Thunderbirds -22. Danger At Ocean Deep

Directed by Desmond Saunders

Teleplay by Donald Robertson

First Broadcast – 3rd February 1966

There is much that is unsaid or downright odd about Danger At Ocean Deep. Firstly, it has nothing to do with the Cliff Richard song, Ocean Deep, from 1983. That much is clear. Secondly, nothing actually takes place deep in the ocean as the title suggests. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, most of the plot is held together by the thinnest of threads that don’t make any sense. The thing is though, the story carries on with such conviction that you may struggle to notice what it is about the episode that doesn’t make any sense. My mind was somewhat blown when I sat down to watch this one again and I realised that I had been fooled for all these years into thinking this was a pretty solid episode with some interesting features. Maybe it still is, so let’s dive in…

This one’s about a boat apparently. Two boats to be precise. And fog too. Lots of fog.

So, this is Ocean Pioneer I. It’s certainly an impressive looking cargo ship, beautifully rendered in a nicely detailed model. This larger model of Ocean Pioneer pops up again in the Captain Scarlet episode The Launching… which is also about a boat… but not this one. There’s an odd shot of the ship taken from above as the camera follows it which just doesn’t quite look right – there’s a toy in a bath tub quality to it. The music makes up for this though, borrowing from the rousing soundtrack composed for Stingray a great deal in this episode.


Liquid Alsterene is a completely fictional substance, but it’s highly combustible so we can assume something bad is going to happen to it.


We track along to the control room where three nicely uniformed gentlemen sit and admire the view. Captain Johnson is portrayed by the puppet seen as Lansfield last week in Cry Wolf. Tidman from The Man From MI.5 has stepped in to the role of Collins. The unnamed commander is voiced by John Tate, whose voice was last heard all the way back in Sun Probe. It is fair to assume that John Tate joined the cast when recording Danger At Ocean Deep, as he provided voices consistently in episodes 22 to 28 (with the exception of The Duchess Assignment), and would therefore have re-voiced Camp in Sun Probe (episode 4) at that point, rather than being involved in that episode’s original recording session.

Johnson announces that there will be six more tankers like Ocean Pioneer going into service. The Commander, who appears to be some sort of rival boat manufacturer (hence the different uniform), wants to catch up to that amount with eight tankers like Ocean Pioneer. Everything’s a competition with some people. We learn that Ocean Pioneer weights 120,000 tonnes but is simply controlled by three men. Assuming the rival Commander isn’t one of those men, that means somebody is missing from the control room right now.


According to Collins, the reactor is starting to overcompensate. That basically means it’s getting a bit out of control. Oh the boat is atomic powered by the way so you know it’s going to be just fine… Collins reads off some numbers as Johnson attempts to ‘trim’ the reactor.


Meanwhile, the ship is heading for what looks like the end of the world…

Johnson is only the tiniest bit bothered about the bizarre, thick, and sudden fog. Meanwhile, the reactor is getting to ruddy dangerous levels. Maybe there’s some sort of connection? Ocean Pioneer continues onward regardless…


After a tense few moments of not having a clue what’s happened to the ship, a blinding explosion makes everything clear.


Things aren’t going terribly well as Ocean Pioneer starts to blow up spectacularly with some great fireballs.


We’re left with the wreckage of the ship floating around in the fog. The numeral we saw on the side of the ship earlier was an ‘I’ rather than the ‘1’ which can now be seen here. The title card announces that this is Danger At Ocean Deep – which, as we discussed earlier, doesn’t make much sense because nothing takes place in the depths of the ocean. It’s a good opening sequence which sets up a dark mystery. As Thunderbirds episode openings go this one sets an incredibly morbid tone.


So apparently the last Ocean Pioneer mission went so well they decided to try it again without making any changes to the ship whatsoever…


Lady Penelope is standing by to launch the ship because even in the future this sort of frivolity will still be going on. The circus theme from the Fireball XL5 episode Flying Zodiac is in full swing. A bizarre variety of flags are strewn across the dock. Apparently Greece had an awful lot to do with the launching of Ocean Pioneer II.


