Thunderbirds – 30. Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday

Directed by Brian Burgess

Teleplay by Tony Barwick

First Broadcast – 23rd October 1966

Two new names are brought to the credits of this episode, with a script written by Tony Barwick, and direction from Brian Burgess. Neither of them were new to the world of Thunderbirds. Barwick was hired during the first series to write additional material for the episodes originally created as half hour stories. He continued to work with Gerry Anderson on a number of projects until his death in 1993. Barwick had essentially taken over script editing duties from Alan Pattillo who had turned away from his full time role at the studio by this point. This episode appears to have been Brian Burgess’ first job as a director. He is also credited as production coordinator on Thunderbirds Are Go, and went on to direct five episodes of Captain Scarlet as well as working as visual effects production manager on the series. Burgess then worked as production manager on the live action Anderson feature film, Doppelgänger. Burgess was presumably filling in the gap left by David Elliott and Alan Pattillo after their departures as directors for the series. Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday, and the following Barwick/Burgess episode, Ricochet, perhaps give us a taste of what the series would have been like had it continued past Give Or Take A Million, with new talent rising up through the ranks of the studio to provide their interpretation of the format.

Hard to determine exactly what the danger is in this week’s episode. I’m sure all that will become clear later… or not…

The episode opens with music first heard in the Supercar episode, Amazonian Adventure as the sun rises on the sleepy village of Monte Bianco. It’s rather lovely. The hotel, which will feature more prominently later, makes a subsequent appearance in the Joe 90 episode, Big Fish. Something shiny can be spotted on the side of the mountain overlooking the town.

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It’s a solar generator which utilises a large dish to capture thermal energy from the sun and generates electricity. It’s certainly got a different look to our modern day solar panels. Generating power from sunlight has been in the works since the 1860’s, but it was only towards the 1970’s that the full potential for solar energy was being realised with the decline in availability of non-renewable fuel sources. Tony Barwick’s concept for a solar generator station powering a small town must have felt a little like science fiction at the time, but there might have been some consideration that the technology would become widespread in the near future. Incidentally, an image of this generator station can be spotted in the poster for Thunderbirds Are Go… it doesn’t feature in the movie so who knows how that came about!

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Inside the building, someone has been hoarding Timelord technology… It surely can’t be by accident that the control console looks so much like the TARDIS console from Doctor Who. The bank of computers on the wall can also be spotted in both Path of Destruction and Atlantic Inferno.

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Professor Lundgren and his assistant Mitchell watch the sun rise in the valley. Mitchell is instantly recognisable as Captain Ashton from last week’s episode, Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. Professor Lundgren looks like Professor Borendor from The Perils of Penelope but with a bit of a makeover. Lundgren is very ambitious, claiming that once they’ve lit up Monte Bianco, they could light up the whole valley, and then he makes a big step up to assuming the whole world will then be solar powered. There might be a few steps in between that but sure, dream big Professor.

Some very scientific sounding stuff happens, but we’re all too distracted by the pink spinny thing in the centre of the console. Can somebody explain to me how that thing keeps turning? Essentially Mitchell points the dish at the sun to start collecting energy for the day, as indicated by the flashing light. Heat waves are visible in front of the dish which is a nice touch.

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Over at Lady Penelope’s mansion, the title declares that Parker is going on holiday… and that he’ll become a lord somehow.

The bed and the basis of the set are the same, but much of Penelope’s bedroom has changed since it last appeared in Brink of Disaster. The window nearest the bed has been replaced with a large painting among other changes to the layout of the furniture. Parker arrives to take Penelope’s cases down to the car. We manage to avoid a direct reference to Penelope’s habit of over-packing which is something of a step forward. There’s something a bit off about Penny’s hair this week. It just looks much more like a wig than it usually does. So Penelope and Parker are taking a holiday together because she just can’t bear to be without him for a few days. Parker has been ordered to discard his uniform… what kind of weekend is Penny planning here?

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The English weather strikes again!

