Gerry Anderson: Thunderbirds, Next Generation?

The Sun’s headline — though slapped with Exclusive! — is rather premature:

Thunderbirds are back!

Creator Gerry Anderson told TV Biz he was in talks to buy back the show rights from ITV, 32 years after it was axed.

But he is considering ditching the iconic marionettes for computer-generated imagery (CGI). Gerry, 79, said: “I’d do a series of tests.

“One would be in keeping the same characters but making the series in CGI, making everything photo-real.”

But the Tracy family and pals like Brains and Lady Penelope may stay as puppets, modified by computer wizardry for hi-tech action scenes with the Thunderbirds fleet.

Gerry said: “Another way would be to make the puppets in CGI in a way that they looked exactly as they did in the original show.

“They would be able to do everything a human being can do so the action would be much more exciting.”

I think everyone who is in love with the series would chant, “Puppets! Puppets! Puppets!”

However, in that BBC 4 radio interview, Gerry termed them “goddamn puppets.”

He was never fond of them due to their movement limitations and other problems they caused during production (imagine having to wait for a string to be redone or strings to be unsnagged!).

I’ve addressed the issue of a remake earlier, here: BBC Four: All About Thunderbirds.

There have already been three CGI Thunderbirds attempts:

The Original Thunderbirds Atrocity — allegedly all-CGI, it’s just All Wrong.

Someone At Carlton Must Pay For This Atrocity — Brains is used in an ad. This is a mixture of puppetry (string and rod) and CGI. It just makes me queasy every time I watch it.

Thunderbirds Used In New UK TV Ad — this is difficult to analyze. There is CGI in it, but still frames would lead one to believe there are actual marionettes. However, the strings could be fake, added digitally in post!

There is much more I want to write about this, but it’s a very big thing.

If Gerry Anderson or someone who knows him should come across this post, the one thing I absolutely must say right now is this:

Explore posts in the same categories: TV, Uncategorized, Writers - Living, Writing

2 Comments on “Gerry Anderson: Thunderbirds, Next Generation?”

  1. Luke Says:


    Obviously you’re one of the bigots who automatically rejects CGI, in whatever form – I’m guessing out of wilful ignorance. Sad, but true – so many people have the sickening impression that computer generated imagery is produced by flicking a switch and run crying back to ‘ye olde’ methods like puppetry and stop-motion (both of which, incidentally, I also love based on their merits).

    If you really knew the effort,creativity and art that goes into matte painting or model construction, or texturing, or cartoon shading, I doubt you would be so cavalierly dismissive.

    I agree you have to be careful – the photoreal route is not suited and the movements would have to be carefully animated (from what I’ve seen of the new captain scarlet, it doesn’t really get it right). Nevertheless, it is Gerry Anderson who is in the right here – not you, with your unfortunate and misguided prejudice and backwards looking mentality.

  2. mikecane Says:

    You jumped to a conclusion that is simply not so. Pixar is absolutely *brilliant* CGI and if Anderson had access to that, he’d have a chance. But you saw New Scarlet. It was nowhere near that caliber. It was, in fact, below the CGI of some videogames. I don’t think Gerry will have better CGI than that again. Hence, back to puppets.

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