Stingray – 30. Set Sail For Adventure

Directed by David Elliott

Teleplay by Dennis Spooner

First UK Broadcast – 8th November 1964

“I’ve just been looking at the accounts,” Gerry announced with a sullen look on his face. A mood of gloom and apprehension struck the writers room. “Bob Bell spent far too much money on that galleon set for The Ghost Ship a few months back.” Alan Fennell avoided eye contact with Mr Anderson, feeling ever so slightly guilty for writing such an extravagant set into his script for only a single installment. “So, who has ideas for a cheap script for the next episode to make up the difference?”

Sylvia immediately piped up, “How about a dream episode where Troy…”

Gerry thumped the desk with the anger of a man who didn’t want to produce yet another dream sequence, “No!” Sylvia quietly made a note to persist with her idea for next time.

“You could do a clip show. That’d save you a few quid,” Alan Fennell suggested. He had carried so much of the script-writing duties for the series by this point he was running on fumes.

“I like that. Save that idea for when we’re really desperate for cash.” Sylvia made another note for future reference. “Anything else?”

Dennis Spooner sat up in his chair, stepping up to be the hero of the hour. “I’ll take care of it.”

“You will?” Gerry was surprised. Spooner’s recent scripts featuring an African excursion and a pop star sensation had already cost them a fortune.

“Yes. I’ll re-use that galleon set, and you won’t even have to make any new characters. And we’ll make full use of those water tanks you spent so much money on. It will have laughs, danger, action and excitement!”

Gerry’s face lit up, followed by his cigar.

“That sounds great,” Gerry enthused, “What are you going to call the episode?”

Dennis pondered for a moment, “Ummm… I’ll get back to you on that.”

That lengthy dramatisation of an entirely fictitious writers meeting at the AP Films studio was my incredibly drawn out way of highlighting that Set Sail For Adventure has no on-screen title, re-uses sets and models from The Ghost Ship, and features the second appearance of Admiral Jack Denver. Quite why the episode is missing a title caption is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it was a simple post-production error, or possibly a suitable point to drop it in to the episode was never found. Unusually, the episode opens with a black and white film of a live action sailing ship, supplemented with new model shots of the galleon from The Ghost Ship, specially rendered in black and white to match the stock footage. The combination of stock and new model shots is practically seamless. The epic tale comes to an abrupt end with a caption informing us that this is indeed ‘The End’. Maybe that’s the true title of this episode?

Apparently that was one of Denver’s favourite movies. An all-time great. So great that you can’t find it on Netflix or a DVD – you have to drag your projector and roll of film around with you for a special viewing party.

Commander Shore is less enthused by the picture.

Troy and Atlanta attempt to make an exit before the inevitable argument erupts, but they fail to escape in time. Denver launches into a full blown Daily Mail rant about today’s snowflake aquanauts having everything served up on a plate. Apparently things would be much better if we all just went back to the 1700s and sailed by the stars. You know, that trusty navigation method which definitely isn’t defeated by something as simple as a cloud. Incidentally, the prop for Denver’s projector appears to be a box with various bottle caps glued to it, as opposed to using a real projector like the kind we saw in the opening scene of In Search of the Tajmanon.

Before the admiral has a chance to tell us all how great it was to cane schoolchildren, Commander Shore wakes up.

Shore questions Denver’s taste in movies. Or rather, he questions his taste in watching the same movie over and over again. Then, prompted by absolutely nothing, the admiral takes this to mean that Commander Shore is a wet blanket and doesn’t know the harsh realities of going to sea… Yes, apparently the man who lost the use of his legs in a submarine accident doesn’t know the dangers of the ocean… Denver is having a classic case of trying to make the facts fit the argument rather than the other way around.

Troy and Atlanta have escaped to a room in the Shores’ apartment we’ve never seen before, with plans to avoid the debate and enjoy Duke Dexter’s latest record. We’re celebrating all the most analogue forms of physical media tonight. Incidentally, the tune is I’ve Got Something To Shout About because we didn’t get enough of that one last week.

