Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday 12 May 1963

This week's instalment of interstellar intrigue begins with a bizarre scene (I know, most unusual for this show) set in a courtroom.  But it's a courtroom run by robots, with a mysterious figure controlling them behind the scenes.  The very odd-looking robot judge requests the verdict of the jury (which includes a couple of the Granatoids we saw a few weeks back).  "Guilty!" they say.  We don't get to see the plaintiff: it's not even certain there is one - perhaps they're just practising, for something to do.

Meanwhile, at Space City, Commander Zero's perplexed by a series of robot thefts.  Four planets have had their most advanced robot nicked.  And considering the universe's greatest robotics expert, Professor Al Himber, visited each of them just before the theft, they're not short of a suspect.  Prof Himber's visiting Space City to lecture - and as Robert's Earth's best robot, Matt Matic instals a burglar alarm inside him.

Himber arrives, looking uncannily like the Spitting Image puppet of the late Margaret Thatcher.  After his lecture he hastens to half-inch Robert, but spots the alarm and decides he needs a craftier plan.  I'd like to point out here that the mad Maggiealike spends part of the episode in a duffel coat - garb you don't see anywhere near enough baddies sporting.

Himber manages to control Robert remotely, and gets him to fly off in XL1 to Planet A2, which the crazed robotician's in the process of transforming into the robotic paradise of Robotvia (wonder if he inspired robot-mad Doctor Who baddie Taren Capel?).  The rest of the XL5 gang fly after him (it's implied it takes them three months to get there, which makes you wonder just how long a period of time all their dashing about the universe is taking place over).  There they encounter "a robotic tank called a blasting machine" which they blow up, only to fall foul of the paralysing gun of its big brother.

Imprisoned by the Prof and his robots, our heroes are subject to a distinctly unfair trial, at which the Granatoid prosecutor embarrassingly blows a fuse.  "No one can make fun of my beautiful robots!" Himber shrieks.

Steve, Matt and Venus are put to work "healing the sick people of Robotvia" - i.e. fixing robots.  Their only hope is if Matt can reprogram Robert and get him to rise up against Himber and his mechanical henchmen.  This plan doesn't go too well at first, with Robert just giving Matt a massive slap.

However, Steve eventually manages to render Robert unconscious - by chucking a hammer at him (this is supposed to be Earth's most advanced robot, remember - depressing thought), and Matt gets to work on making him into a goodie again - having a good puff on a cigar as he works (everybody smokes in 2063).

With Robert's assistance, Matt manages to reprogram enough robots to cause a revolution, bringing poor Himber's dreams of a robotopia to an end.  "My world of robots has been destroyed!" he succinctly observes.

Best coat of arms ever
And you can see for yourself how his world of robots was destroyed right here:

In music news (or olds, if you prefer): The Beatles are still having a lovely time at the top of the singles chart, and what's more, they've achieved their first number 1 LP this week with Please Please Me.  Slightly further down the hit parade, here's Andy Williams, climbing up to number 5 with the magnificent "Can't Get Used to Losing You".

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