Thunderbirds – 16. Edge of Impact

Directed by Desmond Saunders

Teleplay by Donald Robertson

First Broadcast – 28th October 1965

Edge of Impact was one of the first episodes I saw as a kid, sitting as it did on a Channel 5 VHS alongside Day of Disaster. One thing, however, often stopped me from watching it – my irrational fear of The Hood. That’s right, he’s back, and on this occasion he has no interest at all in International Rescue, and instead just wants to put the Red Arrow project out of action in exchange for a box of treasure. Let’s see how he does!

The opening teaser indicates two identical red aircraft blasting off and two identical red aircraft crashing into things. I wonder if there’s a connection…

Thrusting us straight into the action, the episode opens with a super speedy jet zipping across the screen. It is piloted by a mysterious figure whose face is covered by an oxygen mask. The jet itself appears to be made up of a number of kit parts including the fuselage of the F104 Starfighter kit which was used many times on Thunderbirds aircraft including on the Zombite jets in The Uninvited, the Air/Sea Rescue aircraft  in Operation Crash-Dive, and many more as the series goes on. The cockpit set appears to be the same one previously used on Eddie’s jet in End of the Road, the Air/Sea Rescue aircraft in Operation Crash-Dive, and Interceptor One in Trapped in the Sky, but with some minor modifications.

A threatening voice over the radio informs the pilot to attack Installation Y, so he does so. The installation is made up of various bits and pieces including a small tower from Stingray‘s Marineville on the right of the shot, and several parts of the Saharan Atomic Station from The Mighty Atom.

An attack is then launched on a boat which looks an awful lot like it’s sitting in a bath tub. When the ship explodes, we are in fact looking at a shot on an exploding ship from the Stingray episode, Star of the East.

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With a haunting pillar of black smoke in the background, the title of the episode is revealed to be Edge Of Impact… which is another gloriously vague title which just about references the fate of the tele-relay tower later in the episode but basically doesn’t mean all that much.

In a bunker which later turns up in The Cham-Cham, The Hood is watching the display with his chum, General Bron. The General is one of those villains that wants supreme power but doesn’t appear to work for a specific country, instead just having a vaguely European accent to let us all know he’s not on the side of the heroic Americans and Brits in this episode. The puppet later turns up as Manuel in Path of Destruction.

The Hood’s emotional range is put to the test in this scene. He becomes furious when he learns that the jet he has just seen is actually less powerful than something called the Red Arrow. When he is informed that a generous reward will be given for performing a certain task, he’s smiling with his eyes lit up. It doesn’t happen often but in a couple of episodes, The Hood’s eyes will light up just because he’s happy – it’s ruddy disturbing. Anyway, the mission is simple, The Hood needs to eliminate the Red Arrow to allow General Bron dominance of the skies. We never learn what his plan is beyond that, but he basically just wants to have the fastest plane. The Hood lets us all know that the Red Arrow is doomed…

And it’s being tested at London Airport so of course it’s doomed… As Commander Norman talks over the loud speaker which previously appeared at Parola Sands in Move – And You’re Dead, the camera zooms in on the main control tower using stock footage from Trapped in the Sky

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But the control room being used definitely isn’t the same one seen in Trapped in the Sky and Operation Crash-Dive. Presumably as this is a military flight test it requires different facilities. Having said that, many of the props and pieces of set are taken straight out of the main control room. The big blue console is the same one seen in the main control room as well as the cannon-like object behind the lieutenant. Incidentally, the lieutenant was last seen as the compère at the Ned Cook Show in Terror In New York City, and Tim Casey makes an appearance as a bank executive in additional material for Vault of Death. Commander Norman is… well he’s Commander Norman.

The airfield is deserted but we get to take a look at some random planes. A couples of bicycles are parked up by the security building which is rather sweet. The hangars are the same buildings used as stations for the monorail in The Perils of Penelope. From left to right, the planes on display include the police helijet briefly seen in Vault of Death and Martian Invasion, a WASP Spearhead jet from Stingray, various kit planes that have appeared at London Airport before, and of course the TX 204 seen prominently in Trapped in the Sky and The Mighty Atom.