Penny’s wearing her Penelon fishing jacket from the fashion show in Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. Parker, however, is ready for the sun in Monte Bianco. The grandfather clock which last appeared in Penelope’s ranch in Australia in Atlantic Inferno can be spotted behind Parker.

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Over at the unnamed hotel in Monte Bianco, Faccini the manager is preparing to host celebrations for the switch over to solar energy. He is joined by Bruno, an elderly employee at the hotel. He is masterfully portrayed by Charles Tingwell, who also provides the voice of Mitchell in this episode. Tingwell joined the cast of Thunderbirds Are Go in a number of supporting roles which presumably led to him working uncredited on the television series in the remaining episodes. His deep, distinctive voice was also utilised in Captain Scarlet for guest roles. For my money he actually would have made a great replacement for David Holliday in the role of Virgil Tracy. Anyway, Bruno is quite the pessimist, or some kind of wizard, predicting that the use of solar energy is against nature and “it will be a great disaster.” All electricity is against nature really so he must really struggle with living in the 21st Century…

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Lundgren and Mitchell are keeping a sharp eye on things to ensure everything goes off without a hitch… either that or they’re preparing to travel in time…

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Penelope and Parker are on their way to the hotel. Penelope has been flicking through a copy of Spotlight magazine. The entire scene is basically dedicated to demonstrating how bad the radio interference is in the mountains. We get to briefly hear ‘Blues Pacifica’ from the Stingray episode, Tune of Danger.

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The new model of Tracy Island made for Thunderbirds Are Go appears only in this episode of the television series. It’s the same basic shape as the original but actually appears to be lacking detail by comparison – in fact it could potentially just be a painting.

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Brains and Jeff are enjoying a quiet morning coffee together in the library adjacent to the lounge, discussing the solar generator project. Brains is really excited about it but couldn’t quite be bothered to go over and spend the weekend with Penelope. He acknowledges that the idea is nothing new but Professor Lundgren has, “licked the technological problems.” He’s been licking batteries or something?

Over in Monte Bianco, the sun is setting. The generator is going to be able to put out 150,000 kilowatts for about 20 hours. That’ll do nicely. It looks like clouds are building up for a storm.

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The hotel is bathed in a lovely orange glow as FAB 1 pulls up outside.

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Faccini comes out to greet Penelope, apologising profusely for the rain.

Penelope claims to be perfectly ready for the rain and the camera pans down to her shoes… which look absolutely soaked through… because she’s so well prepared and everything. Parker, however, is definitely not prepared. His socks and sandals combination is not only a fashion nightmare, but a recipe for some very wet feet. Parker is far from happy, ordering Bruno to take the luggage inside.

Penelope is informed about the fancy dress party taking place tonight… I’m sure she’ll manage to throw something together. Bruno is delightfully blunt with Parker. “You’d better change signor, before you flood the hotel…” Tony Barwick is always sharp with his one-liners.

With a whirlwind of trumpeting goodness, a transition flips Parker around and all of a sudden he’s in a very fabulous costume.

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The costume department have done another great job on this one. But just you wait…

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Penelope appears at the top of the stairs dressed as Marie Antoinette. It’s an incredible outfit. She descends the stairs fairly convincingly despite the fact she’s basically just being bobbed up and down.

Faccini stands in front of an enormous pink sun because he’s just fabulous like that. The room is populated by characters wearing costumes from days gone by. Tin-Tin’s stripey poncho from End of the Road and Edge of Impact is worn by Mason from Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. Nurse Nimmo from Give or Take A Million is dressed as a cowboy. Petersen from Path of Destruction is wearing Hassan Ali’s outfit from Desperate Intruder. The lady in orange is tricky to identify but could be Madeline from Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. Wakefield from The Impostors is sat in the rear corner of the room wearing a Zombite uniform from The Uninvited. The Foreign Colonel from The Cham-Cham is wearing part of the admiral’s uniform from the Stingray episode, Set Sail For Adventure. Some of the guests are sitting incredibly still, suggesting only a few of the puppets in this scene actually had operators.

It’s almost time as preparations are made up at the station.

The power is switched on and soon enough the lights in Monte Bianco are illuminated. Faccini’s big pink sun brightens up the room. How marvellous.

