Saturday, 1 November 2014
Sunday 1 November 1964
Any viewers disappointed that Stingray hasn't yet scaled the heights of lunacy achieved by its predecessor, Fireball XL5, should be well pleased by tonight's charmingly silly episode. On a foggy lake which we deduce from Barry Gray's sweetly hokey music is in Scotland, there's a stirring in the waters and, as it roars to the surface, grumpy American tourist has his boat overturned by the...
The disgruntled fisherman turns out to be Admiral Denver of WASP, who relates his tale to the highly sceptical personnel of Marineville (note that Atlanta has acquired a new hat). Exasperated by Commander Shore's refusal to believe that he's seen the monster, he orders that the crew of Stingray be assigned to look for the creature.
Atlanta, whose mother's relatives were Scottish, yearns to come along, but is sorrowfully resigned to Marina being the only female allowed aboard Stingray. But Marina's decided that due to the amount of land travel required, she can't be bothered to come along, creating an opening in the ship's crew.
Somehow, Marina has acquired an utterly bizarre-looking pet named Oink, who I believe is supposed to be a seal pup. Whatever it is, it manages to be immensely irritating in its very brief screentime, its voice (all it says is "oink", obviously) sounding very like that of Fireball XL5's Zoonie the Lazoon - a thought to strike terror into even the stoutest heart.
Snapping up the chance of a trip to Scotland, Atlanta continues to showcase some tremendous fashions - including (she obviously put a lot of thought into this) an Inverness cape. In preparation of their arrival at the Loch she, Phones and Troy watch footage of various supposed monster sightings, all of which prove utterly naff.
Troy can be seen putting his hand on Atlanta's shoulder as Stingray speeds through the Scottish countryside on the back of a truck. Without Marina around, he's obviously decided to make do.
Eventually they arrive at their destination, the forbidding Castle McGregor, which overlooks the loch. Brothers Jamie and Andy McGregor, who claim to have seen the monster many times, prove extremely genial hosts. "Ye've the makings of a real Scotsman, Phones" says Andy McGregor, in a voice somewhere between Groundskeeper Willie and Monty Python's Ewan McTeagle, when Stingray's co-pilot praises the haggis.
But when the Rayers head for bed, the brothers exchange a sinister chuckle as they plan for the monster to scare off their guests.
Having taken Andy's words to heart, Phones dreams of doing Scottish country dancing in a kilt outside the castle.
A strange noise in the night awakes our heroes, and Atlanta looks so fetching in her Gothic heroine get-up that it seems almost churlish to point out that it's perfectly light enough for her not to need that candle.
Phones worries about bumping into a ghost, while Atlanta's understandably startled by a scary portrait of a McGregor ancestor.
The trio discover a small, bare room which, inexplicably, Andy McGregor then exits from. He explains that the strange noises they heard were all caused by the ghost of Sandy McGregor.
As the aquanauts set off next day in search of the monster, the McGregors laugh diabolically on their battlements, doing that strange thing of raising their hands in the air that Supermarionettes always do when laughing.
Stingray descends, and is given chase by the boggle-eyed serpent.
Troy eventually fires a missile at the creature, creating a huge explosion and revealing that it was, in fact, just a mechanical model.
Back at the castle Troy and the gang find the McGregors in their secret hiding place, mourning the destruction of the monster: "The beastie's been verra verra badly damaged." "Och, Jamie! We've been discovered!" The McGregors confess that the monster was built by their great-great grandfather, and has been operated by generations of McGregors as a means of increasing the tourist trade. The strange noises the night before were the creature being tested. They beg the WASP agents not to tell.
And taking pity on the poor old Scots loons, Troy tells Commander Shore they saw the monster but couldn't catch it, leaving commander and admiral to get back on with arguing over whether it really exists or not.