I’m somewhat distracted by the yellow sombrero behind Atlanta, which was previously seen in X20’s costume room in Count Down and Stand By For Action, and possibly lived an earlier life as far back as Four Feather Falls. Why she keeps such a garish hat next to the record player I don’t know.

Meanwhile, Shore is pointing out the simple truth that people don’t sail around in galleons anymore because they don’t know how. There’s also the fact it’s slow, dangerous, requires a lot of unnecessary man power both in preparation for and during the voyage, and it’s generally a lot less reliable than pretty much any other form of travel in the 21st Century. Look, I know it’s all for the benefit of the plot, but the fact the President of the Undersea Research Program won’t at least admit to the fundamental benefits of modern sea-going craft is rather troubling. Also, he believes in the Loch Ness Monster, so that’s a problem as well. But don’t worry, he’s got a terrific idea to prove, or disprove, his point… I’m not really sure which.

Troy and Atlanta are making an attempt at doing the twist. For all the fun that’s poked at this scene (including a memorable episode of the improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?), it’s a pretty decent bit of a puppetry going on here. I actually think it’s let down more by the vacant expressions on the puppets’ faces, rather than the dance moves themselves. Using Troy and Atlanta’s smiler heads might have conveyed slightly better that they were having a good time. Instead, Troy wiggles towards Atlanta’s flailing, dead-eyed body like a desperate fisherman trying to recover a haddock flapping about on the deck.

The moment is interrupted by the Chuckle Brothers.

For this brief shot of Troy and Atlanta turning around, it would appear that different heads for the two characters are being used. As I’ve mentioned previously, this later Troy head, seen here, was introduced on Christine Glanville’s puppet stage during production of The Cool Cave Man (although it is seen briefly in Deep Heat and Tune of Danger in what one assumes were late pick-up shots). Therefore, what we are seeing here is a brief reshoot, which was possibly completed by Glanville’s unit, rather than Mary Turner’s unit who worked on the rest of Set Sail For Adventure. Why was such a reshoot necessary long after shooting on the rest of the episode was concluded? Most likely an error was spotted during post production, or this additional insert was needed to cut the scene together in a more fluid manner.

We’re then greeted with the most visible indicator of Troy and Atlanta’s ongoing romance that the series has given us so far, as they hold hands for the first time. It’s been pretty clear since the early days that Troy and Atlanta was a more serious and realistic proposition than Troy and Marina. The continued use of the Aqua Marina song in the end credits of each episode has, perhaps, skewed ideas among viewers of just how much the supposed love triangle dominates the series. I would go as far as to argue that it’s only really touched upon in Treasure Down Below, and possibly Troy’s hallucination from Raptures of the Deep (which was written around that song anyway).

Anyway, allow me to study the exact wording of what Admiral Denver says next. He declares, “it’s no secret that we don’t really know what it was like sailing the seas in the olden days. The only way we could be sure, is if we borrowed a galleon from the maritime museum and sailed it clear across the Pacific and back to Marineville.” So based on that, I’m going to say that his objective has nothing to do with proving or disproving whether sailors were tougher back in the day, but is instead a simple research project. Now, gaining knowledge and understanding of history through practical applications is no bad thing. In fact, I think it’s exactly the sort of thing that the President of the Undersea Research Program should be doing. But why he then has to accuse Troy and the Commander Shore of being soft or scared, I don’t know. This is followed up by declaring himself the captain of the voyage because he’s one of the few people in the world with the background knowledge to sail the galleon successfully. Again, making the best practical use of that knowledge and experience is no bad thing. I just don’t get why he has to be such a twerp about it. Denver’s clearly just looking for an excuse to show off his superior capabilities and prove his relevance in a world which otherwise couldn’t give an Aquaphibian’s left flipper about any of this.

A meeting is taking place at Marineville. Ignore the fact it says ‘H.Q.’ above the door, and that this wall is usually seen in the conference room at Washington H.Q. The ‘Positively No Admittance’ sign is almost the same one seen outside Phones’ inquiry in An Echo of Danger but it isn’t – the ‘Meeting In Progress’ part is in a different font, and ‘No’ is on a different line. I’ll wager it was the same Marineville sign-maker who printed it though.