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Behind Commander Norman is the automatic x-ray machine used in Trapped in the Sky. He puts Colonel Casey in charge of the airfield… which is probably best given Norman’s track record…

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The ‘GB 7’ hangar pulls away, because in the future we’ll move whole buildings rather than wheel out one aircraft, and Red Arrow 1 is revealed.

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As Thunderbirds guest starring vehicles go, the Red Arrow is not perhaps the most memorable design, given as it is just a single-seater jet. The majority of the model is based on the J-35 Draken Kit. Incidentally, the real RAF Red Arrows were formed in late 1964 probably just before this episode had been written and no doubt had some influence.

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The helmet worn by Race is a repainted variant of the helmets worn by the likes of the TX-204 pilots in Trapped in the Sky and appears throughout the series, most recently sported by Eddie Houseman in End of the Road. The cockpit set is also seen as the cockpit of the Zombite jet in The Uninvited, even using the same control yokes which have two toothpaste caps on either end.

Meanwhile, cunningly disguised as a laundry attendant, The Hood pulls up in his new van to watch the launch. This blue variant of Ned Cook’s truck from Terror In New York City also appears in additional material for The Mighty Atom and Operation Crash-Dive alongside that red car with the black roof. The truck also appears in various forms in The Impostors and Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. The puppet set is the same one used for Ned Cook’s truck also but with ‘North Pole Laundry Service’ printed on the side. With the silly hat and comedy moustache, The Hood’s disguise could not make him stick out more.

Soon The Hood is watching the Red Arrow through his binoculars. Considering the airfield is supposed to be on lock down, he certainly has a very good view.

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The rockets are fired and Red Arrow 1 blasts off. Race, the pilot, is reminded to carry out all instructions to the letter…

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As with the Zombite jet cockpit, a hole can clearly be seen cut in the canopy of the Red Arrow to allow for the puppet wires.

Pretty soon after launch, Race starts to lose control of the plane as it veers off course and increases speed. As pressure in the cabin drops, he grasps at his oxygen mask and desperately tries to regain control. It’s very dramatic and played with no music, making the sequence rather haunting.

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Behind his silly mask, The Hood is loving every minute of it.

Race blacks out as the Red Arrow starts to dive. Red Alert is sounded at the airport by means of a giant red bell which is considerably more effective than the weird colander alarm they were using previously.

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Stock footage from Trapped in the Sky shows the emergency services springing into action.

As everyone watches, all Commander Norman can do now is point out the obvious. The brightness and/or contrast of the film suddenly changes ever so slightly for the next few shots, suggesting some changes were made in editing to this fast paced moment.

The hangars seen here are also monorail stations from The Perils of Penelope. Hangar 2 and 3 are housing WASP Spearhead jets. In a split second after the Red Arrow crashes into Hangar 1, the trees and building in the background move ever so slightly, suggesting where a cut has been made to aid the destruction of the hangar.

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The sound of the blast is played over a dramatic zoom in on Colonel Casey, making everything seem very serious and final.

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The Hood drives away quickly. The cars parked next to him have changed. The white car with red seats has moved over one spot and turned around while a new red car with a grey roof is now in the white car’s original space.

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With the hangar now well and truly ablaze and emergency vehicles moving in, it would appear that Red Arrow has been completely destroyed and the pilot is most certainly dead. That’s quite a grim note to open the episode with.

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The incident has made the news. As with previous episodes, the newspaper is dated (erroneously) Friday, December 24, 1964. Despite being a newspaper called the ‘Astronaut Observer’, the first article on this chopped together front page is about the ‘Slough Centre Players’ production of ‘Pools Paradise‘…

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Jeff, Scott, Gordon and a very casual Virgil sit around the breakfast table in the kitchen. Assuming additional material filmed for The Mighty Atom was shot after this point, this is the first time the Tracy Villa’s kitchen was used in the production, and it sure is a pretty set. It can also be seen in Desperate Intruder, Cry Wolf, The Duchess Assignment, Ricochet, and Give or Take a Million. Virgil’s dressing gown can later be seen in Cass Carnaby’s dressing room in The Cham-Cham. If the box on the counter is anything to go by, the Tracy family loves to eat Kellogg’s OOBN FLAKES for breakfast (it clearly used to say Corn Flakes)… Anyway, we learn that Tim Casey has stepped down from the Red Arrow testing project which is being run by the World Space Control. Apparently the Red Arrow’s twin rockets are something revolutionary in the Thunderbirds world. Jeff, however, suspects sabotage is the cause of the trouble.

