This Indestructible Man – The links between Doctor Who and Captain Scarlet

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Image Credit: Phil Parker (CC BY 2.0, Flickr)

Image Description: Assorted Gerry Anderson puppets

“We can control our own environment; we can live forever, barring accidents; and we have the secret of space-time travel.” (The Second Doctor, The War Games)

“A bullet will make you bleed, you will feel the pain, but after a few hours, even a fatal wound will heal completely. Captain Scarlet, you are still virtually indestructible.” (Doctor Fawn, Winged Assassin)

A report by Captain Sheppard

On the 2nd of September, 1967, the first episode of The Tomb of the Cybermen made its debut on BBC One, marking the beginning of Doctor Who’s fifth season. It was during this production block that Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin took up the reins as producer and script editor respectively, and their approach seemed to continue trends established by Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis. As a result, Season Five emphasised adventure storytelling and reinforced the Second Doctor’s association with the contemporary. Around the same time, however, ITV regional franchises were broadcasting a new television series which was, in some ways, shaped by the same trends and cultural anxieties that guided Season Five’s development. The series, first shown between September 1967 and May 1968, was filmed by the Century 21 team using a process marketed as ‘Supermarionation’: a combination of marionette puppetry and electronic lip-synching mechanisms. Set in the year 2068, the series portrays a future in which humanity has not only colonised the moon but also set foot on Mars. When an expedition to the red planet ends in disaster, a global security organisation is tasked with defending Earth against an alien threat with powers beyond human comprehension. ‘Leading the fight,’ the opening titles announce, ‘one man fate has made indestructible. His name – Captain Scarlet.’

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-68) was one of several television programmes devised by Gerry Anderson, whose involvement with puppetry had begun with The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-58) and Torchy the Battery Boy (1958-59). A dearth of commissions forced AP Films – the production company founded by Anderson and his first business partner, Arthur Provis – to take on the task of producing these low-budget shows, written by children’s author Roberta Leigh. Making the puppets work for film was a major concern, as Stephen La Rivière notes: ‘Traditionally, puppets come from a theatrical background, and in the 1950s even puppets that had graduated to the television screen still retained their theatricality.’ The desire to present increasingly sophisticated puppets would later prove essential in developing the ‘Supermarionation’ process. After the first series of Torchy, furthermore, Anderson had decided that APF should no longer rely on Leigh’s patronage. Provis chose to return to Leigh, leaving Anderson to assume sole leadership of APF. The following years proved difficult. Despite the success of Four Feather Falls (1959-60), which was picked up by Granada Television, the company eventually found itself in financial trouble. Fortunately for APF, a chance meeting with Lew Grade, head of ATV, resulted in a business partnership that would rescue them. Grade commissioned the new puppet series which Granada had declined to pick up. This was Supercar (1960-61), the first to carry the words ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’; invented to describe the puppetry process originally devised for Four Feather Falls, this was a portmanteau of the words ‘Super Marionette Animation’.

Supercar proved successful, particularly in the USA, and pioneered a formula which would be polished and expanded in Fireball XL5 (1962) and Stingray (1964). The company appeared to be going from strength to strength, aided by increasing budgets and a move to new premises in Slough. This would result in a series considered to be its greatest accomplishment: Thunderbirds (1965-66). The series focuses on the life-saving organisation International Rescue, staffed by the ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons: Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John (each named after one of NASA’s Mercury Seven astronauts). Alongside them are a variety of supporting characters, including the engineer Brains, the international agent Lady Penelope, and her chauffeur Parker. ‘The lead up was all very practical, but Thunderbirds was the big thing,’ remarked Sylvia Anderson, whose increasing creative involvement had had a marked impact on APF’s output. Certainly, Thunderbirds was a critical and commercial success. The series’ high budget eventually proved its undoing, however, when the company – now operating under the banner of the Century 21 Organisation – was hit by a double blow. The feature film Thunderbirds Are GO (1966) proved a surprising failure at the box office, and Grade, unable to find an American buyer for the series, chose to cancel Thunderbirds. The decision came as a great shock: ‘We were caught with our pants down,’ Anderson recalled. Nevertheless, it was Grade’s belief that an entirely new concept would be a better proposition than further episodes of Thunderbirds. It was from these stressful circumstances that Captain Scarlet would eventually emerge.