A live-action insert of a thumping fist manages to wake us all up. The paper on the right of the frame once again shows a paragraph from the Stingray Specification for Script Writers, Art Department, Special Effects & Film Directors documentation provided for the AP Films crew. This particular section is from the part entitled Stingray Prepares For Launch At Marineville.

Shore objects in the strongest possible terms to the Stingray crew being used aboard the galleon. Again, ignore the fact that this is definitely the set of the conference room from Washington H.Q. and not Marineville. Denver is all dressed up in his finery just to annoy me. Apparently Stingray is the only vessel which could escort the sailing ship on its expedition. Yet again, we learn the disadvantages of the WASPs only seeming to possess a single submarine and just two fully-qualified aquanauts…

Denver is most insistent that Troy and Phones prepare to set sail and that an escort won’t be necessary. He puts on a pirate voice to be cute, or because he happens to be a raving lunatic, whichever you consider more plausible.

Troy and Phones are concerned. Luckily for Captain Tempest, the commander has favourites, and he’s come up with a plan to save his best aquanaut from the galleon. Phones, however, won’t be so fortunate. I know which of the two of them I’d rather send out to sea on a suicide mission with a mad man…

An ambulance drives past the building previously seen as Stage 2 in Stand By For Action, and parks outside the Marineville Hospital, as seen in Invisible Enemy.

Troy is in bed doing his best impression of an opera singer getting punctured repeatedly with the pointy end of a violin case. It’s a mighty fine performance. Shore and Denver have their bedside manner switched on. The hospital room is pretty much the same one seen in Invisible Enemy with a few bits moved around. The admiral plans to find a replacement crew member himself while Troy recovers from his attack of verbal diarrehea.

If it wasn’t flaming obvious, Troy is only acting. Although, frankly, I think the term “acting” might be a bit generous. He opens one eye to watch Denver leave which is a thoroughly unusual thing for a Supermarionation puppet to do.

Troy is tremendously proud of himself. I preferred it when he was moaning in agony. The chart above the bed is the same one which was used for Thompson in Invisible Enemy, but this time a typed ‘Captain Troy Tempest’ label has been added to cover up the original name. So with Troy off the hook, the plan is now for Stingray to secretly follow the galleon and for Phones to signal a daily status report via flashlight.

Time for a whip-pan transition, which features a surprise appearance from the Marineville control room set on the other side of the studio.

Ready to indulge me? Good. Starting from the right we have Bromley and Kingsland’s boat from Secret of the Giant Oyster, the Stage 2 building we saw a few minutes ago, the crane from In Search of the Tajmanon, the rig from Sea Oil, bits of the unspecified coastal based targeted by Mauritimus in The Big Gun, the galleon itself which previously appeared in The Ghost Ship, the Wadi gunboat from Star of the East, and one of the freighter models which first appeared in The Disappearing Ships. If I missed anything, let me know, and feel free to sound immensely smug about it when you do. The galleon model appears to look exactly the same as it did when it last appeared, aside from the addition of red and green navigation lights to indicate port and starboard. It’s not unreasonable to assume that, in-universe, this is the exact same ship which the WASPs towed back to the maritime museum at the end of The Ghost Ship, albeit modified back to its original, historical state.

Troy is watching the epic start to the voyage from the comparitive safety of Stingray. Marina is back! She was entirely absent from In Search of the Tajmanon and only briefly made a cameo appearance in Titan Goes Pop. It was starting to look like she was gone for good.

Admiral Denver has dressed himself up in a ridiculous captain’s outfit because he just couldn’t care less about provoking my rage issues.

Phones is ordered to cast off, and he does so with the dexterity of a trainee zookeeper trying to wrestle with a python on their first day.

And they’re off! I think that’s supposed to be a little figure of Phones clinging to the rigging for dear life there.