In the back of FAB 1, Parker’s up to mischief. He’s gotten thoroughly sloshed with a fellow chauffeur by the name of Stevens. He will later turn up as Straker (not that one) in Give or Take A Million. This scene is pant-wettingly funny and is just so well done. Everyone knows somebody who gets in this state after a few drinks… particularly when they’re drinking pint after pint of champagne… The fact that the trouble was gone to just to make Stevens a lighter version of Parker’s uniform is marvellous.


It’s tricky to catch them all in one shot, but visible in the crowd at the launching are an unidentified lady in a fur hat, Bob Williams from Cry Wolf, Professor Holden from The Mighty Atom posing as the mayor, Sir Jeremy Hodge from The Perils of Penelope as Lord Worden, Dave Clayton from Day of Disaster, Southern from 30 Minutes After Noon, Lambert and Lord Silton from Vault of Death, and finally the ghosts of that Commander from Ocean Pioneer I, and Collins who was also on board that lost vessel – back in his guise as Tidman from The Man From MI.5. Maybe they both made it back to port alive? Maybe somebody in the puppet department hadn’t read the script properly…

With a bottle smashed firmly on the hull of the ship, Ocean Pioneer II slides down the dock into the water with a very steamy splash. It passes a couple of the floating cranes from Day of Disaster on the way down.


A couple of onlookers are enjoying the spectacle… one of them is definitely Scottish so we’ll assume they’re both Scottish. The chap who drops his ‘bonnet’ is later seen with much longer hair at the art gallery in The Duchess Assignment. The guy standing next to him in the cap is seen there too. The odd thing about this shot is that the man in the cap looks child-sized compared to the other man. I’m guessing that’s just perspective playing strange tricks.


And now viewers, you have to listen to this news reporter drone on for a bit. This wonderful caricature of a typical dull English news reporter is another great creation – it’s a pity he didn’t enjoy the exposure that Eddie Kerr and Ned Cook have received. He does, however, later pop up in the departure lounge in The Duchess Assignment wearing the same outfit.

A few members of the International Rescue team are watching the launch at home… because in the future watching a ship launching will still be the thrilling televisual event that it is today… It is revealed that the disappearance of Ocean Pioneer I was six months ago, and in that time apparently nobody has thought it might be a good idea not to try the project again. Lady Penelope is interviewed briefly but the reporter gets a bit tired of her cheery disposition and cuts things short. The ship was launched from Clydeside, Scotland (probably chosen because writer Donald Robertson was himself Scottish) which is an odd choice geographically considering it has to go all the way around to the Mediterranean. Jeff is now waiting to hear a report from Penelope.


Stevens has legged it and left Parker snoozing in the back of FAB 1. Plasticine has been stuck over his eyes to simulate eyelids. I doubt the Parker in the new Thunderbirds Are Go series would ever be caught in this state.

Penelope is baffled, but hardly what you might call surprised, by the sight that lays before her. There’s a giant film reel leaning against the wall behind her. Parker explains hilariously that he ‘slitched’ the champagne bottle for launching the ship with a bottle of tonic water. Apparently the year 1998 was a good year for champagne… 1998 being 32 years in the future when this episode was first aired. Not at all worried about the fact she’s going to have to drive herself home (we hope), Penelope has a call to make to Jeff.

