All About Captain Scarlet – “A brave man, and so good-looking…”

In tribute to the late Francis Matthews, let’s take a look at the character that his unmistakable voice helped to bring to life – the indestructible Captain Scarlet.

Captain Scarlet (real name Paul Metcalfe) was born on December 17, 2036 in Winchester, England. This makes Captain Scarlet the first ever British character in the starring role of a Supermarionation series. Having graduated Winchester University at the age of 21, Metcalfe joined the military and began training at West Point Military University in New York, USA. A natural strength in body and mind led Metcalfe to achieve highly in the rigorous training program. He went on to join the World Army/Air-Force and quickly climbed the ranks to become a Colonel.

Metcalfe saw action all over the globe and had built up a razor-sharp skill for leadership and combat strategy. Along with his dedication and quick-thinking, he had the key traits required for a member of the new Spectrum organisation. In 2065, Metcalfe was approached for the position of field agent with the rank of Captain, and given the colour-code name ‘Scarlet’.

ScarletMysteronsAs a result of Captain Black’s misjudged actions on the Zero-X mission to Mars, the Mysterons declared a war of nerves against the Earth and made the World President their first target for annihilation. While on their way to rendezvous with the World President, Captain Scarlet and Captain Brown were both killed in a car crash. Through the Mysterons mysterious powers of reconstruction, Scarlet and Brown were brought back to life, but made to be their instruments of destruction. Captain Scarlet kidnapped the President and his desperate attempts to evade Spectrum forces brought them to the top of the London Car-Vu. Close friend and colleague Captain Blue was forced to gun down Scarlet, who fell 800 feet from the Car-Vu. In a fortunate twist of fate, the Mysterons lost control of Captain Scarlet, yet he retained the power of retro-metabolism. Whenever injured or even killed, Scarlet’s body manages to repair and heal itself. Scarlet had become virtually indestructible. As a result of this, Captain Scarlet became Spectrum’s most valuable asset in the fight against the Mysterons.

Throughout the series, Captain Scarlet uses his incredible powers to prevent the devastation of Mysteron attacks. The episode ‘Winged Assassin’ sees Scarlet put absolute faith in his newly found powers for the first time. He rams the wheels of the enormous DT19 aircraft in an SPV in order to stop a collision with the aircraft of the Director General of the United Asian Republic. While his efforts were in vain, Captain Scarlet’s body once again successfully rebuilt itself.

Captain Scarlet is fiercely loyal both to Spectrum and his friends. In ‘White As Snow’, Colonel White’s life is threatened by the Mysterons, but by stowing away on the ship where the commanding officer seeks refuge, Scarlet ends up taking the bullet that was intended for Colonel White. In the episode ‘Special Assignment’ Captain Blue is very suspicious of Captain Scarlet’s sudden irresponsibility and desertion of Spectrum, unaware that this is all part of a plot to draw out two Mysteron agents.

scarletbluegreenIn one of Spectrum’s most dangerous missions, Captain Scarlet leads a team made up of himself, Captain Blue and Lieutenant Green into the heart of a Mysteron complex on the moon. With the complex facing imminent destruction, Scarlet remains inside until the last moment, trying to extract the Mysterons’ power source.

So whether you believe Lieutenant Green’s claim that “anyone can be brave if they’re indestructible” or not, there can be little doubt that Captain Scarlet is one of the finest and strongest heroes from all of Gerry Anderson’s television series. With Francis Matthews’ voice and the likeness of Cary Grant sculpted by Mary Turner, Captain Scarlet remains an iconic character in the history of television as the dependable hero of Spectrum who can never be killed.

Nothing sums up the spirit of the character better than the song from the end credits of the latter half of the series performed by The Spectrum.

What are some of your favourite heroic deeds performed by Captain Scarlet? Leave a comment down below with your memories of the character.





Written by
Jack Knoll

I've been a Gerry Anderson fan from birth, growing up on the repeats of Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet in the early 2000's. I'm also a fan of Doctor Who and other cult TV series including The Prisoner and Danger Man. I enjoy writing on a range of topics from across the Gerry Anderson back-catalogue from behind the scenes insights to fun and entertaining reviews. In my spare time I'm also a writer and film-maker.


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