Needless to say, the new shots of the galleon which were filmed for this episode are absolutely magnificent. It’s a beautiful model and it genuinely feels like a massive ship sailing elegantly past the camera. The detail is superb.

Full advantage is taken of the glorious puppet sets originally constructed for The Ghost Ship, with David Elliott choosing some creative ways of showing off the ship and how the characters use it.

Because Admiral Denver seems like the sort of person who refuses to work with women, it basically left him with one man left at Marineville to choose from when replacing Troy. It’s great to get Lt. Fisher thrown into the heart of the action once again, even if he doesn’t look particularly thrilled about it here. As for the outfit, I would have given Denver a good slap if he’d suggested I wear that to work.

At least Admiral Denver is finally in his happy place. I’ve given him a hard time, but I can’t deny that it’s a thrilling idea for an adventure to take a ship like this out into open water. Some regard for health and safety wouldn’t go amiss and a little less toxic masculinity would be delightful, but I can understand his excitement.

Sea shanties mournfully played on an accordion set the mood perfectly. For Phones and Fisher this is not some big adventure, but one step away from slave labour, and all for the benefit of one deluded guy with quite a literal Napoleon complex. As the lads scrub the deck, it appears to warp slightly in the water, suggesting that the wood is in fact nicely decorated paper or cloth for the sake of dressing the set quickly and cheaply.

Back at Marineville, Atlanta is the only person to particularly care about the fact that Fisher has gone missing. Shore admits that it’s very much a problem on the back burner for the moment. So if you were tricked into thinking that Fisher was beginning to get a little more respect around the place, you would be wrong.

Out in the ocean, night has fallen and the water is getting choppy. It’s a taster for the epic scenes still to come.

Phones attempts to use a lantern and some cardboard to send a signal over to Stingray. Of course, it would work a lot better if he’d actually put the lantern on first.

Troy picks up the message successfully which is pretty darn impressive considering the weather conditions, and the fact it’s a tiny light aboard a massive ship, and the fact Phones has nothing but a piece of cardboard to communicate in morse code with. Maybe Troy isn’t as much of a spoon-fed namby-pamby as the admiral might have suggested. And that’s high praise coming from me!

Reporting back to Marineville, the commander just about manages to take some interest in the fact that Lt. Fisher has been forced into Denver’s crew. What’s far more worrying is that Troy doesn’t like the look of the stormy weather. Shouldn’t a weather station have given them all some idea of what the conditions would be like before they set off? Yes, Denver might have ignored that advice, but for goodness sake Troy, you should know better.

Well, at least the ominous weather sets us up nicely for the commercial break and what promises to be an absolutely chaotic second half.

Blimey, things have gotten rough! Yes, both on the puppet and special effects stages, the storm is raging with water sloshing about absolutely everywhere, lightning flickering, and the crew struggling to maintain control of the ship. It’s a spectacular sequence – truly one of the best in the series as far as action is concerned. The conditions are nightmarish and relentless. There is no holding back from anyone involved in shooting these scenes. And, of course, it’s all set to Barry Gray’s fantastic music which has been expertly recycled from earlier episodes.

Marina is operating the headphones to keep track of the galleon’s position while Troy attempts to keep Stingray on course. Atlanta can barely imagine the terrible spectacle unfolding, as if to really sell to the viewer that this is quite something they’re getting to see.

We’re shown the mast, because it would be mighty dangerous if anything happened to that thing…

The puppet set is getting absolutely drenched too. There are two things which make this sequence all the more special. The first is the fact that we now have behind the scenes footage, sourced from Alan Fennell’s estate, of this exact scene being filmed. You can find that on Network’s release of the Super Space Theatre compilation movies, The Incredible Voyage of Stingray and Invaders From The Deep. As expected, the silent film shows us the soaking wet conditions that the puppet team were working in to achieve these shots. The second amazing thing about this scene is David Elliott’s wonderful anecdote about Reg Hill during the filming of this sequence. While the electricians were concerned about all the water creating a hazard in the studio, Reg Hill (the most health and safety conscious person at AP Films by all accounts) was suggesting they knock a hole through the wall of David Elliott’s stage, so that the water could just spill out and extinguish the flames next door on John Kelly’s set, where the forest fire scenes would have been in production for Tune of Danger. So not only do we have the behind the scenes footage showing us what working on the set was actually like, we have that great insight into the kind of brilliant chaos that was going on as you walked from one stage at AP Films to the other.