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Gordon asks why in this very overly lit close-up shot. Jeff hits the nail on the head that the Red Arrow is a powerful weapon that others might like to see put out of action. We never learn of the Red Arrow’s firepower but one imagines it’s supposed to be packed with guns and missiles and the like. The fact the World Space Control are the ones working on it also suggests some sort of orbital or suborbital capabilities perhaps.

Speaking of saboteurs, at The Hood’s temple, General Bron is being served a feast. I doubt The Hood cooked it himself. It would appear that the floor of the temple is the same floor used in the Tracys’ kitchen! Like a faithful dog, The Hood is eager to receive his reward for destroying the Red Arrow. Rather cunningly we’ve yet to be told exactly how The Hood managed to carry out the sabotage, making it a mystery for the heroes and the viewers.

General Bron presents a box of old tat… I mean jewels. Once again, The Hood’s eyes glow with sheer joy. He reaches out to touch the tat… I mean jewels, but rather meanly, Bron snaps the chest shut, almost taking The Hood’s fingers off.

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He is certainly not a happy bunny. The General informs The Hood that a second Red Arrow is due to be tested soon and will also need to be sabotaged. He probably could have mentioned a bit sooner that they had another one. Or maybe he didn’t know until now…

Meanwhile, in Brains’ laboratory, Alan and Brains spot an approaching aircraft on the scanner. Braman makes his second appearance since Sun Probe, silently standing in the background. This set for Brains’ lab is completely different to the one seen in Sun Probe and indeed the many other laboratories seen in the episodes City of FireDanger At Ocean Deep, and The Cham-Cham. The desk Brains is seated at appears to be the same console used last week in the Allington Bridge control room in Day of Disaster. Brains reckons the incoming aircraft could be going to the Island of Moyla… whatever that is.

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While talking to his father, Scott reveals to us that Jeff and Colonel Casey knew each other. They worked on ‘early moon shots’ together. Do they mean photographs or was Colonel Casey with Jeff when he took his first step on the moon? Jeff states that he couldn’t have possibly told the Colonel about his ideas for International Rescue because of the organisation’s secrecy and because the Colonel is a member of the Armed Forces which apparently makes him untrustworthy… Scott also has a momentary lapse of memory and refers to Colonel Casey as “the general.” Silly Scott.

For the third episode in a row, Alan’s portrait reveals a hidden function, this time displaying the same map of the island from End of the Road. It is clear that an aircraft is approaching them but its intent is unknown. Jeff reckons it could be some more of Tin-Tin’s admirers, as if she’s some sort of siren sitting on an island drawing in random ships. Whoever it is, Scott and Virgil take great joy in telling their father to engage Operation Cover-Up. What fun. Incidentally, why is Virgil wearing a thick jumper on a permanently sunny island in the South Pacific?

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The Skyhawk jet seen here is a repainted version of Eddie Houseman’s jet from End of the Road. It pops up again at the airfield in additional material for Martian Invasion.

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Two people are seated in the cockpit. They both have brightly coloured helmets, one of which has a couple of cartoon ducks painted on it. The cockpit itself uses the same type of seat seen in the enemy attack jet at the beginning of the episode but it appears to be a new set with two holes clearly drilled in the canopy to allow for puppet wires.

Jeff, Virgil, and Scott watch from the balcony as the jet starts to make a dive and opens its rear missile hatch.

Fearing for their safety, they all hit the deck as the classic Barry Gray tune originally composed for the opening of Terror In New York City kicks in.

The missile switch is flicked and something drops from the back of the plane…

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And it turns out everything is fine. A banner trails from the back of the plane extending warm wishes towards Jeff. As much as it’s nice that everything is fine, it would have been pretty cool to see an attack on Tracy Island in the series.

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Mind the house mate!

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As Scott sits up, a floor puppeteer’s hand can just about be seen at the bottom of the frame pulling him upright.

