Thunderbirds are Go: Review: Series 1 Episode 22: Designated Driver

Alan’s driving lesson from Parker takes an unusual turn…

David Baddiel’s contribution to the Thunderbirds are Go mythos is actually more of a nostalgia-fest than we’ve had elsewhere in the run, with the appearance of the “proper” FAB 1 (called FAB 0 here, although it would have been great if David Graham had given a real twist to his delivery of that line!), Sylvia Anderson guest-starring as Great Aunt Sylvia (another extremely athletic member of the Creighton-Ward clan – just watch how she moves across the room after the two thieves chuck their missile in), and some glorious Barry Gray tributes from Ben and Nick Foster in the closing scene. And there’s even a special place for the Creighton-Ward teapot…

Appropriately for an episode being first shown the day after Christmas, it’s not the most taxing of plots – in fact, it’s probably the most child-friendly of the whole series to date, feeling more like something that’s been resurrected from the Lady Penelope annuals of old. The two thugs have clearly been transported forward from the 1960s to 2060 although Baddiel does give them some amusing dialogue.

Lovely as it is to hear Rosamund Pike and David Graham getting centre stage for an episode, the Lady P episodes of the original series were never my favourites and this does feel like a bit of a filler. Probably best to imagine it cut into an episode where Scott and Virgil are off doing something International Rescue-y, but there is an undeniable thrill to hear Anderson and Graham back together in FAB 1… particularly with the gorgeous underscore.

Verdict: Not the strongest episode perhaps, but gloriously nostalgic. 7/10

Paul Simpson

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