Sometimes, puppets can do much more exciting stunts than real actors would ever be allowed to attempt. Fisher getting flung into the air as he wrestles with the broken sail is the type of thrill ride I wouldn’t dare to attempt if you paid me.

The waves are colossal but still scale perfectly with the miniature galleon because of the high speed photography. It would be easy for all this to look like a toy boat getting thrown around in a bath, but I don’t think there’s any question that this looks as close to the real thing as you could get. There are big Hollywood productions that couldn’t achieve this kind of realism.

The puppets are now getting great big buckets of water chucked straight at them. And yet, the puppeteers maintain control of their characters. The operators haven’t given up just because there’s water going everywhere. Phones, Fisher, and Denver still look like they’re struggling hard to keep the ship in one piece and that’s because the puppeteers are working through the storm, just like their characters. I also can’t help but point out that the costumes are so wet that Phones and Fisher’s white trousers have gone see-through, and you can therefore make out the pattern of their socks and what could even be their underwear (but is more likely just their hip joints). Nevertheless, if you’re into wet-look puppets, you’re welcome.

Things go from bad to worse when the mast is struck by lightning and explodes spectacularly. The lightning was likely drawn on to the film in post production, similar to how John Read would paint on the flashes from guns firing in early series like Four Feather Falls and Supercar.

The mast tumbles straight on to Denver’s head. In reality, that’d probably kill him, but apparently we’re keeping the tone light in this life or death situation and he’s just knocked out.

Not so tough now, are ya?

Makes Splash Mountain look like amateur hour.

Phones has taken command which is honestly such a relief. Fisher is ordered to drag the admiral into the cabin while the new captain bravely tries to steer the ship alone.

We’re treated to some comic-book-style camera work as we dramatically rush towards Troy to hear his report, while Atlanta’s listens in intense sharp focus.

So-called “search planes” are launched once the storm has cleared, which gives us another opportunity to enjoy footage of the WASP Spearhead Bombers taking off, as seen in Emergency Marineville, although one shot has been flipped to try and deceive us into thinking it’s a new shot. I’m not caught out so easily!

Back on Stingray, Troy is using his great powers of observation and completely fails to find the galleon which he was supposed to be keeping an eye on. Marina is dreading the thought of being stuck with nobody but Troy and the Shores to talk at her for the rest of her career.

Aside from some tatty paintwork, the galleon doesn’t look too bad after its battle with the stormy sea. The model sails straight into the camera, although we cut away just before it has the chance to bonk the lens.

Fisher and Phones debate giving up on the whole ordeal while Denver isn’t around to argue with them. Very sensibly, Phones doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of yet another one of the admiral’s tantrums when he wakes up, and so it looks like they’re continuing their voyage across the Pacific and back. Of course, what they should have done is turned around and gone back to Marineville anyway, and simply tricked Denver into thinking he’d been asleep for the entire voyage across the ocean. Anyone familiar with the cold open to The Office episode, Company Picnic, will know what I’m talking about.

Denver wakes up in the cabin which, you guessed it, is also a set from The Ghost Ship. The camera struggles to focus in order to simulate the admiral’s scrambled brains. It turns out that the crack on the head has made him lose all memory of who he is or why he’s on the ship. By studying the uniform he puts two and two together and decides he’s a real captain from the 18th Century. Such is the danger of realistic cosplay. Then he makes the mad decision to try and pretend that everything is totally fine. I’m sure that will go swimmingly for you.

