New-look ThunderbirdsCITV has commissioned ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures to make a third series of 26 half hour episodes of  Thunderbirds Are Go, the smash hit reinvention of the iconic children’s television show. The new run of episodes (Americans call that a “season”) will air next year. It will premiere on ITV Global Entertainment’s Family CHRGD and Family Channels later this month. In the U.S., we’ll get it on Amazon Prime Instant Video starting on April 22,  with a sneak preview of the one-hour special, Ring of Fire parts 1 and 2 available on April 15. It will be available in the UK, Germany and Austria on that service later this year.

The series has enjoyed strong international ratings since it launched last year, 50 years after Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s classic Thunderbirds series first aired. In the UK, Thunderbirds Are Gopremiered on ITV and CITV in April 2015 to a consolidated audience of close to three million and continued to be the most watched show in its slot. In New Zealand (TV2), Thunderbirds Are Go was the most-watched children’s show across all channels in 2015. ITVS GE has already sold Thunderbirds Are Go to more than 40 countries worldwide.

The show is also a licensing success, with more than 75 licensees on board the consumer products program globally. In the UK, Thunderbirds Are Go toys were the second highest-selling new licensed toys last year (we presume Doctor Who held the top spot), while Vivid’s supersize TB3 playset was recently voted the best action toy at London Toy Fair.

Thunderbirds Are Go is the exception to the rule that you have to have lots of computer graphics to be competitive in the creative marketplace. The shows are done the way the original series were done, using marionettes, scale models and a minimum of digital effects. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s legacy lives on.