‘Operation Crash-Dive’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Here’s another ‘Thunderbirds’ episode featuring the Fireflash! In many ways, this is a sequel to ‘Trapped In The Sky’. I originally saw this story in the ‘Thunderbird to the Rescue’ VHS compilation. 🙂

I enjoyed the episode at the time, but since watching it on DVD; I noticed certain scenes were deleted from it in the VHS compilation. Thankfully I can watch the entire episode ‘uncut’ on the DVD.

In the episode, the Fireflash gets mysteriously sabotaged. Every time a Fireflash plane is sent into the sky, it ends up crashing into the sea before it sinks. International Rescue goes in to save a Fireflash. 🙂

This is when Thunderbird 4 is utilised as Gordon goes underwater to rescue the test flight pilots within the Fireflash aircraft. Fortunately the test flight pilots are saved before the Fireflash explodes.

The scenes cut from the original episode in the ‘To the Rescue’ VHS compilation are as follows. There are scenes where Scott in Thunderbird 1 sets up his mobile control unit at an Irish farm near the sea.

The farmer is voiced by David Graham. I think Scott was being presumptuous in thinking the farmer would allow him to set up his mobile control unit. He didn’t ask permission if he could use the barn.

Once the Thunderbird 4/Fireflash rescue mission is a success, Scott returns home with a basket of farm produce. The farmer must have been grateful to Scott for helping him out with milking his cow.

There are additional shots of the Fireflash taxiing out to the runaway with Captain Hanson piloting it. And yes, Captain Hanson (voiced by David Graham) who was in ‘Trapped In The Sky’ returns in this. 🙂

Other characters in this episode include Commander Norman (voiced by Peter Dyneley) who was in ‘Trapped In The Sky’ and ‘Edge of Impact’. There’s also Lieutenant Burroughs (voiced by Ray Barrett).

There’s the International Air Minister (voiced by Peter Dyneley) and Patterson the Fireflash engineer (voiced by David Graham). There’s also a radar operator voiced by Shane Rimmer in the TV episode.

There are the two test flight pilots of the Fireflash that crashed into the sea. They include the Pilot (voiced by David Graham) and the Co-pilot (also known as Bob) (voiced by Ray Barrett) in the story. 🙂

Gosh, the main Pilot doesn’t get a name and yet the Co-pilot called Bob does?! Why not have him called Nick? He looks like a Nick to me. Unless, somebody else has an even better name for the main pilot.

Incidentally, John Tracy is on Tracy Island whereas Alan is up on board Thunderbird 5. I don’t think John gets to spend enough time away from Thunderbird 5 as he should when watching the TV series.

In fact, I think ‘Operation Crash-Drive’ should have switched places with ‘Sun Probe’ in transmission order. Unless of course ‘Sun Probe’ switched places with ‘The Uninvited’ in the transmission order! 🙂

After saving the second Fireflash that crashed into the sea, International Rescue offers help to solve the mystery of why the Fireflash keeps crashing into the sea. London Airport agrees to their kind offer.

Scott and Captain Hanson take out the third Fireflash where Scott has his specialised IR hardware aboard. Virgil and Gordon follow in Thunderbird 2 and Alan monitors the Fireflash in Thunderbird 5.

Scott and Hanson run into similar problems with their Fireflash as it’s about to crash-dive into the sea. Gordon gets to board the Fireflash to find out what has gone wrong. Some wires have been cut.

He also meets the saboteur that cut the wires. The saboteur is voiced by Ray Barrett and he’s part of an international gang wanting the Fireflash planes ruined. Why they want them ruined, I don’t know.

In fact, when back at Tracy Island, we’re to learn more about the international gang’s plans until Jeff Tracy switches the TV off. I’m with Scott and Virgil, quite annoyed that their dad switched off the TV.

Thankfully, Gordon is able to affect repairs that enable the Fireflash to avoid crashing into the sea. It must have been dangerous though to put the two live wires together so the Fireflash could fly again.

‘Operation Crash-Dive’ is a gripping instalment in ‘Thunderbirds’. I’m not sure if the episode was longer than usual, but it made for a gripping drama as International Rescue saved the Fireflash again.

On Disc 3 of the complete series of ‘Thunderbirds’ on DVD, the SUPER FEATURES include the ‘F.A.B. Fact File’ of Tracy Island, a companion featurette looking into ‘The Characters’ of ‘Thunderbirds’; and a ‘Thunderbirds Rom’ feature showing an in-depth image of Tracy Island to access on your PC or a laptop.

‘Operation Crash-Dive’ rating – 8/10

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