Over the summer of 1966, plans were drawn up for a new series with a global security organisation as its focus.  It was eventually decided that the organisation would be called ‘Spectrum’, and its personnel would have colour code names to protect their identities; in charge of the organisation would be Colonel White, so named because white light is a combination of every colour in the spectrum.  Spectrum would be tasked with defending the Earth against an alien threat, and this was partly a response to contemporary speculation concerning the possibility of life on Mars: Anderson imagined that ‘if such beings existed, and were both intelligent and hostile, then a pre-existing paramilitary organisation would be Earth’s first line of defence’. It was also decided that Spectrum’s base of operations would be Cloudbase, a giant aircraft carrier hovering in the sky; this was inspired by Anderson’s recollections of the Battle of Britain, where launching fighters in time to intercept the enemy had been a major concern. Flying Spectrum’s interceptors were the Angels: a team of five experienced female pilots, codenamed Destiny, Symphony, Melody, Rhapsody and Harmony, who had their own comic strip in Lady Penelope, a companion to TV21. Of course, Tides readers will know that Doctor Who has its own version of Cloudbase in the form of the Valiant, which first appeared in The Sound of Drums (2007). The Twelfth Doctor even calls it ‘Cloudbase’ in Death in Heaven (2012), adding: ‘Mind you, me and Sylvia Anderson, you’ve never seen a foxtrot like it.’ It may not be a coincidence, either, that The Sound of Drums also features an indestructible captain in the form of Jack Harkness, though some of Russell T Davies’ work suggests a distrust of heroic crews (uniformed or otherwise).

As Chris Bentley observes, the format of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons very much reflected contemporary trends in popular culture. 1966 was ‘the height of spymania, a global phenomenon prompted by the enormous popularity of the James Bond films Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964).’ Television programmes such as The Avengers (1961-69) and The Prisoner (1967-68) reflected this phenomenon, and it can be argued that Doctor Who was also influenced by ‘the public appetite for spy adventure.’ Guided partly by a desire to introduce more action-oriented, cost-effective stories, the programme was approaching a revised format which would focus on contemporary settings and feature a strong military presence. With the introduction of UNIT in The Web of Fear (1968) and The Invasion (1968), the foundations were laid for the Third Doctor’s exile to Earth. This is where it’s perhaps most tempting to make a comparison between Doctor Who and Captain Scarlet. Like Spectrum, UNIT is primarily a security organisation dedicated to protecting humanity from alien threats; as the Brigadier explains in Spearhead from Space (1970), they ‘deal with the odd, the unexplained, anything on Earth, or even beyond.’ However, the comparison is a simplistic one, and a better parallel could probably be drawn between Cloudbase – a technologically advanced base staffed by a multinational cast – and the bases seen in stories such as The Tenth Planet (1966) and The Moonbase (1967). Viewers might also be reminded of The Enemy of the World (1967-68), a story which is strongly preoccupied with subterfuge and betrayal, and which has a decidedly international frame: as the Doctor contends with Salamander, the so-called ‘shopkeeper of the world’, the action takes in a range of settings from Australia to Europe.  

The majority of UNIT stories, on the other hand, take place in contemporary England. Unlike Spectrum, which has brightly coloured uniforms and specialised equipment stashed all over the world, furthermore, UNIT is very much a covert organisation. In The Invasion, the Brigadier disagrees with Jamie’s suggestion that UNIT is ‘like a world secret police’, and Liz is told in Spearhead from Space that there has been a ‘policy decision’ not to inform the public of past alien invasions. These are very much details which inform our reading of the Third Doctor. He is often regarded as a conservative, patrician character, but a possible counter-reading is that he is simply trying to assimilate with the society in which he has found himself. Certainly, the Doctor is often irritated by the parochial, narrow-minded attitudes which he encounters during his confinement. For him, military intelligence is ‘a contradiction in terms,’ and he is notably angered in The Claws of Axos (1971):  ‘My dear Mr Chinn, if I could leave, I would, if only to get away from people like you… And your petty obsessions! “England for the English”! Good heavens, man!’ However, this is also an era in which the Doctor is frequently cast as an interpreter, using his skills and knowledge to try and compensate for UNIT’s shortcomings. Whereas the Second Doctor acted as a guide to the modern, making contemporary settings accessible to Jamie, Zoe or Victoria, the Third Doctor is tasked with helping UNIT to confront the unknown; his role is to make the alien comprehensible and, if necessary, beatable. Spectrum, in contrast, faces ‘a force with terrible powers beyond the comprehension of man.’ There is no equivalent to the Doctor who can explain these ‘powers’, and humanity is instead dragged into a seemingly unwinnable war. As a result, the programme’s tone is strikingly grim, even if it is occasionally lightened by story elements such as the hint of a romance between Captain Blue and Symphony Angel (as seen in the episodes Manhunt and Attack on Cloudbase).

