August 2016~ Thunderbirds 65

e1e5a177e3e9b6163d4be418f6aefa69_original

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s TV Show Thunderbirds, first aired in 1965. It follows the exploits of International Rescue (IR), a life-saving organisation equipped with technologically-advanced land, sea, air and space rescue craft; these are headed by a fleet of five vehicles named the Thunderbirds and launched from IR’s secret base in the Pacific Ocean. The main characters are ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, the founder of IR, and his five adult sons, who pilot the Thunderbird machines.

CqDAXNKWcAAVB_C

32 hour-long stories were created and aired in 30 minute episodes. Like the other Supermarionation shows (Fireball XL5, Joe 90, Captain Scarlett) it garnered a cult following. Years later, after two feature-length films. a live-action movie (2004) a stage show and two animated series’, Thunderbirds would go back to its roots with three episodes made the very same way that the originals were 50 years previously.

A Thunderbirds Mini-Album was released on vinyl (Remember those?) for those fans who wanted more. Most mini-albums contained soundtracks and not much more, but one in particular contained three stories that had been written and recorded for vinyl release only and up until now had never been seen on screen.

In early 2015, a group including Stephen La Rivière, ITV and members of the Gerry Anderson estate got together to decide the best way to celebrate the shows’ 50th anniversary. They came up with the idea of turning the three episodes (Introducing the Thunderbirds, The Abominable Snowman, The Stately Homes Robberies) in actual episodes using the same techniques used 50 years previous. Models were built from scratch as were new puppets. One of the original directors was brought on board and the project was backed via Kickstarter.

The premiere of these episodes took place on Wednesday 17th August at The BFI in London’s Southbank. Thanks to my mate David, I was able to get tickets to take my nephew Charlie who is a massive fan.

IMG_2390

We watched the episodes which were amazing. It was just like watching one of the originals. Afterwards, there was a Q&A session with the creators. David Graham, who did the voices for Parker and Brains was in attendance. Charlie loves Parker and my mate David knows David Graham so they were able to meet. Charlie was very starstruck, especially when David did the Parker voice and told Charlie that he had made his evening as it’s not often he meets new, quite young fans.

It was a great evening, one we will never forget! Thanks again David!

March 2016~ Marvel Superhero Challenge

With the upcoming release of Captain America: Civil War, the latest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney are putting on events for kids at their flagship branch, The Disney Store Oxford Street. Through a colleague I managed to secure a couple of spots for my niece Jessica and nephew Charlie (Little Lewis was too young) to a preview event which would allow the staff at the store to test everything out before going live.

We arrived early enough to take part in the opening ceremony and the first 10 children were given a special Disney key. We wandered around the store for a while before heading down to the theatre where the event would take place.

There were 10 children in total. The children were split into two teams: Team Cap and Team Iron Man (just like the movie). There were ten characters, five per team. Each child had to select a character from a bag and that would be their character for the duration. Charlie and Jess ended up on opposing teams with Charlie as The Winter Soldier and Jess as Iron Man. After that there were a series of tasks to complete, each tasks earning a piece of a puzzle upon completion. The final task needed both teams to work together to complete the final puzzle.

At the end each child was given a nice set of stickers!

Shortly afterwards my wallet was bled dry as the kids went on a shopping spree in the store!