Captain Scarlet – tape 1590

Some Captain Scarlet episodes from the BBC2 repeat run, starting with the pilot episode.

Remember when Captain Black wasn’t the villain, and didn’t look at all villainous in any way whatsoever?

Captain Black

We get a glimpse into the Mysteron HQ.

Mysteron HQ

Just before Captain Black BLOWS UP THEIR WHOLE BASE BECAUSE HE THINKS THEY MIGHT BE HOSTILE! Holy crap, Earth deserves everything the Mysterons did after this.

Have I mentioned before that I have only recently (within the last few months) realised why all the Anderson series had those complicated systems of chutes and lifts to get the characters to their different craft? It’s so that they don’t have to walk to them, because walking is difficult. I’ve been watching these shows almost my entire life, and I only realised that this year. I’m very stupid.

Captain Scarlet isn’t indestructible in this story, so it’s unfortunate he has a huge car accident.

Captain Scarlet Accident

(actually that’s not Scarlet, but another Spectrum agent, Captain Brown, who was with him. They toyed with calling the show Captain Brown, but it tested badly).

Scarlet is rejuvenated by the Mysteron’s power of ‘reversing matter.’ Which makes him their puppet, presumably.

So is Captain Brown, who accompanies the World President to a safe location, as he is the target of a Mysteron Assassination. He doesn’t have any weapons with him, but it looks like he doesn;t need any, as he soon starts smoking in front of the President.

Brown Smoking

He’s actually a bomb, which takes out the whole building. But, as we learn from security cameras, the president was able to get to safety before Captain Brown exploded.

So now Captain Scarlet is looking after the president, but Spectrum get wind of his possible traitorous state and go after him. Scarlet drives the president to London Car-Vu – a huge aerial car park with the scariest looking entrance ramp.

London Car Vu

I’m not sure how practical this is – where’s the exit path?

Naturally, a helicopter collides with this structure and makes it rather unsafe. Captain Blue manages to shoot Captain Scarlet, and he falls to his death. Great emoting by the actor playing Scarlet.

Scarlet Shot

But, for reasons never clearly explained, Captain Scarlet returns to life, no longer under the control of the Mysterons. It would be cool if he was playing an incredibly long game, and in the last episode, finally reveals he was working for the Mysterons all along.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st October 1993 – 18:00

Before the next episode there’s a trail for That Was The Week That Was and Rock Docs.

Then, the episode Winged Assassin. The Mysteron’s next target is the Director General of the United Asian Republic. I have to say, he doesn’t look very Asian to me.

DG of United Asian Republic

In a slightly cheeky move for a second episode, they’re already doing flashbacks to the pilot, as Captain Scarlet is being examined to see if he’s ready for duty.

At least two different doubles are used to protect the Director General, but even with all that, and Captain Scarlet dying in an attempt to prevent a passenger jet colliding with his plane, the DG still ends up dead. This really is a grim series when compared to something like Thunderbirds. You can see the same dark vein that ran through UFO.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th October 1993 – 18:00

After a bit of Top Gear with Quentin Wilson telling you what a waste of money optional extras are, the next episode is Big Ben Strikes Again. There’s a nuclear device being transported through the (surprisingly deserted) streets  of London. What could possibly go wrong?

Most of this episode is driving around locating the transporter, then driving the transporter to the building site where it was supposed to be detonated anyway. At one point they get stuck behind a car that has stalled, and of course it has to be driven by a woman.

Still, it’s an excuse to enjoy all the beautiful model work of those streets.

London Streets

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th October 1993 – 18:00

More Top Gear from the Motor Show before the next episode. They never do the Motor Show on Top Gear any more do they? They even had a woman as a presenter, Michele Newman.

Jeremy Clarkson and Michele Newman

There’s a trailer for Inside Victor Lewis Smith and for Live and Kicking.

Then, the episode Manhunt. Captain Black has been exposed to low level radiation, so the Spectrum agents try to track him down.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd October 1993 – 18:00

There’s some snooker before the next episode, Steve Davis v Dave Harold.

Then there’s a trailer for Theatre School and one for the Danny Baker Show on Radio 1.

Then, an episode called Point 783. The Supreme Commander of Earth Force is being targeted. First by a copy of his assistant, who explodes. This programme could play today and it would seem like an obvious metaphor for suicide bombers. I don’t remember that being as much of a thing in the 60s, but I was very young at the time.

There’s also a new Supertank being tested, so an excuse for lots of explosions although rather sneakily, there’s two separate sequences of the tank being tested, and the second sequence is simply the first sequence flipped left to right.

Supertank

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th October 1993 – 18:00

More of Quentin Willson talking smugly about used cars at the end of a Top Gear, then trails for Grandstand and, delightfully, a Doctor Who repeat.

Then Operation Time. The Mysterons promise to kill time. It’s a puzzle at first until Captain Magenta realises they’re talking about General Tiempo, Commander of Western Region World Defence, is undergoing an operation.

Captain Magenta doesn’t come out of this episode very well. Although he’s the one who spotted the target, when another doctor spots that one of the surgeons must be a mysteron because he doesn’t show up properly on X-Ray, Magenta doesn’t let him in to the operating theatre, and when the Mysteron surgeon bursts from the theatre, he’s knocked unconscious by the door.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 5th November 1993 – 18:00

Next it’s Renegade Rocket. The Mysterons have control of a rocket. Colonel White reads a report – I’m not convinced that this is a genuine computer display.

Supertank

The rocket has a failsafe code, and the Spectrum team try to find the right code by trying each of their 10,000 code words in order. Unfortunately, their little puppet hands take a long time to type in four letter words.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 12th November 1993 – 18:00

More Top Gear, and a trailer for Cyberpunks and Technophobes.

I don’t remember that one. There’s also a brief teaser trailer for Ben Elton’s Stark.

Next, it’s an episode called White as Snow. An orbiting radio studio is replaced by a Mysteron version. This doesn’t seem to improve the quality of the music they’re playing. But their evil plan appears to be to play the music really loud to Spectrum personnel.

Their target is Colonel White himself. So He goes into hiding as Robert Snow. In a Submarine. Surel;y nothing can go wrong with this plan.

Robert Snow

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 19th November 1993 – 18:00

After this, recording continues with a trailer for The Team: A Season with McLaren.

Then there’s the start of an episode of The Man From UNCLE. There’s about half an hour before the tape runs out.

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2 comments

  1. It was all Captain Black’s fault, wasn’t it? If he hadn’t been so trigger happy there would be no show. Some opinions have it that the Mysterons were the justified good guys, but I’m not sure I buy that, because it’s difficult to see them using their powers for good anyway. For all the bright colours, you still have a show that features characters dying every week. So serious, yet it’s played out by puppets and dinky models. Strange series.

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