Give or Take a Million

I said to F this afternoon that I would watch his choice of episode from classic Thunderbirds, and he picked one called Give or Take a Million. It turns out to be a Christmas episode (1966), with most of the story related by the International Rescue team to their guest, a child who has won the random draw for Christmas dinner at Tracy Island. The plot, such as it is, revolves around two bank robbers trying to exploit a rocket delivery of Christmas presents for their own sinister purposes.

It is great. There are some masterly bits of Thunderbirds filming, with many scenes cutting seamlessly between someone’s hand picking something up, and then the puppet character holding it; and there’s a brilliant moment when one of the robbers slides through the hole they have cut in the wall on an overhead cable. (I was straining to see – did they lock the puppet in place, and shove him through? Or was the hole in the wall actually open at the top to allow for the strings?)

I couldn’t help but compare and contrast with the most recent episode of Doctor Who, shown exactly 40 years later, which also had a Christmassy theme. And to my delight, right at the very end, Brains pulls the same trick as the Doctor does at the end of The Runaway Bride – he makes it snow!

Checking up on the net to finish this post, I discovered that this was actually the last ever episode broadcast of the original Thunderbirds series. Well, unlike some, they went out on a high.

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