Only five of the Anderson shows had what could be considered a ‘Christmas episode’ – and in the case of the New Captain Scarlet episode Enigma, one of those was more of a ‘Christmas scene’ than a full story! With more than a dozen series lacking Christmas episodes, here are five shows that might have been able to produce one had they been so inclined!
What better substitute for Santa’s sleigh than the Marvel of the Age itself? While the series had already served up not one but two episodes featuring Jimmy Gibson’s dreams a Christmas episode of Supercar might also have worked best as a dream, and making Jimmy one of the instigators of the adventure only seems fitting for the time of year. Perhaps after dreaming about reading of the sudden shock disappearance of Santa in the newspapers after flying into bad weather, Jimmy would convince the rest of the sceptical Supercar team that they have to do something. With only Supercar equipped to search the area where Santa’s sleigh disappeared, it could then become a race against time to track the stranded Santa down – and, after finding his sleigh has been damaged, save Christmas by letting him do his rounds in Supercar instead!
From there the traditional Christmas tropes would seem to fit neatly into the world of Supercar, with the team visiting his North Pole home, the horse puppets from Four Feather Falls given antlers to play reindeer, Jimmy declaring this “the best Christmas ever!” and of course Mitch in a Santa suit, all before Jimmy wakes up in his own bed on Christmas morning. Once you actually start to imagine this kind of story, you’ll become half-convinced you’ve actually seen it.
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
What manner of mischief could the Mysterons be making at Christmas? One thing’s for certain – our favourite man in red isn’t going to let them get with it!
Considering the beautiful wintery landscapes created for such episodes as Avalanche, Shadow of Fear and Noose of Ice the Century 21 model effects team could certainly have delivered the goods on a truly seasonal setting. However, unlike the broader and more child friendly world of Supercar, a Captain Scarlet Christmas episode might benefit more just from being set at Christmas rather than heavily playing up the Christmas theming – much like the Joe 90 episode The Unorthodox Shepherd, in fact. After all, it’s difficult to imagine Colonel White allowing the Cloudbase crew enjoying the festive season to excess, nor to think of the Mysterons being so cartoonishly evil (or mean) as to deliberately set out to destroy Christmas! However, perhaps a cryptic Christmas-related Mysteron threat might prove the key to unlocking a larger mystery – and given the time of year it would only be appropriate to allow a larger role in the story for the Angels too.
But let’s not cast the Colonel as a total Scrooge, as surely by the end of the episode he might just relax a little bit, and allow his officers a truly memorable Christmas party!
The Secret Service
Oh deep joy for the celeboldy Christmas time for the Secrety Service, oh yes! Perhapsing Father Unwin, only somewise preparedy for a Christmas sermon, is issued an urgent festy mission from the Bishop, most topsy secret and national securywise! And how yet will the sermon be completey finilode now, when all is terribold and dilly-delayed by case of foreign agents treacherymost? Folly folly, maymiserum.
Yet comen the Christy mornlode, all is deep joy and festivus as t’should be, for Father Unwin and Matthew, haven solven the casey of the minced spies, haven a hearty Christmas feast laid on them a treaty by Mrs. Appelby. And the sermon? Ah, what deep joy tis for Father Unwin to take inspirations up and downs the most recents missiony secret in order tro delivers most finery sermy of his lifebulb, with congregy all heartswarmed and thankymost, oh yes.
Here’s another imaginary Anderson Christmas episode that almost writes itself if you stop to think about it! Since the show’s tone varied from week to week Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s only contemporary thriller series had the potential to take a Christmas story in either a serious or silly direction – might we have seen a conventional story about a gang of Santas embarking on bank heists? Perhaps something more comedic and light-hearted in the style of episode like King Con or Sugar and Spice? Or something more action-heavy similar to the episode Chase – which could easily have been switched from taking place on Harry’s birthday over to Christmas with only minimal changes.
One of the great strengths (and, just occasionally, weaknesses) of The Protectors format being so loosely defined was that it allowed the series to tell any kind of story the writers felt like serving up, and that format could potentially have been mined for multiple Christmas tales. However, the best option might have been to take the opportunity to focus more on the show’s regular characters, perhaps in a story that either touched upon Harry’s relationship with his estranged wife Laura (Hannah Gordon) and son Johnny, or simply saw Harry Caroline and Paul trying to have a good Christmas – only for various villains to keep foiling their plans!
Imagining a Space:1999 Christmas episode depends on which of the show’s two very different seasons you’d choose to place it in. If done in the first season, it might be a chance for the show’s characters to actually stop and reflect on screen about the lives and loved ones they’ve left behind on Earth (possibly with flashbacks?), and ask themselves just how much value the Christmas tradition still has now that they’re so far from home. While it would have to end on something of an upbeat note, perhaps with Koenig making a speech affirming the holiday’s continuing place within the Alphan community, there would still be a slightly poignant tone to the story – can they even know for sure when Christmas is anymore?
The second season already has an episode that could be adapted into a Christmas special with only minimal changes; The Taybor. While not exactly high on anyone’s list of favourite episodes, it does already feature a large jolly bearded man bringing gifts to Moonbase Alpha – so why not go all the way and make him claim to be Santa? He could still later be revealed as Taybor pulling some kind of scam (though with less lusting after Maya please!) but someone claiming to be Santa Claus wouldn’t be out of place in the second season – particularly as certain key Alphans are only too happy to welcome friendly strangers into Command Center without question.
That still leaves several Anderson shows without Christmas episodes – how do they celebrate in Four Feather Falls, for instance? Or Space Precinct? Any UFO landings take place at Christmas? And how does Dick Spanner spend the festive season? If you have any ideas or suggestions for unmade Christmas episodes of any Anderson series, share them in the comments below!