Fans of the iconic 1960s puppet series Thunderbirds could get a big shock when they first hear International Rescue’s gadget-genius Brains in the new CGI-animated version Thunderbirds Are Go, which starts Saturday April 4 (ITV, 5pm).
Although this Brains looks very similar Phonejacker star Kayan Novak, who’s voicing Brains this time, wanted to change how he sounded…
“My Brains sounds a little different this time, I’ve made him Indian,’ says Kayan. ‘It was an idea I came up with at the audition. The Tracy brothers are traditionally American, but I thought why not make Brains Indian. I went to university in the UK but I was brought up in Delhi and I felt it gives him a quirkiness which I think the producers liked.
“David Graham did the voice for Brains originally – he was also the chauffeur Parker back in the 1960s, and he’s again voicing Parker in this version. I didn’t realise this until the first read-through when David mentioned it. I was like, wow – I had no idea. What range!
“Brains has also got a robot now who’s like his best mate and he’s got everyone on Wifi, Skype, and social media…”
Kayan had no hesitation signing up for the new 26-part series, which features many favourite characters including the Tracy brothers – John, Virgil, Scott, Gordon and Alan – plus Lady Penelope (voiced by Rosemund Pike), Parker (David Graham), Grandma Tracy (Sandra Dickinson), plus International Rescue’s long-standing enemy The Hood (Andres Williams)…
“I’d heard about the new Thunderbirds two years before they were making it when I read about it on a website. I was straight on to my agent saying get me seen for this. But I had no idea who I wanted to play, or anything, then. Thunderbirds was something I grew up with and I saw it as an iconic series, so I thought: ‘They’re making a new one, I like doing voices, and I like being paid. What could be better?’
“When I first saw this new Thunderbirds I was blown away by it. This Thunderbirds takes the best of what was great about the original, marries it with new technology, and together you’ve got something even better. Each episode’s kind of stand alone, too.
“My memories of the original series are a bit fractured because the reruns were on when I was a kid, mixed in with memories of Captain Scarlett and Terrahawks, that kind of genre of puppets. I remember loving it, though.
“Anyone who’s going to watch new one and go [he says in old codger voice]: ‘Why are there no strings? Why are they not moving like puppets?’ They can go and watch the old one. Know what I mean?”