Let the confrontation begin. Admiral Denver has chosen to put on a silly voice to demonstrate his authority just in case waving a gun in the air didn’t quite fulfil the requirement. Phones plays a cunning trick on his forgetful superior by calling him “Captain Tempest” without any objections. That proves he’s lost the plot. Normally he would take great offence at being compared to Troy “can’t-steer-a-boat-for-toffee” Tempest.

Gunfire commences when Denver gets awfully worked up about the possibility of a mutiny. Considering this was just a voyage for research purposes, why the heck was he allowed to bring a working antique firearm aboard? Anyway, now Denver intends to dispose of his crew in a lifeboat, just so we can get through all the classic tropes of the swashbuckling pirate genre. It’s quite a shame really that we never got a plank-walking scene.

Look, I know she doesn’t do much, but I’m just glad Marina’s in this episode.

Offering very little resistance, Phones and Fisher are cast off in their little boat. Sure, it rather limits their chances of survival, but at least they’ll get some peace and quiet. Captain Maniac continues ranting and raving about sailing the seas alone which is all any of us wanted in the first place.

Back projection footage is used to show the puppet-sized lifeboat moving away from the model of the galleon. Fortunately, the immense detail on said model makes this shot passable.

I can’t shake the opinion that they’re a lot better off now than they were on the galleon.

Commander Shore has certainly gotten through a lot of cigars this week! We then encounter the slight disadvantage of having Marina listening in on the hydrophone, in that she can’t actually report a sounding herself so Troy has to hear it for himself anyway. Never mind, at least it’s some sort of job for her! Meanwhile, Fisher is bailing out the boat with his hat because apparently that’s just the way his day is going.

Miraculously, the tiny sounding enables Troy to locate Phones and Fisher, who whoop and cheer to attract attention. It’s all rather charming, especially because their matching sailor outfits are simply darling.

Those filing cabinets which magically reappeared in the control room last week have vanished again just to spite me. Atlanta has arrived, with her WASP hat making a surprise appearance. The commander shares the news, which conveniently helps to get any audience members tuning in late for the episode bang up to speed.

I don’t need to remind you that Denver is a complete lunatic, so decides that Stingray is actually a pirate ship in need of blowing up. I know he’s got amnesia, but that’s quite a vivid imagination he’s got there. Of course, the large Stingray model looks absolutely gorgeous next to the galleon.

In order to serve up some more lovely piratey goodness, it’s time for some cannons to fire and boy do the special effects team deliver on that front. The blasts are absolutely immense.

Luckily, Denver has good, but not perfect, aim and so Stingray just gets splashed a bit.

Everyone aboard the sub is okay except for Fisher who has bruised his buttocks… I assume.

Even the tiny cannons on the model pack a good punch.

Fisher objects to being parked so close because he’s one of those soft namby-pamby aquanauts the admiral despises so very much. To be fair, you’d complain too if your buttocks were bruised.

It turns out that, yet again, Troy is using his colleagues as bait. It’s his favourite trick, and unfortunately it works every single time which is why he gets away with endangering his friends so darn much. I think these shots of Troy swimming are from the filming of An Echo of Danger.

I’ll say one thing for Admiral Denver, he certainly knows how to load a lot of cannons very fast indeed without any help.

Presumably Troy left Stingray through a hatch underneath, rather than the main hatch at the front. Otherwise he would have been seen and/or blown to bits. Instead, here he is sneaking up on Denver, who really shouldn’t be enjoying all this so much.

Just when I thought I could gush no more over these action sequences, the special effects team have synced up the pyrotechnics so that a tiny charge on the galleon goes off to represent the cannon fire, followed a second or so later by a much larger explosion in the foreground to show the shot striking. Keep in mind that this is being shot at high speed so the gap between those two bangs would have been miniscule in real time. What incredible attention to detail.

Oh, go on then, one more trope so Gerry can really say he got his money’s worth out of this set.

Troy heroically kicks Admiral Denver in the head with all the diplomacy of an ape who’s lost his banana.

Because the best way to treat a head injury is with another head injury. Might as well crack the skull on all sides just to even things out.