Like Doctor Who, Captain Scarlet envisaged a future in which humanity was making new advances in space exploration. In the episodes Lunarville 7 and Crater 101, Spectrum discovers that a Mysteron complex is being constructed on the Moon – which, we learn, has been successfully colonised by humanity. According to these episodes, there are thousands of people living on the Moon, and the lunar population is able to synthesise its own food and water. The concept of a moon base was one which Anderson would revisit in UFO (1970-73) and Space: 1999 (1975-77), and it also echoes 1960s Doctor Who serials such as The Moonbase and The Seeds of Death (1969). The focus of Captain Scarlet, though, remained firmly on the planet Mars, and readers might already have been reminded of The Ambassadors of Death (1970). Here, a Mars probe results in a conflict with three alien ambassadors; this is resolved by the Doctor, who uncovers the truth of the situation and discovers that the ambassadors were actually sent to make peaceful contact. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons begins with a similar misunderstanding, but – crucially – it is one with little or no hope of a peaceful resolution. It begins with a Martian Exploration Vehicle (MEV) and its three-man crew searching the surface of Mars. Pursuing the source of strange signals detected by Spectrum, the crew unexpectedly discovers a fantastic alien city. ‘The first of the Earth space travellers have arrived,’ the disembodied voice of the Mysterons booms. ‘We must welcome them. Let us take a closer look.’ Startled by the camera’s sudden movement, Captain Black assumes that the Mysterons are hostile, and orders the city’s destruction. However, a beam of blue light appears, and the complex is reconstructed just as quickly as it had been obliterated. The Mysterons address the crew: ‘You and your people will pay for this act of aggression. […] Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth.’ 

Gerry Anderson may have envisaged Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons as a ‘war film’, but it was also one where the war was triggered by a terrible misunderstanding. While Anderson commented that he ‘didn’t want to make the Earthmen aggressors’, he added: ‘I’m afraid we are an aggressive people, and so the story was arranged so that the Mysterons were friendly aliens’. These comments hint at an introspective element; here, we have a story which considers the way humanity reacts when faced with the unknown. It’s also a story about the catastrophic consequences of armed forces encountering something that lies beyond their comprehension, and there is an obvious parallel with Nigel Kneale’s serial Quatermass and the Pit (1957). Of course, the Quatermass serials were themselves an acknowledged influence on Doctor Who, and, considering the military presence of UNIT, it was perhaps inevitable that the series would explore similar territory. A particularly notable instance is the Doctor’s anger at the destruction of the Silurian base: ‘But that’s murder. They were intelligent alien beings. A whole race of them. And he’s wiped them out.’ This ends the Doctor’s hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Silurians and accessing their ‘scientific knowledge’; in contrast, Captain Scarlet never makes it clear how its ‘war of nerves’ might have ended. Spectrum’s attempt to negotiate a peace settlement in ‘Dangerous Rendezvous’ ends in failure, and the series has no definitive finale. Even the very nature of the Mysterons remains – well – mysterious. They never appear on screen, and we only hear them as they announce their threats: ‘This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen…’ The Mysterons’ only visual representation is the famous rings of green light projected onto the scene whenever they use their powers on an object or person.

