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A man becomes trapped in the vault of the Bank of England and will run out of air unless Lady Penelope can get Lord Silton, the man who holds the key, to his aid in time. But why is Parker desperately trying to hinder the rescue?

A policeman stands on guard outside the Bank of England in the middle of a foggy night when he hears footsteps approaching. It is Penelope who claims to be lost and asks for directions to the Tower of London. Suddenly the constable is chloroformed by Parker who hides the unconcious body on Penelope's instructions. He then deactivates the alarm and the lights go out, having been on the same circuit. Penelope rigs an explosive on the door and lights the fuse. They take cover and as the clock strikes ten, the door blows apart, opening up the bank. They enter.

Arriving at the vault, Parker begins his safe cracking skills. He is using a stethoscope and is igdignant about using modern equipment. The policeman as beginning to come around. Several hours later Parker has only one more combination to try out. It works and the vault is opened.

The employees of the bank emerge from hiding; the robbery has been a set up all along. Lord Silton, the manager, is particually pleased as he will now be allowed to go ahead with his plans for a new, more secure vault. He promises to come to dinner at Penelope's house. After showing off to the other employees Parker is promised by Silton that any 'trouble' will be taken care of. Outside, the policeman is frantically blowing his whistle for assistance.

Later in FAB 1 Penelope congradulates Parker for his performance. Parker can only think of one other man who could pull of the job and he is 'retired'. All is normal at Parkwood Scrubs Prison until the authorities discover that an escape tunnel has been dug from the cell of one of the inmates. The alarm is sounded but they are unaware that he is hiding a bin.

The next day the new vault has been fitted and Silton shows it to his deputy, Lovegrove. Silton deplores change but is aware that the new vault is necessary to keep England's wealth safe. The only key never leaves Silton's side. It is closing time and so all of the employees exit and are registered. Only Lambert is not present but one man claims to have seen him leave earlier. Satisfied that the vault is empty, Silton enters the key in the lock and a huge metal door slides down. Next the air starts to be pumped out, a move that Lovegrove is particually impressed with.

Unbenknownst to them, Lambert is in fact still working in the vault, having re-entered earlier. Silton is on his way to Penelope's and bids Lovegrove goodnight. Lambert continues to work, unaware that he is running out of oxygen. Having not found Lambert anywhere, Lovegrove begins to think he may be in the vault. He tries to contact Lambert, but Lambert does not wish to be disturbed and puts the radio in his drawer. Lovegrove realizes that he is inside and elects to contact Silton through the emergency call system.

At the Creighton-Ward Mansion, Silton thanks Penelope and wishes he could have a servant like Parker. Parker is meanwhile making fun of Lil, Penelope's cook, who calls him 'Nosey'. She gives him his stew and a paper. He notices that his former cellmate, Light-Fingered Fred, has escaped from prison. Meanwhile, on a truck carrying the bins away from Parkwood Scrubs, one of the bins falls off, rolls down a hill and strikes a tree. Fred emerges, covered in rubbish.

Penelope rings for Parker and tells him to fetch the tea. Silton recieves a bleeping noise from a device in his bag; he is wanted at the bank immediately. Parker comes in just as Penelope suggests that the bank is being robbed and he spills the tea all over Silton. Penelope tells him to clear up the mess.

Lambert is still working, oblivious to the situation. Silton tries to contact the bank over the videophone but Parker cuts the wires. Penelope calls for his assistance. A pair of shears fall out of his waistcoat but he claims to have been pruning roses. Penelope tells Parker to get FAB 1 out and she assures Silton that it can travel at incredible speeds. Parker, however, drives it at a snail's pace. Penelope tells him to speed up but he then takes the wrong turning.

With just 90 minutes left until Lambert's air supply runs out, Lovegrove decides to call International Rescue. In Thunderbird 5, John passes the message on to Jeff. The other Tracy brothers are called up from the poolside and Scott is sent off in Thunderbird 1. He requests Thunderbird 2 with Pod 5 and Jeff decides that Alan can accompany Virgil.

Only half of the air is still left in the vault. Thunderbird 1 arrives at the City of London Heliport with one hour to go. Thunderbird 2 also lands on the heliport shortly afterwards. Unfortunately, due to the number of underground cables, the Mole cannot be used to enter the vault.

Virgil and Alan try cutting through the door. FAB 1 arrives on the edge of a cliff called 'Lover's Leap' in the middle of nowhere. Parker claims to be lost but Penelope has had enough and takes him outside for a word. Eventually, Parker explains how he used to share a cell with Fred. One day Fred declared that one day when he got out he would break into the Bank Of England. Parker thinks that this emergency could be him, and refuses to stop the plan of his friend.

Penelope decides to drive to London herself but when she forgets to go into reverse, they nearly drive off the cliff. Eventually they rejoin the main road, and Penelope drives atrociously, narrowly missing a tree and forcing another car off the road.

The cutting is not going well. Scott has found a weak point below ground but without the Mole it is useless. Lambert is beginning to notice the heat. Scott asks base if they have any ideas as to how to affect the rescue. Grandma suggests that they might be able to gain access from the old, now disused London Underground tunnels.

Using their hoverjets, Virgil and Alan head down one of the tunnels. Penelope drives through a field as a short cut, leaving Parker and Silton terrified. Virgil and Alan arrive at Bank station. Realizing he can hardly breathe, Lambert attempts to get out of the vault, only to discover that the door is shut to his alarm. Virgil and Alan find the weak spot in the elevator shaft. Lambert has only three minutes left.

Virgil and Alan begin to drill their way through. FAB 1 arrives and the bank and Penelope decides to drive more often. Lovegrove urges Silton to use his electronic key to open the door but he has left it at the Creighton-Ward Mansion. Parker has been examining the door and asks for one of Penelope's hair clips.

Lambert is about to call International Rescue when Virgil and Alan blow their way through the back door with an explosive device. He is impressed with the speed of their rescue! Meanwhile, Parker has opened the front door but destroyed the hair pin in the process. Silton and Lovegrove are horrified at how quickly he managed to do it.

In FAB 1, Penelope asks Parker why it took him longer to open the new vault than the old one. Parker explains that the first time he had an audience. Parker is relieved that Fred was not involved after all. Fred blasts his way into the vault, only to discover that two parties have already broken in before him.

Verdict: Penelope's first major outing in the broadcast order is an amusing story, with some mystery as well (Parker's strange motivations). The rescue is also more clever than usual. Worth watching for Penelope's driving alone!
5/6
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Tuesday 10th October 2000 at 6:00 pm and on Saturday 14th October 2000 at 1:10 pm.

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

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