Over at the Marineville Hospital, everyone’s favourite Doc is putting in a surprise cameo appearance! He doesn’t have any sunny optimism to share with us today, keeping his cheery bedside manner to himself, but it’s nice to see him all the same.

Denver’s found his own voice again, which is a relief. If he hadn’t, I would have immediately prescribed a third crack on the head.

Treating the lunatic very carefully, Shore, Troy and Phones manage to establish that the amnesia is cured and Admiral Denver is back to his old self… I won’t be breaking open the champagne. Needless to say, I don’t feel the need to cite a medical journal when I say that amnesia can’t be flipped back and forth with repeated concussions. However, I will offer you the alarming statistic that 42% of Americans, and 26% of Brits, believe that a second blow to the head actually will cure amnesia, just like it does in the movies. Yikes.

We know that everything is back to normal when Denver dares to irritate Commander Shore once again. Just like the episode Loch Ness Monster, the story concludes with Admiral Denver claiming to have come out of this whole incident totally victorious, despite the fact he basically didn’t.

Has anyone mentioned to the admiral how great retirement is? It would suit him very well, with the added benefit that he wouldn’t be able to risk the lives of the WASPs any further. Ah well.

Set Sail For Adventure delivers pretty much everything you could possibly want from an exciting adventure on an old-timey sailing ship. Sure, the plot has to take some unusual twists and turns in order to get you there, but boy does all that pay off. The decision to feature Bob Bell’s magnificent galleon set again was a very wise decision, as was letting the special effects crew loose on the model. Both the puppet and model material is some of the most realistic and stunning footage that the studio ever produced. I also think the tone of this episode has just the right mix of drama, action and comedy. Moments like Troy’s amusing fake illness don’t distract away from the great impact of the storm sequence which genuinely feels like a life or death situation. All our regular characters get a decent amount to do and putting Admiral Denver at the heart of the action this time around works well. I’m glad he doesn’t put in too many appearances because the bickering and grouchy pomposity would get very tiresome. It would have been all too easy for the plots of future episodes to just become more ridiculous challenges set by Admiral Denver in his fierce rivalry with Commander Shore. Instead, Stingray maintains its wonderful variety of adventures, and keeps on playing with tone and putting different characters in the spotlight so that viewers are kept on their toes.

Next week, get ready to hear a Tune of Danger as the WASPs’ very own jazz band gets mixed up in a musical misadventure which could have explosive consequences! Will Troy be able to stop the show before he burns alive?! Find out, right here on the Security Hazard blog…

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Further Reading by Century 21 Films Ltd.

Filmed In Supermarionation by Stephen La Rivière. Third edition published in 2022 by Century 21 Films Ltd.

Stingray: Adventures In Videcolor by Andrew Pixley. First published in 2022 by Network Distributing.

Can a bang on the head cure amnesia? by Claudia Hammond. Publised in 2013 by BBC Future.

5 thoughts on “Stingray – 30. Set Sail For Adventure

  1. I don’t mind this one to be honest, there is good amount of comedy and drama in it. But I personally prefer to see the WASPS fighting REAL enemies, rather than a boneheaded Admiral Denver. I have noticed something interesting about the Marineville hospital, they seem to rely on their patients using old fashioned wheelchairs rather than giving them hoverchairs like Shore’s. Bit weird, what could be the reason I wonder?


  2. When I was a kid, the frequent appearance of analogue media in Stingray like record players seemed like an amusing future anachronism – my Dad had just sold all his vinyl! But now, with the news that vinyl is outselling CDs around the world, suddenly Atlanta just looks like a cool audiophile!

    Do you have any insights on whose radiogram is whose? This one is different from the one shown earlier in the series that has two speakers mounted on poles at either end of the unit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d have to study earlier shows like Fireball to say for sure but to my knowledge it’s a new piece of set – I checked it against the one shown in Marina’s apartment in The Man From The Navy and it didn’t match.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some sources such as Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet: The Authorised Programme Guide by John Peel wrongly give the title of this episode as Set Sail for Danger.


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