Penny’s claimed the back seat again and it turns out her plan to launch the ship was all a ruse. Well, I mean she did actually launch the ship so it wasn’t that much of a ruse, but the real plan was for her to give Ocean Pioneer II the ‘once-over’ which presumably means Penelope gave the entire ship some sort of inspection. They’re deliberately vague about it because I can’t really imagine Penelope wandering around a cargo ship and knowing how to spot flaws in the engineering. She could have been looking for saboteurs which frankly would have made the story much more interesting. Maybe that rival Commander chap on Ocean Pioneer I was committing industrial espionage and planned to take down the fleet one by one. But no, that wasn’t the plot we ended up with… Jeff is left with a mystery to solve. The boys aren’t the least bit concerned that a ship with a history for blowing up at random has just gone out to sea again so Jeff has to explain it to them in simple terms. Tin-Tin tells us to forget the whole thing temporarily…

Which is exactly what we’re going to do because John is reporting in a completely unrelated incident. Everyone needs to drop the whole Ocean Pioneer thing for a bit because we’re going to have a random disaster slapped into the middle of the episode. It’s a good one though. A typhoon has just hit the island of Oahu and a hospital is nearing collapse. Cor! That sounds good! There’s no way that could be disappointing… Jeff’s just relieved that the tanker isn’t in trouble… because apparently a whole hospital full of people is nothing compared to three sailors on a boat…


Scott immediately blasts off on this thrilling assignment. Rather oddly, the launch music only otherwise heard in Trapped In The Sky is used here during the Thunderbird 1 launch.

In between changing to horizontal flight and reporting in to base, Scott has removed his hat. He announces that Thunderbird 2 will be needed… which I would have thought was a given by this point in the series…

With Alan due to relieve John in Thunderbird 5 soon, Gordon is given the task of flying with Virgil. That’s probably for the best, Gordon’s known for being quite good with water. Alan looks like Gordon’s just stolen his roller skates.


In an act of rebellion, Alan parks his behind on Jeff’s desk after Thunderbird 2 blasts off.


As Scott reports in, something very strange happens. His sound starts to cut out and the picture develops some interference. The effect is very well done. Hope it doesn’t stop us enjoying the incredible action of International Rescue fighting a typhoon…

The dialogue exchanges in this scene don’t really fit together all that well and makes things a little unclear. Brains is immediately called up to the lounge and deduces straight away that they’re also out of touch with Thunderbird 5… Nobody has actually tested that theory but everyone just goes along with it anyway. Virgil’s call is equally dogged by the interference. Then Jeff says, “Yes, but it cleared itself then, didn’t it?” which doesn’t make any sense at all as we have no idea what he’s referring too. Then Scott calls back in and Brains says, “Yes, Mr Tracy, but the interference signal appears to be much stronger this time.” This also doesn’t make very much sense but one assumes he’s referring to Scott. My only guess is that in the script this scene is meant to go on for a bit longer with Brains and Jeff pausing to study the interference as it goes in and out. For some reason the whole thing has been rushed through and all we really know for definite is that there’s some interference and it has something to do with transmissions via Thunderbird 5.


In no mood for wasting time, Jeff sends Alan up to Thunderbird 5 early with Brains accompanying him. How exciting, we’re getting an impromptu Thunderbird 3 launch! That means the typhoon rescue will have to be really exciting to watch to compete…

Against all odds, the special effects team have gone to the effort once again to film a version of the Thunderbird 3 launch sequence especially for this episode with little figures of Alan and Brains riding on the couch. Considering the series’ fondness for using continuity breaking stock footage I’m very surprised that this exists.


As Thunderbird 3 hurtles into orbit, ominous music sends us towards the commercial break. The next part is going to be great because aside from Thunderbird 3 docking with Thunderbird 5 to solve this interference thing, we’ve got the big, main, spectacular event of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 tackling a huge storm and holding up a hospital during an epic struggle to evacuate the building. It’s going to be the best adventure ever!

No typhoons yet, but Brains and John are about to depart Thunderbird 5 with a recording of the interference for analysis. In this digital age in which we live it’s rather satisfying to watch the reels of tape doing their thing.


John quickly takes control of Thunderbird 3. We don’t get the satisfaction of actually watching him pilot the craft, but it’s nice to know he can do it…


Sure hope John knows the way home…

The interference continues but Tin-Tin is bored of looking at Scott so just stares at the sun with her shades on… looking a bit strange. Kyrano comes in looking very concerned indeed.