‘If only we were fighting something we understood,’ Captain Brown says in the pilot episode. ‘Something tangible. Something in three dimensions.’ The script for this episode carefully clarifies that the Mysterons are ‘a force which we cannot see but nevertheless a force with an extremely high intelligence level.’ Anderson had been inspired by contemporary speculation regarding the possibility of life on Mars, and he worried that the series would be undermined if it was conclusively proven that this did not exist; therefore, he reasoned, the Mysterons should remain invisible. Some tie-in material offered a slightly different spin on this idea. For instance, the 1967 annual suggests that the actual Mysterons had returned to outer space long ago, leaving behind their automated complex: ‘But the computers, ignorant of the fact that their masters had long since left them, carried out their terrible orders – reconstruct and retaliate!’ The television series itself left matters open to interpretation, but it does show us something of the Mysterons’ powers, as the opening titles remind us: ‘Sworn enemies of Earth, possessing the ability to recreate an exact likeness of an object or person… but first, they must destroy.’ This power of reconstruction is described as ‘retro-metabolism’, and the Mysterons themselves boast that they have ‘discovered the secret of reversing matter’ – a phrasing which suggests some kind of control over the fabric of space and time. Hanging over our first glimpses of the Mysterons is an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere, as the programme makes it obvious that this is a species like nothing known to humanity. As the camera pans across the interior of their complex, we see some of the programme’s most striking and surrealistic visuals, and I was immediately reminded of Doctor Who’s representations of alien planets like Skaro or Vortis.

Most importantly, the Mysterons’ main means of waging war against humanity is to destroy specific people so that they can be replaced with Mysteron-controlled duplicates. Captain Black is himself taken over by the very aliens he once attacked: ‘One of you will be under our control. You will be instrumental in avenging the Mysterons.’ These plot elements very much reflect Cold War political anxieties, and several parallels can be found in Doctor Who and its contemporaries. Many texts are preoccupied with a conflict fought along unconventional lines, where the most important consideration is simply working out who can be trusted. There is the ever-present fear that loyal agents could turn out to be traitors, or that people could have their minds manipulated to make them change sides. A key example here is Len Deighton’s 1962 novel The IPCRESS File. Investigating a series of kidnappings, Deighton’s unnamed protagonist uncovers a process by which the missing subjects have been brainwashed into loyalty to the Soviet Union; in the course of the novel, the protagonist is framed by a traitor and himself subjected to a failed attempt at the brainwashing process.  Examining stories such as these, it becomes clear how Captain Scarlet invites a political reading: from a certain point of view, Captain Black is a rogue agent who has been reprogrammed into following the Mysteron cause, and is subsequently tasked with recruiting others to his side.

Transformed or possessed humans frequently appear in Doctor Who, and Captain Black invites comparison to characters such as Marcus Scarman or Staff Sergeant Arnold. More specifically, subterfuge, betrayal and brainwashing are recurring concerns in Troughton-era serials such as The Enemy of the World or The Evil of the Daleks (1967). Perhaps this can be tied to the era’s supposed reliance on the ‘base under siege’ model – after all, the possibility of being locked in with a traitor must be one of the most obvious ways to increase tension in such a storyline. Doctor Who is often praised for its ability to take something mundane and make it frightening, and what could be scarier than realising that someone you trust has suddenly become dangerous and unpredictable? The anxieties of the period ensure that we are constantly met with deep and introspective fears about the nature of the human mind and the possibility that it could be made to serve alien interests, whether through willing betrayal or forced reprogramming. Set against this background of paranoia, the Second Doctor emerges as a trickster, a mercurial figure. In contrast with the Third Doctor, who is usually seen as a more Bond-esque man of action, this incarnation often relies on deception and double-crossing. He proves well suited to the task of impersonating Salamander, and is able to defeat the Daleks by turning their own brainwashing process against them. 

