‘Alias Mr. Hackenbacker’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is the only ‘Thunderbirds’ episode I didn’t see as a kid. I may have watched a bit of it on BBC Two one time in the year 2000, but I watched this episode properly on DVD some time later in 2015.

I vaguely recalled what it was about when I came to revisiting the episode in 2021. In general, this episode is pretty decent. I wouldn’t say this is an outstanding episode, but it is a lot of fun to watch.

The episode has Brains under the alias of Mr. Hiram K. Hackenbacker. The name was used in the ‘Thunderbirds’ 2004 film, although it wouldn’t be right to say that Hackenbacker is Brains’ real name.

At least it’s not clearly established that Hackenbacker is Brains’ real name. Some might think it is, but I’d like to think Brains has a different identity and he wishes nobody to know about it in the world. 😐

Anyway, Brains as Mr. Hackenbacker witnesses the maiden flight of a new airliner called Skythrust. Commander Norman (voiced by Peter Dyneley) from previous episodes attends this main event too.

Everything seems to be going well for Skythrust’s maiden flight. Meanwhile, Lady Penelope has become involved in a fashion show run by fashion designer Francois Lemaire (voiced by Ray Barrett).

But someone seems to be listening in on the secrets of Francois’ new achievements. Penelope gets Brains to help her out by having the fashion show aboard the Skythrust, hoping no-one will know. 😐

The Skythrust is captained by Captain Ashton (voiced by Paul Maxwell). Paul Maxwell would go on to voice Captain Travers in the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ film. Amazing to find him voicing Captain Ashton!

Once the Skythrust is up in the sky, being the host of the fashion show by the world’s renowned designer, everything seems to go well. Lady Penelope even dons some of these outfits in the show. 🙂

The secret of these new outfits made out of a new fibre called Penelon, in honour of Lady Penelope, is that they can be kept in a tiny box. Wow! I wish we all had miniature wardrobes like that in boxes!

Halfway through the trip and with the fashion show a success, the Skythrust gets hijacked by rival designers who want to steal the revolutionary new fabric. The crew and passengers are in trouble. 😐

The hijackers include Madeline (voiced by Sylvia Anderson) who worked for Francois Lemaire; and Mason (voiced by Jeremy Wilkin), a steward working on board the Skythrust. They mean business. 😐

Clearly being in Francois’ presence wasn’t enough for Madeline. They’re to meet with two criminals in the Sahara desert. They include Ross (voiced by David Graham) and Collins (voiced by Ray Barrett).

Captain Ashton pilots the Skythrust with his co-pilot (voiced by David Graham). There’s another person who works for Francois called Deirdre (voiced by Christine Finn), but she doesn’t betray him.

As Lady Penelope secretly calls for help from International Rescue, Jeff sends Scott out in Thunderbird 1 and Virgil and Alan in Thunderbird 2. They race to the danger zone where Skythrust is.

Whilst trying to figure out how to save Skythrust’s crew and passengers without harming them, Brains reveals some unexpected features about the aircraft. This brings the hijacker’s plans to a halt.

Brains tells Virgil and Alan to make a few passes about the Skythrust in Thunderbird 2. Once under its blind spot, Alan fires a non-explosive missile to hit the Skythrust’s undercarriage. It causes a fault.

Once returning to London airport, Captain Ashton and the co-pilot utilise the Hackenbacker device which no-one else but they and Hackenbacker know about. They land at London airport quite safely.

The Skythrust’s fuel was disposed of in a fuel pod which was fired into the sky. Madeline and Mason are arrested whilst Virgil and Alan pay the two crooks Ross and Collins in the Sahara desert a visit. 😀

The episode concludes with everyone safe in the London Airport control tower. Tin-Tin accompanied Brains/Mr. Hackenbacker to London Airport on that day as he escorts her to well-deserved dinner. 🙂

I found ‘Alias Mr. Hackenbacker’ to be a very enjoyable ‘Thunderbirds’ episode in the series! I wouldn’t say it was a spectacular episode, but it was a lot of fun and I’m pleased I’ve seen it on DVD.

‘Alias Mr. Hackenbacker’ rating – 7/10

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