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Jeff concludes that only Tim Casey would be audacious enough to say hello by making it look like he’s threatening an attack. What a nice guy.

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Meanwhile, somewhere in the UK, the weather looks absolutely biblical.

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Now that we’re slightly closer to the tower, a sign has appeared as well as The Hood’s truck. The sign reports that this is a Television Relay Tower owned by British Telecommunication. That’s right, Thunderbirds predicted the invention of BT… but couldn’t possibly have predicted the quality of their customer service…

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A nice job has been done of trying to match the puppet set to the model set as the camera moves in on The Hood fiddling around with something. If one didn’t know better, one might assume The Hood was being rather crude and indecent.

It turns out he’s just attaching a spinning thing to one of the girders…

Posing as a maintenance worker, The Hood reports in to the two men manning the control room at the very top of the tower. Why a relay tower would need to be manned, particularly from a room at the very top of the tower, is a bit of a mystery. Why not have the control room at the bottom? It’s very weird to listen to The Hood trying to sound like a nice, ordinary bloke… especially when he’s staring at the camera like a creep.

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Whatever this device is, it must have something to do with The Hood’s plan to destroy Red Arrow 2! Mystery and suspense is running wild as we head for the commercial break.

Tim Casey has basically invited himself to Tracy Island for a bit of a rest while he’s banned from going near the Red Arrow project. Meanwhile he’s had Brains hard at work studying the Red Arrow’s plans, but he can’t find anything wrong with it, leading to the conclusion that saboteurs have been at work. Luckily, Brains is super smart and has created a diversion detector to let the pilot know about any time they’re being drawn off course. Great idea Brains, just a shame it doesn’t also give them the ability to do something about it. Anyway, with that done, Casey decides to send his pilot, Goddard, home. Hope he hasn’t been sitting in the plane the whole time.

Down on the runway, the Colonel has had time to change back into his uniform just to say goodbye to Goddard.

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Brains’ diversion detector has been fitted to the plane. It’s a pretty simple device.  I’m not quite sure what the arrows A, B, and C are supposed to point to though.

Rather awkwardly, the plane takes off going from right to left on screen, but as Jeff, Tim, and Brains watch they turn their bodies from left to right.

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The plane then flies over a row of palm trees. Surely someone hasn’t planted those at the end of the runway?

At the relay tower some sort of reading informs them that a storm has reached Iceland. It looks like the purpose of this station is to boost television signals all over Europe.

Back at London Airport, Red Arrow 2 is getting ready for launch. Commander Norman is in charge. Seeing as this guy has something of a history for crashing new and experimental aircraft was he really the best guy to leave in charge rather than Colonel Casey?

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So far, so good….

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The storm is beginning to brew around the relay tower. This is stock footage which is later used in Attack of the Alligators!

It soon becomes apparent to Jim and Stan, the two operatives, that an aircraft is near the tower causing some strange readings…

Goddard struggles to keep the Red Arrow under control as it becomes clear that Brains’ diversion detector is beginning to operate.

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With little hesitation, Norman gives the order for Goddard to ditch the plane and eject, having checked that the aircraft is over open countryside and shouldn’t hit anyone. Nice of him to make sure of that.

So the canopy of Red Arrow 2 is blasted away as Goddard’s ejector seat fires him out of the cockpit. His parachute opens safely with what appears to be footage also seen in Trapped in the Sky.

It would seem that Commander Norman is feeling a bit less confident about the Red Arrow not hitting anything now. He calls the relay tower and lets them know that an unmanned aircraft is in their area. Needless to say, Jim isn’t thrilled by the idea.

Stan is the sensible one and insists on taking up Norman’s suggestion of getting the heck out of there. Jim calls the elevator up but it’s going to take a while to reach them. Wouldn’t it have been nice to keep the elevator up at the top of the tower for situations just like this?

The cloudy sky behind the Red Arrow indicates that it is in the area with The Hood’s strange device drawing her in. Commander Norman reports in a little too cheerily that the aircraft is definitely going to hit the tower. Why is this guy still working with planes?

