Last week plans of Thunderbirds to take shape of an amusement park were underway when ITV struck a deal to turn the famous kids’ entertainment program into a theme park attraction at an estimated cost of £5bn. While signing the ITV deal, the former minister who chairs the park’s developer London Resort Company Holdings, promised the broadcaster that the blueprint plans had been going on an “epic journey”.
The plan to create a theme park three times larger than any in the UK was to compete with the cross-channel rivalry with Disneyland. The concept images of rides and attractions are based on mega-hits such as Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and even The Italian Job. It was led by a tie-up with Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures. The park is to be financed by Kuwait’s Al-Humaidi family and will open in 2019. However, reports now allege that backers of the London Resort are struggling with the film and TV partners. Seven years after the unveiling, Paramount Pictures has disappeared. Also, it has no further involvement by the British Film Institute, who were allegedly brought on as “cultural advisers” in 2015. The final plans are yet to be submitted to the government and the opening date has been pushed till 2025 i.e. five years ahead of 2019.
The plan for the venture seems impressive. The amusement park is to be developed on 535 acres of land which is approximately the size of 136 Wembley stadiums. The plan is underway for fifty attractions and rides including Europe’s largest indoor waterpark. It also has more than 3,500 hotel rooms and supposedly will attract approximately fifteen million visitors a year. “Too much money has been spent, too much to measure against progress in the past few years,” said Al-Humaidi, chairman and owner of Ebbsfleet United.