Revisiting our role in the magic of Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds Revival With Ormiston WireIt’s already been over 50 years since Thunderbirds first hit our TV screens, but the recent anniversary has proven that viewers still can’t resist its charm. The 2015 CGI reboot won legions of new fanatics, as well as sparking a nostalgic celebration from those who’ve been watching since the 1960 debut.

And it would appear that fans of the first series are thoroughly enjoying their trip down memory lane. This year has seen the original Lady Penelope puppet sell for an astonishing £19,000 in auction, in addition to the exciting premiere of Thunderbirds 1965.

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations, the filmmakers have created three new episodes, each in the original style and based on audio recordings of the first series’ cast. It’s a tasteful tribute to the now classic animation technique of Thunderbirds.

At Ormiston Wire we haven’t been immune to the wave of nostalgia rushing over Britain – which is why we’ve been revisiting our involvement with the iconic production.

The Ormiston touch

Created by Sylvia and Gerry Anderson in 1960, the action adventure puppet series was rocket-launched onto our screams using a sophisticated mix of marionettes, scale models and pyrotechnics.

The power of its special effects relied on thin wires, which controlled the movement of the puppets and carried an electrical signal that moved the heads and mouths. But to maintain the onscreen magic, the wires had to be as invisible as possible, and the makers turned to us for help.

We developed and supplied them with a 0.125 mm wire, treated to be as dark and non-reflective as possible. It was a solution they used until their move to live action productions during the 70s.

This Supermarionation technique become Anderson’s style, and we’re very proud to recognise the integral role we played in bringing the pioneering method to life.

It’s only one highlight in our illustrious history of bringing technical innovation and expertise to the arts and culture. For more information on other creative projects we’ve been involved with, follow these links:

Ormiston Wire celebrates the Bard with latest sculpture
Ormiston Wire delights the Project Group with donation
Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Bleigiessen’ sculpture