This tape opens with the end of Top Gear (the older, rubbish one) and a trailer for Friday Night Programmes.
Then, Thunderbirds and The Mighty Atom. On a press tour of a new nuclear power plant, the spokesman tells the reporters that “nothing can go wrong”
Cut to a familiar figure lurking round a corner.
Naturally, before too long, things are exploding. The Hood (for it is he) failed to get the plans for the reactor (which he appeared to be acquiring by photographing the outside of the buildings) but he vows to get them.
I love their Skype terminals. I wish Skype would really have the big ‘Sound Only Selected’ image on non-video calls.
After the plant explodes, an atomic cloud is drifting across the country, threatening major cities, but luckily it disperses, so panic over, obviously. I wish nuclear pollution worked like this in the real world.
12 months later, they’ve built another one. That’s impressive work, but I guess it is the future.
We get to see John relieving Alan on the space station – not that we get to see John actually back on Earth. Bt it’s nice is does actually get a break now and again.
The Hood infiltrates a government briefing on a top secret device – ‘The Mighty Atom’ – a fake mouse which can photograph anything. His disguise in impenetrable. Nobody would think that was a wig.
I always love how clearly labelled everything is in the Thunderbirds world.
The two chaps running the new atomic reactor are very proud that the whole thing is run by just the two of them, but this causes a bit of a problem when The Hood is able to walk round the whole plant setting up high explosives to blow it up. Some security might have been an idea.
Lady Penelope is visiting Tracy Island, and is keen to join in on a rescue, so she goes with Virgil in Thunderbird 2.
So, while the boys are busy rescuing, she’s sitting in TB2, so when the fake mouse is sent in to take pictures, all it gets are pictures of her being afraid of a mouse. Girl Power!
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 25th October 1991 – 18:00
The next episode, Vault of Death, opens with some atmospherically foggy shots of London, as Parker and Lady Penelope are breaking into the Bank of England. No, they haven’t gone to the dark side, they’re performing a real-life penetration test of the bank’s security.
So the bank fit a brand new vault, complete with a vacuum system that sucks all the air out. Naturally, someone gets trapped in there, so it’s up to International Rescue to get him out.
Meanwhile, Penelope and Parker are meeting with the head of the Bank of England, but when the emergency arises, He has a key to the vault, but Parker seems reluctant to take them back to the bank. He explains that an old prison friend of his has escaped, and had vowed to break into the vault, so he’s sure this emergency must be his friend, and he doesn’t want to get him into trouble.
So Penelope drives. Cue much hilarity at how bad a driver she is. Girl Power!
The boys try to get into the vault from underground, from the disused tube tunnels.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st November 1991 – 18:00
More Top Gear before the next episode, and a trailer for Friday programmes.
Then, Operation Crash Dive. Clearly the team liked their model of the Fireflash aircraft, so it features here again.
Fireflashes keep crashing, with no sign of the crashed planes at their reported positions. And Alan (who’s actually on duty on T5 this time) notices that their reported position doesn’t match the position he’s tracking them to.
Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 4 are sent to the coast nearest the crash site, so we’re treated to some comical Irish bumpkins.
Gordon gets to do some rescuing. I like the ‘LightType’ device he uses to give messages to the crew trapped in the cockpit.
Rescue goes smoothly, but the mystery remains as to why the Fireflash crashes. The Tracys write a letter to the International Air Ministry offering to fly the craft, with a Thunderbird alongside to observe what’s going wrong. No email in the Thunderbird world.
The close the whole of London Airport for Thunderbird 2 to land, because of security. They sure to get a lot of consideration from the authorities for a private, some might say shadowy, organisation.
They manage to discover that each flight had been sabotaged by a man in the engine bay. Once again, I’m astounded that an airport that would close down entirely just because International Rescue are landing would not have enough security to spot a saboteur on three separate flights.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th November 1991 – 18:00
Lastly on this tape, oddly devoid of an on-screen title, The Perils of Penelope, opens with the launch of Sunprobe, a rocket designed to fly into the sun.
Then we move to Paris as Penelope meets with an old friend, Sir Jeremy Hodge, who had helped International rescue when it was starting up. At her meeting someone tries to poison her. Sir Jeremy was working on the revolutionary new fuel process used in the Sunprobe, and his colleague Professor Borrinder has disappeared on a train journey to Anderbad.
Later, Penelope and Sir Jeremy are trapped in a cellar filling with gas. As Sir Jeremy pounds on the door he shouts “I Say! Open this door at once. We’re British.”
Given the title of this episode, it should come as no surprise that the climax involves Penelope tied to the tracks of a railway – although in this case she’s suspended in the path of a monorail, a modern variation.
There’s a brilliant shot at the end of the last-ditch rescue – Virgil shoots down the ropes holding her up, then jumps down to protect her. It’s almost moving. Did Virgil and Penelope have a thing going?
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th November 1991 – 18:00
After this episode, there’s a trailer for The Dream Machine.
Then the start of Delia Smith’s Christmas. The tape stops shortly into this.