Rosamund Pike on Thunderbirds Are Go: ‘My Lady Penelope is a fun-loving, intelligent party girl!’

(Image credit: ITV / Pukeko Pictures / Weta Wor)

When the all-new Thunderbirds Are Go gets underway this Saturday (ITV, 5pm), fans of the original 1960s series will be delighted to see many of their favourite characters again working to avert disasters for International Rescue. One of them, British aristocrat Lady Penelope Creighton Ward, is now voiced by British actress Rosamund Pike…

“I’m trying to make her a modern girl who is very much a fun-loving, intelligent, party girl,” says Rosamund (opens in new tab) who was nominated for an Oscar (opens in new tab) earlier this year for her lead role in Hollywood blockbuster Gone Girl (opens in new tab).

“Lady Penelope is the daughter of Lord Creighton Ward, a political figure who obviously has important standing in society. She seems to the outside world to be a flighty ‘It Girl’ but she is far from it. The more she is of the here and now, the free-er she is to go anywhere and infiltrate whatever scene she needs in order to help International Rescue.

“Her power to disarm people is essential. She has a good sense of humour, she is strong and canny and she enjoys living on the dangerous side of life. Though, of course, she also enjoys a nice cup of tea!”

Of course it wouldn’t be Lady Penelope without her trusty chauffeur Parker, who is voiced again by David Graham, the original actor from the 1960s series, who’s now 89.   

‘She has a great ally in Parker, her driver and bodyguard,” explains Rosamund. “Exploring the scenes with David Graham has been an absolute delight. The scripts are very modern, very fresh and very funny. We’re all eagerly anticipating our next stint in the recording studio!”

There’s another link with the 1960s for Rosemund in an episode later in the series. Sylvia Anderson (opens in new tab), who voiced the original puppet version of Lady Penelope, will voicing Lady Penelope’s Great Aunt Sylvia…

“The day Sylvia Anderson came into play Great Aunt Sylvia was so exciting,” Rosamund says of the wife of Gerry Anderson, who created Thunderbirds. “I think we both gave our versions of “Home Parker” just for fun! She and David Graham have wonderful stories about the early days of recording and how they battled with un-sound proofed studios. They didn’t even have a studio as far as I recall, I think they were using an old hotel or factory!”

* Thunderbirds Are Go (opens in new tab) begins on Saturday April 4, ITV, at 5pm

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.