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Penelope and Parker share a quick toast. They’re clearly captivated by just how pink the sun is… it may be coming home with them if it’ll fit in the boot of the car…

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The storm is really brewing up on the mountain. Apparently there was only supposed to be light rain. Even in the future, weather forecasts haven’t gotten much better.

Parker is quietly baffled by a plate of spaghetti. It’s a pretty enormous portion but with very little sauce…  not looking very much like something served up in a hotel for a fancy event.

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The storm causes trouble with the power, but the show must go on so Faccini asks the band to play. Look who it is! Footage from The Cham-Cham is used to give the impression that Cass Carnaby is playing at the party. From the super deluxe Paradise Peaks hotel, to a small little place in Monte Bianco… Cass’ careers may not be going so well.

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“It will be a great disaster.” Why has nobody made a t-shirt out of that catchphrase yet?

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As if Bruno had willed it at that very moment, lightning strikes the tower with an enormous bang. Uh oh!

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And then the dish gets hit! This can’t be good!

The lightning conductor has been blown and the power levels are going crazy! There’s nothing to stop the entire tower burning up under the intense electrical charge of the lightning. Probably time to call things off and get out of there guys!

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The tower is getting ripped apart. The lightning bolts are very good effects, presumably achieved by being painted onto the film during editing. The same technique was previously used to apply gun flashes onto shots in Four Feather Falls and Supercar before real explosive charges were used.

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Lundgren insists that the power be cut, plunging Monte Bianco into darkness. We can now spot Jim Lucas from Path of Destruction and an unknown female puppet sitting at a table. There’s immense panic, probably because the calming pink light from Faccini’s massive replica of the sun has gone out.

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Candles are lit and everything is lovely once again, but Penelope senses that something is up.

More lightning strikes the tower. For some unknown reason, Lundgren decides to go up on the roof to look at the damage… I mean he could do it while driving away from the tower at speed just to be safe, but never mind.

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Okay Bruno, try not to wear out that catchphrase now or people won’t buy the t-shirts…

The tower begins to collapse so Lundgren, with great poise and dignity, flops to the floor flat on his face. It really looks like somebody’s chopped his strings.

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The dish rolls down the mountain with a lot of loud clanging. They’re really trying to sell the idea that this is a big, heavy piece of kit. Unfortunately the model just doesn’t quite suggest that, seeming far smaller than what was probably intended in the script.

It settles on the mountainside. In between the close-up and the long shot, the three little prong-type things in the middle have become detached. But that does appear to be that. Not much else could possibly go wrong…

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“The reflector’s been smashed.” Not exactly Penelope. If it had been smashed there wouldn’t be a problem because it would be in bits. The issue is that it fell and stayed more or less intact, which for something in Thunderbirds is quite an achievement.

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Mitchell pops upstairs to rescue the professor. Other than a small cut on his head and being a bit soggy, Lundgren appears to be fine.

Down at the hotel, the reflector can be seen shining moonlight down onto the town. A great job has been done in this episode of differentiating between the wide variety of lighting conditions that come up. Credit must go to this episode’s lighting cameraman and Supermarionation veteran, Julien Lugrin, and to special effects lighting cameraman, Michael Wilson.

The party has moved outside. All of the puppets in the background sit completely still. Bruno comes over to Penelope and whispers in a rather distressed manner in Italian, remembering to chuck in his catchphrase for good measure. Faccini shoos him away as if he were an over-friendly mutt, but Penny is on Bruno’s side, realising that when the sun comes up the light reflected onto the town could be rather more hazardous. Parker is baffled, but left with instructions to keep Bruno quiet. And with that, Penelope takes her leave. Things are starting to get tense! Incidentally, these heart-shaped chairs have a long history in Thunderbirds, appearing in Brink of DisasterThe Perils of PenelopeThe Duchess AssignmentThe Cham-ChamPath of Destruction, and Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. They continue to be used in Captain Scarlet.

