The FAB 1960s Thunderbirds TV show prepares for its return

All systems are apparently "go" for a return of the cult 1960s television programme Thunderbirds.

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All systems are apparently "go" for Gerry Anderson, the octogenarian co-creator of the cult 1960s TV show Thunderbirds.

Conducting a whirlwind series of interviews to promote a new series of Royal Mail commemorative stamps in the UK, the veteran puppeteer drew gasps from superannuated schoolboys worldwide when he told the BBC: "I'm going to make a new series of Thunderbirds - and that's official!"

He added: "I don't want to sound conceited, but because I'm going to make it, I'm confident it will be a smash hit!"

The puppets, led by Jeff Tracy, his sons Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John, and their friend Lady Penelope, captured the imagination of a generation of youngsters when the original series launched in the 1960s, spawning the catchphrases "F.A.B." and "Yes, m'lady".

But despite the enduring popularity of the show, and massive merchandise sales, only 32 episodes were made, the last in 1966. A live-action movie starring Bill Paxton was made in 2004, but was critically panned and bombed at the box office.

The stamps - a set of four animated "motion stamps" that move when tilted - commemorate the 50th anniversary of the airing of 1961's Supercar, Anderson's first effort in the genre of "supermarionation", and a precursor to the 1965 sensation.

The "Fanderson" fan website confirmed that Anderson, 81, had "finalised a deal to make a new series of Thunderbirds", but could give no further details, citing a non-disclosure agreement he had signed.