If you hadn’t worked it out by now, the Red Arrow is definitely being diverted off course…

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All Commander Norman can do is pace up and down the control room. We learn that Goddard is safe, which is a silver lining in what is about to be a very messy cloud.

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All Jim can do is cower in terror as he watches the aircraft come straight towards him…

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Wallop! Slightly missing the device at the bottom of the tower, the Red Arrow crashes straight into the main stanchion which amazingly manages to stay standing despite the enormous impact.

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The wreckage of the aircraft plummets to the ground and explodes for extra goodness. Another great sequence full of tension and drama which gains a place as a classic Thunderbirds moment.

A wonderful job has been done of making the control look highly unstable as Jim and Stan try to maintain stability. Interestingly, Stan’s eyes struggle to move from side to side and instead move up and down ever so slightly.

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Back at London Airport, Goddard has made it up to the control room. This is what his face looks like if you’re interested. Commander Norman is already worrying about his career as he mumbles about accepting the diversion detector’s findings as evidence at the inquiry. It soon becomes clear that the relay tower has been hit, but Norman is at a loss to think of how to rescue them… surely he’d have International Rescue on speed dial by this point?

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Up in the tower, a tea cup  smashes which means we’re in serious trouble.

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Fortunately, Stan has the idea of calling International Rescue. Jim reckons they can’t do anything.  I do not understand why people doubt International Rescue’s abilities seeing as they’ve never failed.

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Scott and Alan are feeling a tiny little bit bohemian today as they lounge about on the floor with cushions, drinks, and cigarettes playing checkers.

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Tin-Tin’s not impressed… either that or she thinks she’s a superhero today.

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Despite Operation Cover-Up being active, the eyes on John’s portrait still flash to report an emergency call… wouldn’t that sort of give the game away if Colonel Casey had been in the room?

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Down at the pool Jeff and the Colonel are still chilling out. There’s a green beach ball, as well as a set of arrows, some flippers and a harpoon gun… sounds like a fun party… Anyway, Tim’s a bit puzzled by what exactly everyone does all day on the island, which I’m sure is a puzzle to most people outside of International Rescue that happen to know Jeff. He has four adult sons living at home and another one that disappears from the face of the planet for many months of the year…

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A stick in Jeff’s cocktail lights up to inform him that he’s needed. That’s actually a nice, subtle way of getting his attention.

An emergency conference is being held. Alan’s pretty grumpy about the Colonel being in the way. Tin-Tin reckons they should just blow their cover and hope for the best. Jeff sorts it all out by starting the launch of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 and having Tin-Tin distract the Colonel somehow…

Very unusually, Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are prepared to launch in complete silence with no bombastic music – effectively conveying that everything is happening in complete secrecy.

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So Tin-Tin’s grand plan to get Colonel Casey out of the way is to go swimming. Her brightly coloured swimsuit should be enough to distract him. I love this beach set – a rare opportunity to see a different part of the island. Tin-Tin says they’re going to see a water mamba… a mamba being a venomous snake and a water mamba being… well… complete nonsense really. She describes it as a “rare tropical mammal”… even if there were such a thing as a water mamba, it wouldn’t be a mammal… Fortunately Tim Casey falls for it and reluctantly agrees to go on a search.

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Tin-Tin gives the all-clear via radio which is indicated by a little bulb in her mask. Very neat, but my goodness is that a hideous swimsuit. She also wears the cap in additional material for City of Fire but it’s likely that this was the first time it was used in the production of the series.

With the Colonel gone, the music kicks in and Thunderbirds 1 and 2 blast off. Scott reports that the danger zone has been cleared for International Rescue, even though we never saw anyone else attempting to rescue Jim and Stan or even standing anywhere near the tower.

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Meanwhile, Jim takes a bit of a tumble. Serves him right for doubting International Rescue…

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After the break we get this unusual close-up of Thunderbird 1’s wings extending. It goes on for an oddly long time but it’s nice to see.

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Thunderbird 2 is following behind looking splendid against the moody sky backdrop.

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As the rain pours down (this is the third episode in a row to feature a heavy storm), Thunderbird 1 comes in to land. The skids on the landing legs have reverted back to the wheels seen at the beginning of the series. Scott announces that he can’t set up a control centre so will operate from Thunderbird 1… which is code for “I don’t fancy going out in the rain and I don’t really do much anyway so I’ll just stay inside, thanks.”