Penelope has hopped into FAB 1 to try and contact International Rescue. The interference from the mountains is too intense. But she’s had a bright idea to rectify the issue and drives away. It’s worth pointing out just how carefully paint has been applied to Penelope’s face to simulate make-up – that must have been some really delicate work!

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After a gentle drive down to the coastline, Penelope throws FAB 1 off of a jetty. This scene looks incredibly familiar. The coastline is different but the jetty is the same one which features in the Thunderbirds Are Go scene where Penelope and Parker pursue The Hood. The same jetty can also be seen in a famous publicity photo of Stingray.

Penelope engages FAB 1’s hydrofoils which, as previously mentioned, also saw an outing in Thunderbirds Are Go. They’re a seriously neat bit of a kit and are perhaps one of her most memorable gadgets.

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FAB 1 passes a yacht which you may recognise as actually being FAB 2 from The Man From MI.5. That’s right, she’s still going after Parker lost the ship at the casino in Monte Carlo.

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A party goer watches FAB 1 go by, dropping his drink overboard. He’s a little bit tipsy, remarking that pink elephants may be one thing, but a pink Rolls Royce driven by Marie Antoinette is ridiculous. Couldn’t agree more sir, let your psychiatrist try and figure that one out! This character is particularly amusing because David Graham is using a voice which is actually rather close to his own…

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As FAB 1 zips along the water, you can actually see water splashing around inside the car underneath the canopy.

After finding a good spot far from the shore, Penny retracts the hydrofoils and lets the car just bob along on the surface. I’m guessing FAB 1 is supposed to be fairly watertight.

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Over on Tracy Island, Jeff and Brains play chess while Alan and Virgil reads. Scott’s just sort of hanging around by the window. Gordon must still be in bed where he remains for the entire episode. Who knows what John might be up to.

Penelope makes contact, informing Jeff and Brains of the situation. The 400 tonne dish is angled on the mountainside in such a way that it will reflect the sunlight in an intense beam over Monte Bianco. The burning hot beam will move across the town as the sun moves in the sky, potentially causing an inferno. The conditions have to be unbelievably precise for that to work and it primarily relies on the material that’s going to be burnt being incredibly dry. It’s been raining for a great deal of the night so I find it hard to believe that a fire would come close to starting. Nevertheless, the International Rescue team are concerned enough to mobilise. Brains is sent along too.

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Stock footage from series 1 is utilised to show the full launch sequences of Thunderbirds 1 and 2, which hasn’t actually happened for a while. We spotted this alternate take of Virgil coming down the launch slide into his chair way back in Vault of Death and it appears to have come up again here – spot the wooden framework in the top left corner.

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Alan and Brains arrives via the passenger elevator. Can I just point out that Brains’ all orange suit isn’t necessarily his best look…

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Thunderbird 1 levels out as usual. Thunderbird 2 is about to roll out of the hangar. For some reason this launch sequence has been dragged out so much that the timing of the episode requires a fade out to the commercial break part way through.

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Alan and Brains look like they’ve run out of things to talk about during this very long launch sequence. Incidentally, in this episode and the previous one, Virgil has been holding the steering wheel upside down.

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Jeff and Grandma are watching the launch arm in arm. How sweet. Apparently Jeff has a bad feeling about this one. I must say, there are a fair few other rescues that Jeff probably should have had a bad feeling about besides this one.

Parker is finally filled in on the impending disaster. Penelope is going to head up the mountain, leaving Parker in charge of keeping all of the guests at the hotel… I mean he could probably have the whole of Monte Bianco evacuated by the morning, but okay we’ll keep everyone there to burn instead.

Parker has changed out of her costume into a jacket which she previously wore during the opening of Atlantic Inferno. A ton of stock footage from The Perils of Penelope is utilised to show her driving up the winding mountain pass.

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Parker confides in his new pal Bruno. So apparently the reason the guests need to stay in the hotel is because they might be needed to fight the fire… or you could just alert the local fire brigade and ask them to tackle it… or have International Rescue do it seeing as they’ll be around anyway… but no, instead Parker decides the best thing to do is to keep the guests occupied with a game… it’ll have to be a seriously good game for them to risk burning to death.

