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Thunderbirds Are Go! ITV's sneak peek...

ITV has released an exclusive look at classic characters from the much anticipated new children’s and family series, Thunderbirds Are Go.

The pictures feature engineer Brains; smooth operator, Lady Penelope and her trusty bodyguard and driver, Parker.

Lady Penelope Parker

Lady Penelope is voiced by Oscar-nominated, Rosamund Pike and David Graham reprises his original role as Parker. Kayvan Novak voices inventor, Brains.

Sylvia Anderson - who voiced Lady Penelope in the original 1960’s series - will voice a new character in an episode due to air later this year. Written by comedian, David Baddiel, the episode titled Designated Driver sees Sylvia voice the character of Lady Penelope’s Great Aunt Sylvia.

The major new children’s series is set to debut internationally in Spring 2015 in the UK exclusively on ITV and CITV.

Brains; smooth operator

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Darling supports devolved powers for North East

Alistair Darling led the 'Better Together Campaign in Scotland Credit: PA

A former UK Chancellor is to address an audience of senior regional stakeholders, exhorting them to seize the opportunity of further powers from Whitehall.

Alistair Darling, who led the pro-Union Better Together campaign in Scotland, is expected to urge regional leaders to remain focused and united in advance of the May 7th General Election.

Mr Darling's address comes as a range of regional bodies are making a concerted bid for more powers to be devolved from central government to the region.

Following his address at The Sage, Gateshead, Mr Darling will answer questions, with the Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, Heidi Mottram, chairing proceedings.

The event has been organised by the North East Economic Forum.

North East firefighters: 'We were misled'

Firefighters have been back on strike on Wednesday as part of an ongoing row with the government over their pensions.

They gathered for a protest at Grey's Monument in Newcastle this afternoon.

The 24-hour strike will last until 7 o'clock on Thursday morning.

The government says the industrial action is "unnecessary".

All fire and rescue authorities have robust and well tested strike contingency plans in place that include back up support if needed. Public safety is our priority and if anyone needs emergency assistance they should dial 999 and they will get a response from their fire and rescue service. Strike action is unnecessary and appears to be over a point which is a vast improvement on the 2006 scheme which required firefighters to work to 60 with no protection. We have been clear that firefighters get an unreduced pension or a job and have changed the National Framework through a statutory instrument to do so. If fire authorities do not produce processes which yield this the Secretary of State has said he will intervene.”

– DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Pete Wilson from the Fire Brigades Union in the North East strongly disagrees with that statement:

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Firefighters stage strike rally in Newcastle

Strikers stage rally at The Monument Credit: ITV News

Firefighters taking part in a 24 hour strike have staged a rally in Newcastle city centre. It is part of an ongoing row with the Government over their pensions. The 24-hour strike will continue until 7am Thursday. The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service says they will respond to emergency calls during the action but they want the public to take extra care. The government has also responded to today's action, which involves firefighters from across the North East and North Yorkshire.

All fire and rescue authorities have robust and well tested strike contingency plans in place that include back up support if needed. Public safety is our priority and if anyone needs emergency assistance they should dial 999 and they will get a response from their fire and rescue service. Strike action is unnecessary and appears to be over a point which is a vast improvement on the 2006 scheme which required firefighters to work to 60 with no protection. We have been clear that firefighters get an unreduced pension or a job and have changed the National Framework through a statutory instrument to do so. If fire authorities do not produce processes which yield this the Secretary of State has said he will intervene.”

– Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman
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