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  Day Of Disaster"Hey! What are they trying to do, blow us to pieces?"

Allington Bridge collapses under the weight of a Martian Space Probe, sending the rocket to the riverbed where its automatic countdown begins; after several hours the engineers inside will be blown to pieces! Only Brains, on holiday in England, can help but first he must convince the sceptical bridge controller of this...

The Allington Suspension Bridge is hit by a storm, causing it to sway alarmingly over the Allington River. Despite reaching maximum stress, the bridge survives into the morning apparently undamaged.




The structure is checked by the controller's men who can find no problems. The controller determines to reopen the bridge under pressure from the minister, despite the worries of his assistant, Dave Clayton, that the Martian Space Probe due to cross the bridge cannot make it.

The MSP is being carried to its British launch site on an enourmous road vehicle as a launch there is more practical; if this mission fails Mars will not be in reach for another four years. Two technicials, Frank and Bill, are working inside the rocket while it is moving.


Brains is staying at the Creighton-Ward Mansion and watching the voyage of the rocket on TV. Brains is looking forward to seeing it blast off as he has been invited to this my Professor Wingrove.




Alan returns to the Tracy Villa exhausted after his sprint around the island. Grandma is worried as someone has eaten her edible transmitter for emergency use only. She goes out to prepare a transmitter dissolver while Jeff attempts to track whoever has eaten it. Establishing that someone in the lounge has eaten it, Scott, Gordon and Virgil leave but it is still detected in the lounge. Jeff agrees to take the dissolver unaware that it was Alan who took the transmitter but covered it up with a story about a light lunch.

The MSP and its police escort begin to cross the Allington Bridge. They make it past the first two towers while the controller and Clayton watch from the control room inside the middle one. Clayton's fears are beginning to come true as the rocket is causing more pressure than was previously thought.

Suddenly the chains supporting the road begin to snap and the road itself crack up. One of the towers collapses and the rocket falls to the riverbed, landing in its upright take-off position. Wreckage from the bridge above rains down completely covering the MSP. Frank realises that the automatic countdown has been set off and when it finishes it will cause the rocket to explode with him and Bill inside.

Having seen the disaster on TV, Brains and Lady Penelope are rushing towards the scene in FAB 1. Three floating cranes have arrived on the controller's instruction to haul the rocket out. Some divers connect a radio link to the rocket and begin to attach lines onto the nose cone.

FAB 1 encounters a roadblock and the police tell Penelope that the roads to the bridge are completely blocked by spectators. Brains heads off on foot while Penelope and Parker plan to arrange a rival attraction to lure the crowds away. Finding some old, deserted buildings Parker opens fire and completely destroys them.

The controller reacts with disgust when Clayton suggests calling International Rescue in case anything goes wrong with the crane plan. Brains arrives in the control tower and voices his opinion that the cranes are outdated and will not pull off the rescue.


Using his watch, Brains calls John in Thunderbird 5 who in turn informs Jeff of the situation. Scott leaves for England in Thunderbird 1 with Virgil and Gordon following in Thunderbird 2, Pod 4 loaded aboard. The wires are now attached and the cranes begin hauling. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that the MSP is too heavy and the lead crane capsizes and sinks, its operators jumping clear just in time.

The controller is only just trying to call International Rescue when Thunderbird 1 arrives. Thunderbird 2 follows an hour later and releases Thunderbird 4 into the river. Gordon describes the MSP's situation to Brains who is coordinating the rescue through his watch, much to the bemusement of the controller and Clayton.

Gordon uses Thunderbird 4's laser torch to cut some of the wreckage away from the rocket. Virgil drops a pair of grabs from Thunderbird 2 and hauls it away, dropping it in a nearby field. This operation continues but it seems that the nose cone will not be clear in time.


With fifteen minutes to go, Brains tells Gordon to fire a missile at the rocket to clear the debris at once. This done, Gordon rapidly approaches the nose cone and rams it. It detaches itself from the main body of the rocket and floats to the surface, where Thunderbird 2 is ready with a pair of magentic grabs to haul it to safety.

The countdown reaches zero and the rocket launches out of the river and into the sky where it completely explodes, causing no casualties. Brains is ecstatic but his behaviour is giving the controller and Clayton particular reason for concern.


R. G. Korda, a psychiatrist, is examining Brains in an attempt to find how why he talks to watches when Lady Penelope calls. Pretending to be Brains' guardian, she escorts him away, paying of Korda. Before she goes Korda sees her reporting to Scott through her powder compact and wonders if he should see a psychiatrist! Later the boys go to tea at the Creighton-Ward Mansion. When Scott answers Jeff's message on the teapot, Brains suggests that he should go and see Korda.

Notes: Extensive footage from this episode is used as a flashback in Security Hazard.

Verdict: Good as rescues go but a little overshadowed by the more interesting things that Thunderbird 4 has done. At least the sequence when the bridge collapses and the MSP falls in the river is well done. Brains' dance at the end is a little silly; no wonder they turned him over to Korda!
3/6
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Tuesday 5th December 2000 at 6:00 pm and on Saturday 9th December 2000 at 2:55 pm.

DVD availability: On Volume 2 and the Complete Box Set.

VHS availability: On Volume 3, the Pod 1 Box Set and the Complete Box Set.

Junior novel availability: Day Of Disaster by Sally Byford.

Photonovel availability: In the 2001 Top Secret Annual as part of the Security Hazard photonovel.