Basically he’s here to remind us all what the plot is. All communications are down which is bad when you’re trying to co-ordinate rescues. Kyrano essentially prods Jeff with a stick to make him more and more worried about the situation.

Tin-Tin announces that only the four of them, presumably Jeff, Kyrano, Tin-Tin, and Grandma, will be having lunch. This is one of those rare moments when all of the Tracy boys and Brains are away from the island. The sound of a plane can be heard which Kyrano believes to be the “mail plane” – the only indication given in the series as to how all those newspapers actually make it to Tracy Island. But no…


It’s Thunderbird 1 returning to base. That’s right, the whole typhoon is over and done with. The most exciting sounding rescue in the whole series and we missed it. Instead we had to watch everyone standing around worrying about a reel of tape. Fortunately this is the only occasion in the classic series that something like this happens. The writers probably realised how incredibly disappointing it is to not show a rescue on screen at all. Anyway, Scott’s all muddy and has no way of contacting base so just has to hope the pool will be ready for him to touch down.


Scott waltzes into the lounge in his filthy uniform and announces all the cool stuff we missed like the isolation ward of the hospital collapsing. Stop teasing us Scott! Apparently transmissions between Thunderbirds 1 and 2 were still possible which Jeff is far more interested in than finding out how his boys saved an entire hospital full of patients from disaster.

Tin-Tin reminds us all about the Ocean Pioneer plot, randomly announcing that the “inter-telecast on Ocean Pioneer II is almost due.” That’s basically a complicated way of yelling, “ya programme’s on!” Jeff, what are you really planning to learn from watching a TV show about Ocean Pioneer that Penelope won’t have already found out from investigating the ship thoroughly? Surely if he just told the relevant authorities that International Rescue were interested in preventing another disaster they would just tell him everything he needed to know…

With a quick glance at a muddy Virgil and Gordon, Thunderbird 2 completely transforms into a different shape and a new paint job between shots.


Thunderbird 2 touches down on the runway, the first time we see this done successfully in the series. The thrusters set fire to the ground. She lands with the front facing the cliff house, whereas later in the series she turns around before touching down.


Tin-Tin’s back in those dreadful sunglasses and Scott has gotten changed as they await the arrival of Thunderbird 3.

Some time later inside Brains’ laboratory, work has begun on analysing the interference recording. Brains asks Tin-Tin to keep the sound in her mind and you can actually see her thinking very hard to try and manage that.


Jeff takes notes with a very long pencil as he watches an unconvincing miniature of Ocean Pioneer II sit in a bath. The narrator announces that Ocean Pioneer carries “200,000 tonnes of nature’s latest aid to mankind, liquid alsterene.” We still don’t actually know what alsterene is at this point but apparently it’s pretty great.


Is anyone believing that this little model is a 120,000 tonne ship carrying a 200,000 tonne load? The full size model is much more impressive.

This is the crew of Ocean Pioneer II. The Captain is a grumpy fellow who moans at Lieutenant Jensen for blowing on the siren too much. Jensen was last seen as Captain Blacker in The Man From MI.5. The Captain also has a Number 2 who doesn’t say or do very much except for having a snazzy moustache.

Everything is going swimmingly so far. The skipper has a quick look out of the window using some rectangular and very cool looking binoculars also used by Jeff in The Duchess Assignment. Ocean Pioneer II chugs along happily.

Progress is being made in the lab. Scott is being helpful by sitting as far away from the experiment as possible. Jeff arrives grinning from ear to ear for some unknown reason. He steps in the door which bears the label ‘AUTOEXIT’. Not sure what’s so autonomous about it but there you go. Part of the control panel from The Hood’s submarine in Desperate Intruder can be seen propped up against the wall.


Using some cool mechanical grabbers, Brains slowly moves test tube A, a high density liquid fuel, towards test tube B, a low density substance called OD-60. As they get closer together they produce ‘high impedance waves’, thus blocking out radio waves and causing the interference over a certain distance. Okay, so presumably chemicals A and B were somewhere near the International Rescue machines during the mission? Is it because Thunderbirds 1 and 2 use a high-density liquid fuel? But how did that cut off Thunderbird 5 from Tracy Island?  And how has this never happened before?