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Scott launches the remote camera which was last seen in Pit of Peril. The same large model of Thunderbird 1 is used from that episode also. The camera appears to be stored in the same section of the craft as the cockpit…

Scott angrily scowls at his monitor as the lightweight TV camera wobbles around and shows images of the twisted metal stanchion.

The camera reaches the top of the tower, although it can’t actually be seen during the shot of the tower waving around. The rain hammers down outside and the wires on the camera show up an extraordinary amount because of it. Jim and Stan are understandably baffled by the unusual device.

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Thunderbird 2 arrives and flies horrendously close to the tower at high speed. Nobody’s managed to clear up the Red Arrow yet.

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Looking magnificent as always, Thunderbird 2 touches down. The lighting in these model shots is superb, beautifully delivering a stormy night.

Pod 3 opens up to reveal a new vehicle, the Booster Mortar. Its more popular name, ‘The Thunderizer’ was invented for its appearance on a Somportex gum card, although that may actually refer to a non-canon alternative configuration that actually produces lightning. The same vehicle is also reconfigured in the episode 30 Minutes After Noon as the Laser Cutter.

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Alan is at the controls which were previously seen in the explosives tractor in End of the Road.

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Somehow Virgil has gotten a head start on the vehicle and for some reason isn’t wearing a rain coat in this long shot.

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Scott uses the camera to try and work out the angle for the mortar. At least I think that’s what he does. They’re a bit vague about it.

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Jim, with a lovely gash in his forehead, continues to be an incredible optimist. He wants International Rescue to hurry up before they end up “down there beside them… in bits.” A great line Jim, but please try and cheer up a bit.

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Poor Virgil is stuck outside while Alan angles the mortar. You can see where the wood on the model hasn’t been painted around the point the cannon rotates.

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Scott pulls out the camera. This is the last time we see it in the series and I have to say I won’t miss watching this flimsy, lightweight model wobble around on a pair of clearly visible wires. Jim immediately assumes that International Rescue have abandoned him. He’s quite the Negative Nancy isn’t he?

With the camera out of the way, Alan yells “Rescue, GO!” and proceeds to fire the cannon. Everything goes a bit mad for a second as a capsule flies through the glass window and lands on the floor of the control room. A label proudly proclaims that these are International Rescue Low Altitude Escape Harnesses. That’s right. The Booster Mortar is used to fire minor pieces of equipment into hard to reach areas. One assumes that it can fire many different items… probably even picnic hampers…

Stan clearly being the intelligent one immediately works out what the plan is and passes the equipment to Jim who nearly falls over while gawping at it.

Virgil and Alan are starting to get impatient as they stand there in the freezing cold rain. Scott is starting to get impatient standing in the toasty warm and dry cockpit of Thunderbird 1…

Again, because Stan is the smart one he makes Jim go first. He’s shot up into the sky by the powerful jet-pack strapped to his back.

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All the while, the stanchion is continuing to collapse. That flimsy looking tower must be surprisingly robust considering how much of it has already fallen off.

Stan takes to the skies, leaving just enough distance between himself and Jim so that no more conversation is required. He’s probably thrilled to be shot of him.

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Scott is getting ruddy concerned.

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Virgil comes very close to getting knocked over by some falling debris, although it looks a tad awkward because he’s a puppet and they’re not very good at falling over.

The tower finally comes down, the control room hitting the ground with tremendous force. How Virgil and Alan weren’t completely crushed is a bit of a mystery.

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For some reason Scott has decided to venture outside into the rain. I mean he could have come out to help during the rescue, but no Scott, you just wander along at the end and pretend it was a team effort… They all get a bit mopey because it looks like International Rescue have failed for the first time. It’s a genuinely sad moment.

But wait! Alan spots Stan and Jim floating to the ground like a couple of angels. For all we know they could be ruddy miles away so I hope someone goes to pick them up.

Eagle-eyed Detective Virgil spots something strange in the wreckage. That’s right, it’s The Hood’s diversion device! Oh my, things just got interesting…

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Back at base, Jeff is enjoying some quality time with Brains.