Perhaps the Second Doctor is a case of still waters running deep, as his outwardly whimsical persona appears to hide darker depths. This reflects the tone of late 1960s Doctor Who, which can be, at times, a grim affair with a high death count and little time for mourning. Similarly, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is a much darker and more ruthless series than any previous Supermarionation production. The puppets were redesigned to have more naturalistic proportions, reflecting the desire for a more grounded tone (as well as abandoning the caricatured look which Anderson personally disliked). Its grim atmosphere contrasts sharply with the generally optimistic attitude of Thunderbirds, which depicted a futuristic society that had been, for better or worse, forged in ‘the white heat of technology’ (to borrow Harold Wilson’s famous phrase). This reminds us of the technocracy of post-war British society, in which traditional manufacturing industries were giving way to new forces such as aviation and nuclear power. Indeed, it is a context in which the Second Doctor stands out as an outcast; he is generally anarchic and distrustful of over-organisation, exclaiming: ‘I hate computers and refuse to be bullied by them!’ In some ways, Captain Scarlet also seems to be moving away from the dominance of new technology, which often proves unable to stop the Mysterons from carrying out their threats. This air of futility is perhaps an attempt to challenge the valorising narratives about war often found in children’s media, as Captain Scarlet emphasises the horror and bloodiness of armed conflict. Certainly, it is something which chimes with the anti-war themes which recur throughout classic Doctor Who, as exemplified by the Third Doctor’s urging in Planet of the Daleks (1973): ‘Don’t glamorise it. Don’t make war sound like an exciting and thrilling game.’ Was it perhaps the case that Captain Scarlet, like some episodes of Doctor Who, was partly influenced by its creators’ traumatic recollections of the Second World War?

The darker tone of Captain Scarlet was clearly established from the very first episode. When the Mysterons threaten to assassinate the World President, Captain Scarlet and Captain Brown are killed and reconstructed in the service of the Mysterons. After an explosive car accident, we even see Scarlet’s body being dragged away while his duplicate looks on impassively; it seems as though the medium of puppets enabled Captain Scarlet to get away with more graphic violence than might have been permitted in a live-action production like Doctor Who. Later, the Mysteron Brown tries to kill the World President by self-destructing, and when this fails, Scarlet is commanded to kidnap the President and transport him to the top of the London Car-Vu, an 800 feet tall viewing platform. In the ensuing fight, Scarlet is shot dead by Captain Blue. When he revives after falling from the Car-Vu, it is revealed that the Mysterons’ hold over him has been broken, and he retains the memories and loyalties of his former self. Having also retained the Mysteron ability of retro-metabolism, which allows him to recover from any injury – even a fatal one – he is ready to become Spectrum’s most valuable asset, a literally indestructible front-line soldier. Oddly, the series never really explains how Scarlet’s original personality is restored, and this makes more sense when one learns that the original backstory was cut. It was initially planned that Scarlet’s Mysteron duplicate would be a robot, with his loyalty being restored by Spectrum’s advanced computers, but this idea was scrapped due to fears that audiences would find it hard to sympathise with a mechanical man who had to be literally reprogrammed into compliance. It’s a change that moves Captain Scarlet away from the stylings of rational science fiction, in which the alien can be explained away as a product of advanced technology, and perhaps closer to supernatural horror.

Many different elements came together to illustrate Scarlet’s indestructibility. Barry Gray composed the music for the series, including the seven-note drumbeat used for scene transitions, while Derek Meddings was one of several tasked with designs and visual effects. Artist Ron Embleton contributed the ten distinctive paintings used in the end credits, which were originally set to a mostly instrumental theme; partway through the series, a new version with full lyrics was recorded by London-based pop group The Spectrum. Behind the scenes, there were also several names that will be familiar to Doctor Who fans. Shane Rimmer, who played Seth Harper in The Gunfighters (1966), is perhaps best known for voicing Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds. He did, however, make some contributions to Captain Scarlet: as well as voicing a number of minor, uncredited roles, he penned the scripts for Avalanche and Expo 2068, and co-wrote Inferno with Tony Barwick. Tides readers, meanwhile, may recognise Jeremy Wilkin as Kellman in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975), or the Federation agent Dev Tarrant in the first episode of Blake’s 7 (1978-81). Wilkin appeared in several Gerry Anderson programmes, and voiced a number of characters in Captain Scarlet, where his most notable role was that of Captain Ochre; despite Ochre’s relatively limited screentime, Wilkin is able to give the character an air of dry, subdued practicality. One last example is Martin King, who briefly appears in The Power of the Daleks (1966) as the Earth Examiner who is shot dead at the beginning of the story. Although he had no regular roles, he played a range of minor characters in Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 (1968-69). Other connections can be found, such as the range of Century 21 props which appeared in Doctor Who after being salvaged by Ian Scoones. An easily-missed example is Captain Scarlet’s jet pack, which briefly turns up in Colony in Space (1971) as the power pack for a hand-held drill! 