As Brains demonstrates, things are about to get a whole lot more messy…

The two chemicals get closer and closer until exploding in a spectacularly bright fireball. They’re both fictional substances so I guess anything is possible. Brains reveals that ‘A’ is in fact alsterene… I’ve heard of that somewhere before… Brains also reveals that OD-60 is a sea fungi used in dog food which is usually found following the currents of the Gulf Stream.


Brains very vaguely asks if Scott “has a fix” and apparently Scott has used “Alan’s orbits and the time of the black-outs” to track… something… to the Mediterranean Sea. So I suppose the logic is supposed to be that because Thunderbird 5 was orbiting above the Mediterranean at the time, the chemical reaction was taking place there and the ‘high impedance waves’ traveled all the way up into orbit and blocked out all contact with Thunderbird 5, and thus between Tracy Island and Thunderbirds 1 and 2. It’s a bit far-fetched isn’t it? It would also appear that the political landscape has changed a bit in the future with the U.S.S.R having reformed somehow according to Scott’s map.


Tin-Tin reveals that Lady Penelope is the agent for the job of finding out whether there’s any OD-60 in the Mediterranean. She was on the panel judging the Allpets poodle competition, and Allpets use OD-60 in the dog food they produce. It’s a tenuous link, I’ll give you that.


With that big grin still on his face, Jeff predicts some doom and gloom as he works out that Ocean Pioneer II is carrying alsterene through the Mediterranean right now… so was it Ocean Pioneer II that was causing the interference then? But that ship had just left Clydeside, Scotland when Thunderbirds 1 and 2 were flying out to Oahu, meaning there was probably no alsterene anywhere near the Mediterranean at the time. The whole plot of Danger At Ocean Deep sounds incredibly clever until you actually think about it for a second and realise the whole thing makes no sense. Anyway, if Jeff’s theory is indeed that Ocean Pioneer II is heading for disaster, he should probably try and tell somebody while the ship is still contactable…

Ocean Pioneer II charges onward as the fog rolls in again. 75 miles away from the coast, Jensen loses contact with Port of London, Pioneer Base. They start to discuss having a reception committee before the radio dies. If they’re 75 miles from the coast in the middle of the Mediterranean then they’re pretty far away from needing a reception committee in London… Anyway, the dreaded interference has kicked in.


But we won’t be watching International Rescue use some initiative and head straight out there as quickly as possible. Instead we’ll wait for Penelope to confirm everything we basically already know. So here we are at Allpets H.Q. Many of the buildings were last seen in 30 Minutes After Noon.


Penelope’s outfit is one of my favourites from the entire series and it’s a pity she didn’t take it out for a spin more often. Keeping her wardrobe ship-shape was a top priority by this point in the production. She changes outfits an awful lot more in these latter episodes. Sir Arthur’s desk and chair were previously seen in Eddie Kerr’s office from The Impostors. Penny is pretending to be writing something all about dogs in a new book of hers and wants information about OD-60.

Sir Arthur obliges by revealing a map on the wall marking the known locations of OD-60 in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida. The wonderful, bumbling Sir Arthur is another great guest character. The puppet only pops up again briefly in the background of the Paradise Peaks hotel in The Cham-Cham. He reveals that his company have dumped some OD-60 in the Mediterranean to cut down on shipping costs. He just can’t be certain that it’s actually flourishing. I think it’s fair to assume that the destruction of Ocean Pioneer I confirms that it is flourishing.

As FAB 1 leaves the area, the car pass one of the reactor units from The Mighty Atom. Penelope announces that there is indeed OD-60 in the Mediterranean. Thank you for confirming what the audience at home were already pretty certain about Penny.