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FAB 1 has reached the station, giving us a better sense of just how large the tower and the dish are supposed to appear.

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Lundgren has been patched up, but Mitchell has been doing all the real work, calculating that although sunrise is at 6:03, the real damage will begin at 6:30. Good thing all the guests in the hotel will be sitting there right in the middle of it.

Over on the other side of the world, the sun is setting on Tracy Island. Grandma remarks on how lovely it is. Touchy subject dear…

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Thunderbird 1 arrives on the scene in Monte Bianco. Unusually, she actually appears to have lights on the tips of her wings which is probably supposed to indicate the fact the sun is only just coming up.

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Scott’s radio microphone has been replaced with a much sturdier looking one. The last one probably just snapped off. Brains really wants to get a better understanding of the situation at the solar station, but they can’t just call them because of that ruddy static which keeps causing trouble. Scott can, however, use the radio camera to transmit shots over to Thunderbird 2. We established in our Operation Crash-Dive review that radio photographs are actually a thing, but the primitive technology is far from resembling what we see in Thunderbirds.

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Thunderbird 2 is shown to be flying in the dark using stock footage from The Man From MI.5.

The sun begins to reflect off of the dish and creates an intense beam of heat. Mitchell is attempting to fix the radio which has been damaged by the lightning. Apparently it’s taken him this long to get around to thinking of calling someone. Penelope announces that she’s swanning off, also mentioning that Lundgren should probably go to a hospital (several hours after he actually took his tumble), oh and by the way, International Rescue have already been called. Thanks for mentioning it. Penelope basically just disappears for the rest of the episode. It looks like they ran out of things for her to do.

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While Mitchell’s been failing to fix the radio, Parker has somehow produced some high quality artwork for his early morning bingo game… and managed to source all of the Bingo paraphernalia… in the middle of the night… in a tiny village… nice job sir!

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He’s even printed his own bingo cards… I know you’ve been working really hard on this Parker, but there’s an apostrophe missing…

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Bruno is given the order to wake up all the guests, starting with the manager… he looks thrilled.

Bruno arrives in Faccini’s room. The grandfather clock which appeared earlier in Penelope’s house pops up again here. The dressing gown hanging over the bed was last worn by John Tracy in Atlantic Inferno. The bed was previously used by Parker in Brink of Disaster. The sound of engines can be heard roaring towards the town through the window which is a rather nice touch.

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Thunderbird 1 begins to dive down for a closer look at the situation. The lights on the wings are switched off now.

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Needless to say, Faccini is far from thrilled about waking up to Bruno’s cheery disposition. But then he learns that Parker is an English lord and immediately changes his tune… I think it’s fair to say that most normal people wouldn’t care less whether the person making them wake up early was aristocratic or not.

Scott pulls off some cool manouevres to get a good look at the dish. Note the ‘TB1’ printed on the right wing which is never seen anywhere else in the series. It’s actually worth mentioning as well that this is Thunderbird 1’s final outing in the television series. In my opinion she was never quite used to her full potential, but she’s still a great looking machine with lots of cool tech stashed away which we got to see every so often when Thunderbird 2 couldn’t quite get to the scene fast enough.

The photographs arrive aboard Thunderbird 2. The printer is the same one previously seen on Williams’ desk in Cry Wolf although it, and the numbered buttons, have been repainted. Brains formulates a plan to simply tilt the reflector up towards the sky so that the sunlight isn’t being bounced down onto the town. One downside, the dish weighs 400 tonnes so it might be a bit of a struggle. Rather than carefully tilting it up towards the sky, they could of course just pull the thing down the mountain which would probably be easier… or failing that, Thunderbird 2 could just hover in front of it to block the sunlight while Parker, Penelope, and Scott evacuate the town like they should have done in the first place… but no, we’ll try carefully tilting the 400 tonne lump of metal instead…

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Faccini has managed to wake himself up remarkably quickly and apologises profusely to “Lord” Parker who does a semi-decent job of pretending to be posh.

