The tape opens with a Thunderbirds episode already in progress. An old friend of Jeff Tracy visits them on the island – cue Operation Cover-Up, and everyone is suddenly sitting nonchalantly reading magazines and sipping drinks.
The visitor, Eddie Houseman, has a thing for Tin Tin, which puts young Alan’s nose out of joint. Look at the anger on his face.
Houseman owns a road construction company that, in true Thunderbirds style, has a massive vehicle for laying down the entire road, including markings. I love it.
But the road project has run into problems, and Eddie rushes off to supervise. He needs to clear a way for the road, in perilous conditions, so he takes the explosive truck out on the narrow cliffside roads to blow up the blocking mountains. But naturally it goes wrong, and he’s hanging precariously over the edge with a truck full of neutronium charges ready to blow.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 10th January 1992 – 18:00
The next episode opens with a World Helijet getting exclusive pictures of an International Rescue operation as it happens. Look, there’s Thunderbird 2.
And the pilot definitely isn’t Virgil Tracy.
This episode is The Imposters. The imposters are using a faked rescue to cover their break-in to a bank vault.
International Rescue are therefore being hunted by the world authorities. So they can’t go out on any missions, otherwise they’d be spotted and tracked. And Jeff activates his large network of agents. Cue Agent 47, who lives somewhere in the wilds of America, in a wooden hut.
And I’m slightly shocked that Jeff Tracy describes him as a hillbilly – was it not such a perjorative term in the 60s, or is this just regular non-political correctness.
One of the government tracking satellites goes offline, and during the repairs, the man fixing the satellite gets into trouble. Can International Rescue dare to launch a rescue for this man, and reveal their location, leading the government to shut them down for months, years or possibly for good? Is one man’s life worth that? It’s an ethical thought experiment played out for children with puppets.
Meanwhile, Lady Penelope is struggling through the mud to Agent 47’s shack, to possibly find the imposters.
And Jeff does the right thing – with two hours to go before the man runs out of air (they love their countdowns on this show) he tells the boys to suit up and start the rescue, and they’ll deal with whatever comes.
Incidentally, this episode was written by Dennis Spooner, who used to live just across town from me, but I never knew. I only found out when a friend from school mentioned he used to be a neighbour of his, and he used to visit him (although my friend had no idea about his TV work).
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th January 1992 – 18:00
The next episode is Cry Wolf and opens with a little boy in trouble, calling for International Rescue.
But when Scott arrives at the scene, he sees the boy being rescued by his friend, cosplaying as International Rescue.
As a punishment for wasting their time, the boys are given a guided tour of Tracy Island. That’ll show them. Still, I suppose it’s some kind of punishment that they get to fly home in Thunderbird Two but have to be blindfolded.
Unfortunately, their father works with a top secret spy satellite, developing photographs of secret installations, and the Hood somehow intuits this information from the news report about the two boys. He gets them out of the way by trapping them in a real mine while he visits the father and hypnotises him with his glowy eyes (which work even over a CCTV link).
But all’s well at the end, and Scott even gets to try out the boys’ Thunderbird 2.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st January 1992 – 18:00
Before the next episode there’s a clip from The Clothes Show looking at an auction of TV costumes, featuring some Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 fans.
Then a trailer for the Winter Olympics.
Then, in Danger at Ocean Deep, an ocean container ship called Ocean Pioneer I is transporting some highly volatile explosives sails into a fog bank and explodes.
Cut to later, and Lady Penelope is officially christening Ocean Pioneer II.
I have to say, if I had a chauffeur who got falling down drunk while I was at an official function I don’t think I’d be happy.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th February 1992 – 18:00
After this, there’s a trailer for Fine Cut: Innocents Abroad.
Then, there’s the start of Doctor Who – The Mind Robber (which the presentation person calls ‘The Mind Robbers’).
The tape ends after a couple of minutes.