Sure enough, as Ocean Pioneer II approaches the area, the implausible chemical reaction begins to produce that loveable fog…


Scott yells at the radio in an attempt to contact the endangered ship and sure enough he can’t get through. Maybe if someone had mentioned to them earlier that International Rescue were working on something that might involve Ocean Pioneer II, they could have at least stood a chance… Virgil finally takes some initiative and reminds everyone there won’t be an emergency call coming in so it’s time to launch Thunderbirds 1 and 2!


One can struggle to maintain interest in Ocean Pioneer when we’re shown the same shots of it going past camera again and again.


The reactor starts going out of control, just like it did on Ocean Pioneer I. It’s presumably caused by the chemical reaction but we don’t really know why this would happen. The Captain tries to control the ship manually but to no avail. The speed increases.

Things are starting to get a bit hairy!

With the reactor running out of control, the radiation shields are lowered… even though they’d basically be sitting on top of whatever nuclear explosion went off so the shields would be useless. The question is whether Ocean Pioneer I or II have any lifeboats because nobody seems to be that bothered about abandoning ship.

As the ship carries on into the fog, the Captain sounds the radiation hazard siren to alert all the other stupid twerps in the area who decided to take their boats into the middle of the uncharted, freak fog. You can just about make out the fact that the back of the boat erroneously says ‘Ocean Pioneer 1’ on it.

The ship’s engines are tearing themselves apart until there’s a sudden explosion on the top deck…


The vent pumping air into the room suddenly shuts off. The sign below it reads ‘Ocean Pioneer’ even though it read ‘Ocean Pioneer II’ a few moments ago.

The engine has come to a halt as Ocean Pioneer II drifts further into the fog. With the radiation shields down and no air supply, the crew are starting to become weak. Number 2 has already given up on the day.

The Captain finally requests that Jensen calls International Rescue. No lifeboats then…


Scott is almost there already. He’s decked out in part of his radiation suit from The Mighty Atom.


Is that John?! Yes, that’s right, for the only occasion in the entire series, John Tracy is actually going to participate actively in a rescue operation. Maybe this is his moment. This is how John will prove himself and take on all the cool missions in the future. He’s going to become the most daring action hero of the International Rescue organisation! Radio communications are poor because of the chemical reaction.

The Thunderbird 1 model used during Cry Wolf spreads its wings and touches down on the deck of Ocean Pioneer, the lettering visible on the belly of the craft as it was last week.

The crew have passed out except for poor Jensen who continues to struggle with the radio.


Virgil and John attempt to find the ship through the fog. It’s still really bizarre to see John aboard Thunderbird 2.


On the deck of the ship, Scott attempts to contact the crew via a device attached to the radiation shield. They’re not really listening though.

Scott gets weirdly excited when he sees Thunderbird 2 emerge from the fog. They spot the ship from above and John prepares to go into action… how thrilling!


John clings to a ladder which begins to descend. Here comes the hero of the day!

Being lowered down from that height is nothing to a guy who spends most of his life in orbit! He’s kept on his lilac boots with the radiation suit which is a little bit chuckle-worthy.


For some odd reason Scott has ordered Virgil to clear off during the rescue… even though it would save time to keep Thunderbird 2 there – after all, it’s not really in the way, and it had a hard enough time finding the ship the first time round.

Scott begins to cut through the door with a laser beam. John arrives to check how it’s all going and then… well he just sort of stands there. The door is soon cut down and it’s all just a bit too easy.


But now the door is cut down, exposing the crew to the fog. But surely they aren’t safe from the fumes that are swirling around! Surely Scott and John are wearing those suits for a reason…

The water starts to bubble and boil in a rather terrifying manner. The fog and the bubbling does look extremely haunting on screen. So rather than going in and doing some actual rescuing while he has the chance, John just stands outside talking to Virgil. Could Scott really not let John take the lead just this once?


Scott seems to get weirdly emotional with the Captain, really hoping he pulls through and holding his hand and shoulder a bit intimately…

Thunderbird 2 arrives again after a brief and pointless absence. Sharp-eyed Jensen spots that the craft is colliding with Ocean Pioneer’s antenna – starting the fire which probably causes the rest of the ship to blow up… nicely done… I blame Scott.