That pesky interference has kicked in again, which only seems to happen when convenient for the plot. Due to the poor communications, Jeff decides to put Virgil in charge… he probably just fancied a quick nap. Jeff doesn’t fail to remind us all about his bad feeling.

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Thunderbird 2 arrives on the scene and hovers above the dish. Just go down a bit lower Virgil and give it a nudge!

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Alan and Brains have quite a heated debate about who gets to go down and survey the damage. Brains has certainly gotten a lot bolder in these last few episodes it seems.

Virgil chooses Brains for the mission because he’d probably whine about it more. When Brains leaves the room there’s a very sudden change of puppets and lighting, suggesting that this shot was filmed or re-shot during the production of Ricochet. Even the steering wheel is the other way up.

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Scott agrees to hang around in case any backup is required… just stand on the roof of the hotel with a fire extinguisher, Scott and you’ll probably be helping out a bunch more than you are right now.

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Brains is very sensibly wearing a heat suit and is about to be lowered down onto the dish. You can spot the full-sized safety beam control panel from Sun Probe in the background. This set uses some similar aspects to the winch room seen in Danger At Ocean Deep but has been repainted among other changes.

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The puppet-sized sections of the tower could have done with another coat of paint as the grain of the wood can clearly be seen, when I imagine it should look a little more like metal.

Brains has a splendid old time wandering around on the tower, but pauses for a while when confronted with just how far he could fall down the mountain.

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Virgil is thoroughly cheesed off with Brains for taking his harness off and for generally not taking the situation very seriously. I mean he looks unbelievably cross.

Brains begins to climb up the dish with seemingly nothing to actually hold on to while he does so. He now has a pair of regular puppet hands that have been painted white to simulate gloves, and we get some great foot acting in the live action inserts.

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Alan lowers in Thunderbird 2’s new magno-grab. Let’s hope it’s a tad more effective than all of the grabs which haven’t exactly worked with 100% efficiency in the past.

Alan lowers it down while Brains eases it into position. But all of a sudden he loses his grip! It’s ruddy dramatic!

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Meanwhile, major drama in Lord Parker’s bingo hall! He’s got to check someone’s card! That hotel must have some seriously good air conditioning.

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Don’t worry, Brains is just dandy. Nobody even mentions his little mishap. The magno-grab clamps into place and all is going swimmingly.

Thunderbird 2 starts to gain height and pulls the cable tight. But the dish won’t budge! The drama!

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Virgil decides he has to resort to using full thrust… not sure why he wasn’t using full thrust in the first place… were you saving it for something more important?

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It’s no good. Brains concludes that the rotation gear must be jammed and he requires the use of a laser unit. One laser unit coming right up Brains!

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Over at the hotel, Parker announces that thing are really ‘otting up now! Get it? Because the building is about to catch fire and apparently nobody is allowed to escape… Oh and I guess “number one, give ‘im the gun” refers to Brains being given the laser… how neat.

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Brains locates the jam in the rotation housing. Lots of real mechanical parts have been squeezed inside to look important. The same laser unit is still visible on the wall of the winch room next to Alan.

The hotel is starting to smoke! A big dark patch is is looking seriously hot. This is about to get nasty!

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But don’t worry! Brains has had a bright idea to put a new Thunderbird 1 feature into action. Scott gets to do something – hurrah!

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“Now we’re going like a ‘ouse on fire!” Pun-tastic stuff…

Thunderbird 1’s incredible new ability is apparently to just throw a spanner in the engine mechanisms and see what happens. Actually it’s rather clever – a stream of thick black smoke billows from the back of the craft which will hopefully block out the sun temporarily. Of course it’s easy to say now, but someone really should have thought of that earlier.

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Meanwhile, Brains gets to work on cutting the rotation gear free. Sparks fly everywhere and it all makes our hero look incredibly cool.

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The sun is indeed getting blocked out by the black smoke. I can’t imagine that gadget on Thunderbird 1 being put to any other use, but it’s very lucky Brains installed it when he did.

