose ?
Capt. Scarlet...too many American accents
Call me old fashioned, but I think the problem with the CS remake was too many American accents - whats wrong with using British accents for Gods sake ? I'd happily voice it for Equity minimum.....