Returning the unusual sentiment, the Captain attempts to thank Scott who abruptly announces that the ship is about to explode. Apparently that comes as quite a surprise to the Captain…


As the sea continues to slosh and swirl, John climbs on to the ladder which has presumably also been climbed by the Ocean Pioneer crew.

Thunderbird 2 flies away fast just before the fireworks begin. Through the dense fog one can just about see Thunderbird 1 blasting off.

And up she goes pretty spectacularly!

John is slightly grubby from the rescue… even though he was wearing a mask the entire time. Virgil attempts to contact Scott but there is no reply… probably because the radio he’s staring at looks more like a bicycle headlamp. So, did Scott make it? Is there any sense of genuine drama left in this episode? Well of course Scott’s fine because we saw him take off just now… it’s not much of a surprise…


Showing off a bit, Scott zooms across the water of the Mediterranean and out of the chemical hazard they left behind…


Back at base, Scott and John are having an ugly shirt competition. I reckon Scott has John beaten on that one. John reckons that they should have towed Ocean Pioneer out of the danger zone. When you think about it, not only would that have saved the incredibly expensive ship and its crew, but it would have saved the surrounding area from being subjected to anything nasty resulting from the exploded nuclear reactor, or the liquid alsterene. John feels it would have been good and daring to attempt the manoeuvre, and probably would have made for a better spectacle overall for everyone watching at home.

Jeff interrupts the debate to test which of the boys knows what they’re talking about. John has apparently only been out on a dozen rescues. I want to see those! Scott claims to have been out on all of them. If you want to believe that you should therefore watch Danger At Ocean Deep before The Perils of Penelope then be my guest, but I’m guessing this was just an oversight by Donald Robertson and script editor Alan Pattillo who wrote The Perils of Penelope himself. It’s just a throwaway piece of dialogue which you can’t take too seriously. Jeff apparently thinks that just because Scott has done more rescues, John’s argument is invalid. There’s probably a very good reason why John is never seen back on earth again after this episode – because Jeff has made it abundantly clear that he despises John and doesn’t value his opinion in the slightest!


Jeff delivers a great speech to wrap up the story about International Rescue’s core directive being to save lives that are in danger, because the genius of humankind can repair all of the engineering  catastrophes that go on. Rousing stuff, firmly putting John in his place.


With that, he gets back to his ‘Arts’ magazine with a smirk on his face, bringing the episode to an end.

Danger At Ocean Deep has so many opportunities to be exciting. Not showing a single part of the typhoon rescue is a big let down. I know it’s not what the episode is about, but if they had to have a rescue happen off screen, why couldn’t it have been something a bit more dull so we wouldn’t have minded missing it?   Then there’s the fact John goes out on his one and only rescue… and does nothing. The rescue mission itself isn’t very exciting either. Scott just cuts through a door which we’ve seen done multiple times by this point in the series. Penelope’s role in the story is also kept to an unexciting minimum. The whole script just needed spicing up a little bit.

The scientific reasoning behind the destruction of Ocean Pioneer I and II may well be nonsensical but at least it provides a bit of drama and intrigue to an episode which otherwise plods along a bit slowly with endless shots of the ship travelling from right to left, and fog building and building and building. Overall, Danger At Ocean Deep falls a bit short and is one of the more forgettable episodes of the series. But don’t worry, there are some crackers coming up.

Next week, she’s a gambling aristocrat from Royston, and he’s a busineesman from New York with a fondness for gazelles – it’s a match made in heaven. But when The Duchess of Royston’s ‘Portrait of a Gazelle’ is rented out to Mr. Wilbur Dandridge III, crooked forces are at work to ensure the Duchess never reaches New York! Yes, this is a real Thunderbirds episode – it’s The Duchess Assignement.