More recently, Captain Scarlet saw a reboot which debuted in 2005 under the title Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet. Animated in CGI (dubbed “Hypermarionation”), the reboot saw mixed reviews; while some praised its reworking of the original mythology, others criticised ITV’s poor scheduling decisions. What’s most important to Tides readers, though, is that several episodes of New Captain Scarlet were written by one Phil Ford, who has had considerable involvement with the worlds of Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011). In particular, Ford returned to the red planet in 2009, co-writing The Waters of Mars with Russell T Davies. New Captain Scarlet’s debut, moreover, came just a few months after BBC Books published Simon Messingham’s The Indestructible Man (2004), a novel in the Past Doctor Adventures range. In this novel, the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive on Earth in the year 2096 to find that it has been devastated by the war between a now-defunct organisation, PRISM, and a race of aliens known as the Myloki. Sound familiar? Messingham’s plot draws heavily on Captain Scarlet and UFO, and the novel is crammed with references to other Gerry Anderson programmes. The plot summary also reveals that the author has recognised some of the parallels between Doctor Who and Captain Scarlet; the Doctor is initially suspected of being a ‘Myloki’ puppet, and is later tasked with tracking down Grant Matthews (the novel’s version of Captain Scarlet himself). I’m afraid that I was unable to track down a copy of the book, however, and I have to admit that I was put off by what reviews I could find. It seems as though Messingham’s quest for a realistic deconstruction of the Anderson shows led him to put the Doctor Who characters through the wringer, resulting in a novel that frankly sounds too grim to be really enjoyable. Perhaps someone else will come along to write a more exciting crossover in the future?

Returning to the original Captain Scarlet, it’s clear that the show continues to enthral viewers, and Scarlet’s indestructibility remains very much intact. The show celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, and this was marked by a raft of merchandising – including several audio productions released by none other than Big Finish.  Your author is a recent convert to the show, and I thought it might be fun to take a critical look at this contemporary of 1960s Doctor Who; I can only hope you enjoyed the results of my work. I definitely feel that looking past the puppet strings will reveal numerous parallels with our favourite programme – the cultural trends and political anxieties of the 1960s shaped Captain Scarlet’s vision of humanity in the near future, just as they did for the makers of Doctor Who. Captain Scarlet is perhaps most notable for its depiction of a futuristic base with a diverse, multi-national cast, and Bentley praises both ‘its unflinching portrayal of terrorism and death, and its progressive approach to ethnicity and gender’. This ‘progressive approach’ is most obvious in the programme’s inclusion of the Angels, and in the Trinidadian character Lieutenant Green; as his voice actor, Cy Grant, put it, Green was ‘someone in authority and trust, chosen as a team member for his expertise in electronics. He was embraced by, rather than excluded from, the group.’ Despite its dark tone, then, Captain Scarlet arguably offers a positive vision of humanity in the near future. More than anything else, this echoes Doctor Who at its best – and on that note, I’ll leave you with a message from Colonel White himself. ‘Captain Scarlet is indestructible. You are not. Remember this – do not try to imitate him!’

Bibliography

The following texts were referenced while writing this article:

  • Bentley, Chris. 2017. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault. Cambridge: Signum Books.
  • Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet Annual. 1967. Published by Century 21 Publishing Ltd and City Magazines Ltd.
  • Hearn, Marcus. 2015. Thunderbirds: The Vault. London: Virgin Books.
  • La Rivière, Stephen. 2014. Filmed in Supermarionation (2nd ed.) London: Network Distributing Limited.

I also referred to the web page at http://www.teletronic.co.uk/gerryanderson3.htm, but this is now defunct and I had to access it through the Wayback Machine.

The transcripts accessed at http://www.chakoteya.net/ proved invaluable when quoting from various Doctor Who episodes.

Most of the Captain Scarlet images are screenshots taken directly from the 2015 DVD box set, though the Spectrum Headquarters fan site’s gallery of images (accessed at http://www.spectrum-headquarters.com/gallery2/index.php) was also useful.

No Spectrum officers, indestructible or otherwise, were harmed in the making of this article.

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