Brains announces that the rotation gear is free and makes good his escape, throwing in another complaint about the heat suit for good measure. Thunderbird 2 once again gains power to start tilting the dish. It’s really hard to comment on this following sequence because the same shots are used over and over again to create huge levels of tension.

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To cut a long story short, they did it. The angle of tilt on the dish hasn’t actually changed much but they have managed to pull the whole thing over… so they probably should have pushed it all the way down the mountain for good measure…

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Plot twist! A very floppy looking Brains is falling down the mountain! That would account for Jeff’s bad feeling.

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Footage from End Of The Road is used to simulate a large rockfall which has been triggered on the mountain.

The reflector is dislodged and begins to take a tumble down the mountain as well. Brains’ floppy body lands on a very uncomfortable pile of rocks, followed by the dish which lands slap bang on top of him. No explosions this week due to the fact that dishes don’t really do that.

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Well that’s a rather morbid image.

Scott’s asked to provide assistance after the accident. Scott’s really the hero of the hour this week. Alan isn’t very optimistic about this, assuming that Brains simply must be dead.

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Well he isn’t. And let’s be honest, none of us ever believed that he was. Not only was the suit clearly empty when it fell, but also it would be rather dark for a light-hearted episode called Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday to feature the brutal death of a main character.

It’s the middle of the night on Tracy Island, and Jeff is ruddy exhausted, but manages to mention yet again that he always knew something would go wrong with this mission… it didn’t… but we’ll let him have that one. Virgil announces that they’ll be home for breakfast, but Jeff is going back to bed – remarking on the time difference between the locations. Well it would still take Thunderbird 2 a few hours to get home from Monte Bianco, so it probably would be breakfast time by the time they made it back to the island.

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That’s probably why Brains is so confused about the whole thing.

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Back at the hotel, Lady Penelope is back from where ever the heck she’s been. Parker is wrapped in a cloak which looks mighty suspicious. Penny isn’t happy that Parker has been posing as a lord, probably because it implies to the guests that they’re either married or somehow related… which is a bit odd to think about. But with a cup of tea in her, Penny’s rather forgiving and reveals that she’s never heard of bingo. Bingo’s a pretty timeless game so I don’t necessarily buy the notion that in the future, people of Penelope’s generation won’t have heard of it in the slightest. But never mind that, it’s time to hit the beach…

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Parker’s ready to go! It’s probably one of the funniest closing gags of any Thunderbirds episode, and it makes the whole bingo sub-plot make sense now.

There is much about Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday which just doesn’t make sense, however. Where does Penelope disappear to partway through? Why do the guests have to stay in the hotel despite the fact they could turn rather crispy? Why do International Rescue not try a bit harder to block the sunlight from reaching the reflector in the first place? Why is the town at risk of burning at all when the place should be soaking wet from the night before? And most importantly, where does Parker get all of that bingo gear in the middle of the night? It’s all a bit far-fetched and strange, but it still passes as an enjoyable episode. There are some pacing issues, particularly with the overly long launch sequences (which is saying something considering this is Thunderbirds after all).

Considering the title also suggests that this is an episode all about Parker, it’s a shame he didn’t get to be a real hero in all of this. Instead International Rescue fiddled about with a dish on the side of a mountain for a good chunk of the episode. It’s not exactly one of the most memorable or exciting missions, but all of the comic moments are superb and stand out as some of the series’ best. If you want an episode with a good sense of humour, this is the one to watch, particularly as this is Penelope and Parker’s last proper outing in the classic television series, with Penelope just making a quick cameo at the end of Give Or Take A Million.

Next week, a pirate radio satellite is spiraling out of control, plummeting towards the Earth without braking parachutes. Will Thunderbird 3 reach Loman and D.J. Rick *ping* O’Shea in time to rescue them? Stay tuned for Ricochet!

One thought on “Thunderbirds – 30. Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday

  1. Ian Luck

    If you notice, the magnetic grapple is the main crew hatch of the ‘Crablogger’ repainted. This was my favourite episode as a child. The whole episode, although light hearted, has a sense of impending doom – the sun is going to come up, whether you like it or not. International Rescue have to race it, and win.

    Like

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