By ADAM MOHAMED
The characters of Thunderbirds Are Go have had a huge makeover for the ITV rebootITV
The characters of Thunderbirds Are Go have had a huge makeover for the ITV reboot
Fans of the original series may be in for a shock as they marvel at the first pictures of the Tracy Island team’s following their makeover.
Lady Penelope, Parker and Brains have all been transformed into 21st century versions of themselves, in order to appeal to todays young audience.
Closer to Clark Kent than the quirky engineer we remember from the 60’s, the re-styled Brains has ditched his bow tie in favour of an open shirt and tweed jacket, but has kept the specs in order to retain some credibility.
Parker has also decided to dress down for the occasion, opting for a roll neck jumper and leather jacket over his stuffy chauffeurs uniform.
Without the cap, Parker shows off an impressive head of swept back hair, with a few steaks of grey that George Lamb would be jealous of.
Brains is sporting a tweed jacket and thick-rimmed blue glassesITV
Brains is sporting a tweed jacket and thick-rimmed blue glasses
However, perhaps the biggest change is that of Lady Penelope, who will be voiced by former Bond girl Rosamund Pike.
Sporting a low cut top and trendy blazer, the new Lady Penelope is dramatically younger than her 1960’s counterpart but looks just as commanding in her boardroom power pose.
Pike is best known for her role as a double agent opposite Pierce Brosnan in James Bond film ‘Die Another Die’ and has also appeared in ‘Made in Dagenham’ and ‘Bad Education’.
One episode of ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ is written by David Baddiel and will feature Sylvia Anderson, who voiced Lady Penelope in the original series, as she makes a return as a completely new character.
‘Fonejacker’ star Kayvan Novak will provide the new voice of Brains; while Parker’s voice will be serve as a nostalgic reminder to the older audience as David Graham, who voiced him in the original series, returns to his old role.
Lady Penelope looks a lot sexier nowadaysREX ITV
Lady Penelope looks a lot sexier nowadays
Nick Wilson, former Channel 5 director of children’s programmes and now a producer and script editor, said the new-look Lady Penelope might “ruffle a few feathers”.
“There is an increasing tendency today to make girl characters more tomboyish, to put them in dungarees,” he said. “Broadcasters don’t want them to be butch but they don’t want them to be too girly. They want stronger role models for girls.
“But Lady Penelope is a pretty strong role model so you can’t just go on looks, it’s what underneath that counts. Let’s see how she turns out three or four episodes in. We have only seen a glimpse.”
According to Wilson, older viewers may prefer the original image of the characters but it’s important to appeal to a younger audience.
“With your nostalgic hat on you think, ‘oh what a shame’, but as a cold-hearted broadcaster that is a good thing,” he said. “You are talking to an audience that watches Ben 10 and Spongebob Squarepants. That is the competition.”
The makeovers have been done in order for the show to appeal to a younger audienceREX ITV
The makeovers have been carried out in order for the show to appeal to a younger audience
The new Thunderbirds will return this springITV
The new Thunderbirds will return this spring
The original series was the creation of Gerry Anderson, whose other TV shows included ‘Captain Scarlet and Joe’, and featured his “supermarionation” puppetry techniques.
Thunderbirds was turned into a live-action film in 2004, but was poorly received by fans and critics.
Anderson, who died in 2012, described it as “the biggest load of c**p I have ever seen in my life”.
Thunderbirds will return this spring, 50 years after it first appeared on our screens in 1965.