Take off with Thunderbirds at London's only cable car this September and October
Visit the Air Line Cable Car from Friday 22 September to Sunday 29 October 2017 for a unique flying experience. Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds are taking over the cable car in celebration of the launch of the second half of the second series of children's TV programme Thunderbirds Are Go on ITV and CITV. FAB!
During this time, visitors to the cable car can immerse themselves in scenes from Tracy Island as they travel through the themed terminals, which we're intending to decorate with several fake palm trees. Cabins will be themed as the Thunderbirds vehicles, so expect us to have stuck some big numbers on the outside, and probably a grinning face alongside. You can probably imagine how tasteful it's all going to look.
Visitors will also take off to the legendary '5-4-3-2-1' countdown. Our regular commuters are advised to bring earplugs.
Specially edited sequences from the series will be played on-board, including combined scenes with aerial footage of the cable car and the surrounding London landmarks. Don't expect actual drama, we've merely intercut clips from the show with some stock cablecar footage, and then stuck an orchestral accompaniment over the top.
Basically we intend to trap you in a cabin for ten minutes and plug an ITV show on a screen you can't avoid, and charge you money for the privilege. Never mind, your five year-old will love it, and force you to watch the TV programme later, which is the entire point of the exercise.
All of this amazing fun can be enjoyed whilst flying at heights of 90 metres over the River Thames. If you want to enjoy the view properly, please wait until November when we'll be peeling the stickers off the windows and you'll be able to see clearly again.
Stand by for action
Enjoy the unique photo opportunities around the terminals, including large-scale models of Thunderbirds 1 & 2. You can also take selfies in the cabins with characters from the show, indeed we'll be pleading with you to do this, because ITV's financial outlay will only be maximised with social media traction.
We should point out that this is the new Thunderbirds series, not the old one from the 1960s, so don't come along expecting puppets. All you'll be getting is cartoon characters - well drawn, but for any adult of a certain age, absolutely definitely not the same.
There will also be themed announcements and Thunderbirds music around the terminals to set the mood. In case you were ever in any doubt, we are no longer maintaining the pretence that the Air Line Cable Car is a serious means of public transport. But come on, it might be worth spending £3.50 on a ride just for a laugh.
"Feel like you are part of the Thunderbirds story", it says here (although this would really only be the case if the cablecar suffered a dramatic malfunction trapping you in mid-air, followed by structural collapse and a last-second rescue, and we'd rather you didn't think too long about that possibility).
For some added extras, visit on the first ever Thunderbirds Day on Saturday 30 September, when an exclusive Thunderbirds character toy will be handed out to children on a first-come first-served basis. It'll probably be a Gordon, because nobody likes Gordon and the shops can't shift him.
Someone in a marketing department actually got paid for thinking up the idea of Thunderbirds Day. Expect us to go on and on about Thunderbirds Day on social media for several days in the hope that an unspecified giveaway will drum up some excitement for our white elephant Thames crossing.
There will also be some surprises in store during half term, with Thunderbirds souvenir caps being handed out to children daily, on a first-come first-served basis. We've done the research, so we know people will do almost anything to get their hands on a freebie, including spending money up front on tickets which cover the added cost.
There will also be a special appearance from Virgil himself every day during half term between the hours of 10am and 3.30pm. Disclaimer: Not the actual Virgil, but some unfortunate member of staff dressed up as a cartoon character, obviously.
Family Discovery Experience tickets
If you're visiting as a family and want to make the most out of your visit, Family Discovery Experience tickets will be available at the special discounted price of £27.50 for two adults and up to three children. We normally charge £40 for this, so paying only £5.50 each for fifteen minutes above a river is a proper bargain.
The ticket includes a non-stop return trip, souvenir guide and free entrance to the Air Line Aviation Experience. Please don't commence your non-stop return trip from the Royal Docks terminal, otherwise you'll miss getting off on the side where the Pretend Museum actually is.
Prices and booking
There is no additional cost for The Thunderbirds Are Go flight experience, but customers are advised to book in advance online. This means we get your money up front, even if the weather's awful on the day you selected and no sane family would have traipsed to East London for a rain-splattered view of the tops of some industrial units. It is October after all.
Afternoon Tea is go!
The InterNational London Hotel at the O2 has also partnered with ITV to create an inventive Thunderbirds-inspired Lady Penelope Afternoon Tea with a special menu available from 15th September until 30th October. Why not blow £31 on some fancy cake after you've enjoyed your cable car flight?
Visitors will be able to relax in the stylish and decadent surroundings of the Meridian Lounge, as they sample delicious themed treats fit for International Rescue's stylish London Agent, including Tracy Island coconut pineapple verrine, FAB 1 pink bonbon torte, Parker's pistachio praline posh choux and Lady Penelope monogrammed macarons.
A specially created Lady Penelope cocktail will also be on offer, for £13 extra, providing those with money to burn with the perfect finishing touch to a decadent afternoon.
The event will also be attended by the Lady Penelope and Parker puppets themselves, as seen on TV recently in the Halifax Savers Are Go adverts. Guests will receive a welcome card with a special message from her Ladyship, signed by Rosamund Pike as Lady Penelope, her role in CITV’s reboot Thunderbirds Are Go.
Please note on 23rd September, Lady Penelope Afternoon Tea will be accompanied by live music and be priced at £36 per person. Let's hope it's Virgil playingon the piano, with Tin-Tin on backing vocals.
Notes for editors
Dave Fisher, TfL’s Head of the Air Line Cable Car, said “What better way to celebrate new episodes of Thunderbirds Are Go than to bring the fun of Tracy Island to the iconic Air Line Cable Car for all to enjoy. Taking off to the legendary 5-4-3-2-1 countdown, visitors can soar over the Thames and immerse themselves into the world of International Rescue. With clips from the show being played during the flight, entertainment for the kids and exciting giveaways, especially around half term holidays, it’s going to be a FAB day out at the Air Line Cable Car.”
Danny Price, former head of the Air Line Cable Car, said “Thank heavens I'm now in charge of the Docklands Light Railway and doing something meaningful with my life.”
Diamond Geezer, regular thorn in the side of the Dangleway, said “You may have thought I was taking the piss, but all this Thunderbirds stuff is actually happening, including the five weeks of rebranding, the giveaways and the afternoon tea. Some days I don't actually have to make these things up.”