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Thunderbirds Thursday: Stand By For Action in 2024!

Following hot on the heels of our two new Space:1999 Eagle transporter and Rescue Eagle models, 2024 will see the launch of our next premium collectible craft – Thunderbird 2!

Launching for pre-order later this year, this brand new limited edition model will celebrate International Rescue’s perennially popular heavy rescue transporter, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the start of filming on the original Thunderbirds television series. However, were you aware that the five Thunderbird machines were originally intended to be named something other than the Thunderbirds?

Although it didn’t air on British television until September 1965, Thunderbirds entered production as International Rescue in September 1964, just a few weeks before the first episode of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s previous Supermarionation series Stingray hit screens. As originally devised (and featured in the scripts of several early episodes) the show’s star vehicles would be named Rescue 1, Rescue 2, and so on. This was only changed after co-creator Gerry Anderson recalled a letter from his beloved elder brother Flight Sergeant Lionel Anderson sent from Falcon Field Arizona in March 1942, where Lionel was assisting with the filming of a feature film…named Thunder Birds, starring Gene Tierney and Preston Foster. This memory from decades earlier provided a last-minute source of inspiration for Anderson, and ensured that the name of the star craft of his next series,  and indeed the title of the series itself, was changed to Thunderbirds.

Would you still be as interested in Thunderbirds had the series retained the title of International Rescue, and would you now be looking forward to a new model of Rescue 2 rather than Thunderbird 2? Let us know in the comments below – and ready when our new Thunderbird 2 model goes live for pre-order in the Spring!

Written by
Chris Dale

Writer, editor & voice actor on Big Finish's Doctor Who, Terrahawks, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet audio ranges. Host of the Randomiser on the Gerry Anderson Podcast.

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