7 thoughts on “Thunderbirds -22. Danger At Ocean Deep

  1. An odd episode. The ocean fog is definitely creepy, and the invisible ship exploding, and the lone bit of flotsam is quite dark in tone (but nowhere near as chilling as the ‘DT-19’ wreckage, and the shot of it’s replica flying over it, from the Captain Scarlet episode ‘Winged Assassin’.) I’m also fond of the totally hammered Parker and Stevens scene, and of the laboratory scene, particularly as Brains is definitely in charge here; “Not so fast, Mr. Tracy…” Definitely a lesser episode. Always annoyed that John didn’t get to do more in it, too. When I was a kid, I never liked Alan, and so, in my games, using the Kellogs figures, and astronaut figures (No dedicated figures then, kids, although a Spanish company did later make a really nice set of polythene figures to about 1/35 scale – I only managed to get a couple of packs last year, by the way), Alan was always in Thunderbird 5, and it was John who drove the Firefly, etc.


  2. One of my fave episodes – because John is finally getting to go on a rescue. Alan really shows as being a spoiled brat in this – because I seem to remember he also chides John and reminds him that he and Brains came up early and John “owes” him time. I always wondered how much time Alan owes John, because we see a couple of times where Alan actively tries to put off doing his shift on Five. I also find it amusing that on the way back from the typhoon, Virgil;s hair is an absolute mess, and whilst Gordon is muddy, his hair is (as always) immaculate. (really – both John and Gordon have amazing hair…..)Ones does have to wonder why Gordon wasn’t sent on this rescue – after all water IS his “thing”.

    But it was great to see some brotherly squabbling, and I am thinking Jeff was amused by it because it’s something he remembers from his boys all their lives.

    But yeah – Poor John. Banished forever to Space! Bound to be remembered by his father as “oh yeah – that blonde one in space”. It’s Ok Johnny – your incredible hair styling will never be forgotten by us!


  3. I really would have enjoyed more scenes of the brothers being a little competitive like the great epilogue in this episode. And how did Scott get out of ever doing any monitor duty, anyway?


  4. John Tate in fact did provide voice work in The Duchess Assignment – he’s the voice of Brophy, one of the casino crooks. Listen carefully and compare it with other characters he voiced. If Tate redubbed Solarnaut Camp in Sun Probe then I wonder why they didn’t get him to revoice other guest characters? He could have been a film crew member in Martian Invasion, one of Warren Grafton’s crooks in Brink of Disaster or a character in Move – and You’re Dead as those episodes were being extended at the time. I have seen sources saying Tate voiced one of the scientists in The Mighty Atom but I’m not sure. I don’t know why he wasn’t asked to voice any characters in Thunderbirds Are Go since it was filmed between the two series.
    Back to the episode. It’s a bit of a forgotten one really which not many people talk about. I guess it’s memorable for showing John on a rescue. (I wonder what his dozen other rescues were?) Donald Robertson must have been more sympathetic to the character unlike Gerry Anderson as John was on Tracy Island in Desperate Intruder.
    Given the title, one would think Thunderbird 4 will have a part in the rescue. Shame the yellow submarine wasn’t needed then the episode could have been another ‘Mighty Atom’ – blown opportunity like in the previous episode Cry Wolf when the yellow sub could have been shown amongst the pod vehicles.
    Great review as always.


  5. I have been a fan of this series all my life.
    Since I was born until now that i am 29 years old
    I live in México D.F. and I have Asperger syndrome
    I had to whatch the broadcast on channel 5 in the 90s
    the champagne bottle is a 1998 vintage
    just that year a videocassette one beta where this episode was recorded; i lost it
    I don’t remember what happened to him but since I carried everything everywhere and between 1999 and 2002 I was without several episodes
    because I had all of them
    recorded but i carried everything everywhere and then I lost my characters or my movies
    at the end of 2002 when they sell the complete series in Mix Up and then in 2007 they show them in Retro, so i recover the episodes
    I also have the vehicles and characters
    Mathbox figures


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