Thunderbirds To The Rescue -  










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  Lord Parker's 'Oliday

"Things are really 'otting up now!"

Penelope and Parker travel to the Italian town of Monte Bianco for a holiday but their relaxation is to be short-lived. A solar dish set up to power the town is struck by lightning during a storm and falls to a position halfway down the mountainside. When the sun rises, its reflected heat will destroy Monte Bianco...

The sun rises over the Italian town of Monte Bianco. Professor Lungren and his assistant, Mitchell, have set up a solar station on a nearby hillside and they begin tracking the sun with the dish, capturing some of its energy. Meanwhile at the Creighton-Ward Mansion, Lady Penelope and Parker are preparing to go on holiday. Penelope tells Parker to regard it as a holiday for himself, which he responds to by wearing his casuals, regardless of the storm gathering in England.

At the Monte Bianco hotel, Senor Faccini and his assistant Bruno are preparing to receive the visitors who are coming to watch the town become the first to be lit by a solar station that night. The superstitious Bruno, however, is convinced that there will be "a great disaster". Penelope and Parker are nearing in FAB 1 as evidenced when the radio signals are blocked out by the mountains.

The sun is now setting and Lungren and Mitchell have stored enough energy on their cyclonic batteries to supply the town for the night. The first storm for two months starts as FAB 1 pulls up outside the hotel. Faccini and Bruno show Penelope and Parker in and soon they are in fancy dress with the other guests. After a speech from Faccini, Lungren switches the town's power over to that collected from the sun with complete success.

The storm is getting increasingly violent as the guests enjoy a meal. Suddenly a bolt of lightning strikes the tower of the solar station. A second bolt destroys the conductor leaving the dish itself attracting like a magnet. Another bolt begins to weaken the tower. Lungren cuts the power, plunging Monte Bianco into darkness, much to the alarm of the hotel guests. He leaves his control room but is too late; the dish falls from the tower and rolls down the mountainside, landing in a position in which it faces the town.

Mitchell helps Lungren back inside as the storm begins to pass. The moon emerges from behind a cloud and its light, when reflected by the dish, illuminates the town. The hotel party recommences. Bruno tells Penelope of his fears and, worried that he may be right, she tells Parker to keep him quiet and make sure no one leaves in case any help is needed. Penelope attempts to call International Rescue from FAB 1 but the mountains still cause interference. She drives down to the sea and, engaging FAB 1's hydrofoils, across it, much to the bemusement of a drunken partygoer on a yacht.

Having gone far enough from the coast, Penelope calls Tracy Island and explains that when the sun rises, its rays will be reflected off the dish and onto Monte Bianco itself burning everything there. Scott takes off in Thunderbird 1 bound for Italy. Alan and Brains accompany Virgil in Thunderbird 2 with Pod 3 loaded. Penelope briefly returns to the hotel and tells Parker to prevent the guests from leaving the hotel before heading off to the solar station. Mitchell has calculated that the sun will start to cause damage in only an hour.

Parker and Bruno have together set up 'Lord Parker's Bingo'. Bruno reluctantly wakes Faccini telling him that 'Lord' Parker wants him. Scott flies over the solar station dish in Thunderbird 1, transmitting photographs of it to Thunderbird 2. Examining them, Brains concludes that they will have to lift the 400 tonne structure into a different position. Parker prepares to commence the game, the guests having been enthused to play by his newly acquired title.

Due to communications difficulties Jeff places Virgil in charge of important decisions. Virgil hovers Thunderbird 2 over the dish and lowers Brains down in a heatproof suit. He lands on the remains of the tower and disconnects the harness to free his movement. Alan lowers the Magno-Grip, which Brains helps to secure on the dish. Brains gets clear of the dish as Virgil attempts to pull it with Thunderbird 2 but even full thrust is now enough to move it.

Brains realizes that the rotation gear is jammed so Alan sends down the laser unit. Virgil sees the hotel beginning to smoke inspiring Brains' next plan. He gets Scott to fly past the dish, using thick smoke to block out the sunlight, buying time while he cuts as the rotation gear. Brains evacuates and Virgil begins lifting again, this time moving the dish into another position. However, Alan sees the white of Brains' suit falling down the mountain. The dish becomes loose again and tumbles down after it, apparently crushing Brains. Fortunately it turns out that Brains had taken the suit off and is safe on the mountainside.

The emergency over, the boys fly home and are looking forward to breakfast but at Tracy Island it is the middle of the night and everybody is in bed. At the hotel Parker apologizes to Penelope for pretending to be a member of the aristocracy. Penelope tells Parker to prepare for a trip to the beach but he has anticipated this and is already in his swimming outfit.

Verdict: It takes a while to get going but in the main this is a very good episode around a novel idea. The rescue is a good one, and particularly effective with Brains apparent death. The star of this episode is Parker who, on his finest outing since Vault Of Death, gets involved in an amusing Bingo game.
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Tuesday 20th March 2001 at 6:00 pm.

DVD availability: On Volume 8 and the Complete Box Set.

VHS availability: On the Pod 2 Box Set and the Complete Box Set.