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  The Mighty Atom

The Hood accidentally causes an atomic power station to explode and only a freak wind saves Melbourne from a radioactive cloud. One year later he attempts to gain the secrets of a second one using a robot mouse.

At an atomic power station in Australia, a group of reporters are being shown around. The guide shows them a plant which pumps in the seawater necessary for the process in use here. The project is to reclaim the desert land. One reporter asks if there is any danger of an explosion but the guide reassures him that it is no more dangerous than any other atomic station.

However, the Hood is present on the site. He ducks out of view as the tour bus passes by. He heads towards the seawater intake point and begins photographing. He is spotted by a guard and fires at him, setting off the alarm. The press and reactor controllers react with surprise. The Hood fires again at the guard but the man ducks away. Instead the bullet hits a piece of machinery marked 'danger'. It explodes.

The fire is soon spreading all over the station as the Hood makes his getaway. The fire services are rushed to the inferno in an attempt to prevent it reaching the reactors. An evacuation is prepared. The Hood vows to make the plans of the station his while the reporters jam the phone booths reporting their story.

Reactor Controller Wade attempts to stop an explosion with the isotopes but without the ability to cut off the seawater it is impossible. Orders are given for everyone to be evactuated as a TX 204 plane lands. People flee to it and it takes off. Moments later their is a huge explosion.

Soon a radioactive cloud is spreading relentlessly across the deserts of Australia. At a press conference, General Speyer tells an astounded audience that the authorities' attempts to disperse the cloud have all failed; if the weather does not change then Melbourne will have to be evacuated. Fortunately, against all the odds, a wind arrives and the cloud is dispersed. The panic is over.

One year later the papers have another headline to report; a second atomic station is to be built in the Sahara Desert. But in his temple the Hood has already made plans for it.



John links Thunderbird 3 to Thunderbird 5 in order to relieve Alan from his spell of duty on the space station. Lady Penelope is staying on holiday on Tracy Island for the first time since International Rescue began operations. She is very keen to go out on an actual rescue. In the kitchen Parker and Kyrano are arguing over who should serve the drinks causing the glasses to fall onto the floor. Grandma determines to visit Penelope one day.

At a guarded top-secret research facility, Professor Holden is holding a demonstration before several scientists. He shows them the 'Mighty Atom', a device that looks and behaves like a mouse but they are sceptical. He explains that it contains a camera and can be used for spying purposes. In response to Professor Langley's question of how it takes the correct photographs he explains that it detects the profile of the human face and thus gets what other people are looking at.

Holden offers to demonstrate. Langley takes the remote control unit and sends the mouse around after Holden taking photographs at the dials he is looking towards. Holden takes the mouse and puts it on a projector. All of the pictures are intact. The other scientists are impressed but Langley has one more question; what will it do if it is seen? Holden explains that it will simply run for cover. Suddenly Langley's eyes glow a fierce yellow causing everyone in the room to collapse. He pulls of the mask revealing himself to be the Hood. Back in his laboratory, the Hood is ecstatic. Now with the aid of the Mighty Atom the secrets of the world will be his!

Penelope is getting bored on Tracy Island and desperately wants to go on a rescue operation. In the Sahara Desert, the Hood drives his jeep onto a cliff overshadowing the new atomic station. Carrying the Mighty Atom he sneaks inside and sets the mouse off. Reactor Controller Collins is examining the reactor rods through a protective shield and it gathers a few pictures of these and other things that Collins looks at. Suddenly Collins sees the mouse and it runs for cover. As he goes out, it takes two more photos. Collins tells Wade whho is now working here about it but Wade is unconvinced. The Hood recalls the Mighty Atom but suddenly has a new idea; by destroying the station he can lure International Rescue to him and gain their secrets.

Alan suddenly comes to Penelope and tells her that Scott is in mortal danger and needs rescuing. Penelope is completely convinced until she hears Virgil and Gordon laughing; it was all a joke. Virgil explains that Scott really is in trouble as he stole some cake from Grandma.

The Hood sets about planting explosives around the station. Collins is still impressed with the scheme to process seawater and make is pure using atomic energy, needing only the two of them to monitor it. The Hood takes cover in the surrounding shrubbery as the explosives go off. The reactor controllers are alarmed but Wade deduces that it was sabotage. Not wanting to risk a second radioactive cloud that might not be dispersed, Wade decides to call International Rescue unaware that this is exactly what the waiting Hood wants.

In Thunderbird 5, John recieves the distress call and relays it to Jeff. Brains recommends taking Thunderbird 4 as the seawater intake will need to be cut off. Scott heads for Thunderbird 1 and Jeff reluctantly allows Penelope to join Virgil and Gordon in Thunderbird 2. Both machines take off.

There is one hour until the reactor blows up. Penelope congratulates the Tracys on their machines. Collins is worried that the saboteur is still present. Thunderbird 1 lands, watched by both Collins and the Hood. Thunderbird 2 hovers over the sea and drops Pod 4 into the water. Gordon drives Thunderbird 4 down into the depths and quickly locates the seawater intake. He reports to Scott at mobile control and stands by to destroy it at the right moment.

The podless Thunderbird 2 lands at the station. Virgil exits leaving Penelope to look after the radio. The Hood sends the Mighty Atom in the direction of Thunderbird 2. John reports to Tracy Island that Scott and Virgil are going into the reactor control room to control the explosion using the rods. Time is running out and they carefully manipulate each rod into position one by one. Small explosions spread across the station and the wires are beginning to smoke. With seconds to go, the rods are all in place and Scott tells Gordon to destroy the intake. Two Thunderbird 4 missiles strike it.

The atomic station begins to shut down; the rescue has been a success. Meanwhile the Mighty Atom approaches Penelope who is reading a magazine. She sees it and begins to scream. A short while later the machines takes off and Virgil finds the story of the mouse hilarious. Penelope wonders where it is.

At his temple the Hood prepares to place the Mighty Atom on its projector and hence find out the secrets of International Rescue. But as he examines the photos all of them are of Penelope screaming. In his anger he smashes the mouse.

Verdict: A mixed bag. The atomic station is an excellent subject of a rescue and the Mighty Atom is a clever idea. I love the very effective sequence with the radioactive cloud. Unfortunately Penelope is quite poorly characterised.
5/6
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Sunday 1st October 2000 at 5:55 pm.

DVD availability: On Volume 4 and the Complete Box Set.

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