Virgil calls in to show Brains the device which he concludes could have pulled the Red Arrow off course. Jeff gets all excited and instructs Virgil to call the police to catch the criminal responsible.

As the rain continues to pour, The Hood has put on his laundry attendant outfit again, even though his van now has ‘4 Structural Maintenance Van’ written on it. He’s pretty chuffed that the Red Arrows have been taken out.

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The police spot him. One of them is the same police officer that greeted Lady Penelope in Day of Disaster last week wearing the same uniform. The other officer is the Maguire puppet from Martian Invasion. The police car set is similar to the one seen in Martian Invasion and is later used in 30 Minutes After Noon.

The police give chase, but The Hood is feeling a tad invincible and carries on regardless. He becomes a bit of a pantomime villain really but it’s still a great chase sequence.

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The Hood crashes through a diversion barrier because he’s a silly goose and thinks it’s an ambush.

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He contacts General Bron and refers to himself as ‘671’ which aside from the name ‘Agent 79’ in Martian Invasion is the only other name he has in the series. He proudly announces that he has shaken off the police… I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happier.

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Apparently this chap tried to warn The Hood that the bridge was down. Apart from yelling at him very quickly as he zoomed past I’m not sure there’s much they could have done. “We’d better go and see what’s become of him,” says the police officer… they have told this guy what the diversion was for right?

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It turns out we were in Allington the whole time just a few weeks after the bridge came down. Now there’s a thought… Anyway, because those glowing eyes make him a bit blind, The Hood fails to spot the complete lack of bridge and drives straight over the edge.

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The camera gets splattered with muddy water as the model is chucked into shot.

Rather amusingly the radio gurgles at The Hood that’s he’s a fool and cannot even drive a car. It is true that many of The Hood’s exploits end in a horrendous car accident but you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy as his soggy moustache hangs there looking sad. It would appear he isn’t even getting any gold… I mean yes the secret of how the sabotage attempts were carried out has now been exposed, but at least The Hood did successfully destroy the two aircraft he was told to. Can’t he at least have a little bit of gold to keep him happy?

Thunderbirds 1 and 2 return to base very quickly. Stock footage of Scott changing to horizontal flight is reversed and combined with shots from The Perils of Penelope to show Thunderbird 1 coming into land.

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Somewhere near the island, Tin-Tin has brought the Colonel into an underwater cave in a desperate search for fictional water mambas. They must have been swimming for an awfully long time seeing as Thunderbirds 1 and 2 have gone all the way to England and back.

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Tin-Tin suddenly has to change her tune when her little light bulb illuminates meaning all is well. She certainly has some lovely long eyelashes.

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With everyone safely back home, the family are happy to inform the Colonel that the illusive International Rescue have cracked the Red Arrow sabotage case. Colonel Casey has also been reinstated to save everyone from Commander Norman crashing another aircraft…

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Tin-Tin gives the camera a cheeky glance because you’ll never guess… water mambas don’t really exist! It was all a clever ruse! Oh that Tin-Tin and her crazy schemes…

Jeff and Tin-Tin watch the Colonel fly away and he signs off with a final banner saying ‘Thanks’. That’s nice…

Edge of Impact doesn’t have many standout features. It’s good but certainly isn’t the most remarkable episode of the series. As we’re midway through the episodes now it definitely appears that the show has found it’s feet and a standard formula. From this point on the format is played with a little more as different things are tried with great success.

While the guest vehicle or the disaster may not have been anything special, Edge of Impact delivers some nice character pieces and a solid story which gives The Hood something a little different to do while making him just nasty enough to maintain some integrity. The special effects team are on a roll, providing consistently outstanding work and coping well with the variety of work being thrown at them. The characters are staying strong as they settle into their roles and the writers begin to give out special moments here and there. Everything is working extremely well and Thunderbirds is going to continue to go from strength to strength.

Next week, we have another favourite episode of mine – Desperate Intruder. The Hood has tracked down Brains, Tin-Tin and Professor Blakely to a sunken temple in the desert full of ancient treasure! What lengths will he go to in order to stop International Rescue and rob the temple of its riches?

One thought on “Thunderbirds – 16. Edge of Impact

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