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All the nice boys love a sailor

A submarine is five days overdue, after losing contact during an attempt at a record-breaking circumnavigation of the globe, when it's spotted way off course by a pair of lighthouse keepers. When a Naval officer boards it, to see what the situation is, he finds the entire crew dead at their posts. The autopsy report states that every member of the crew died instantly of heart failure, and all at the same time. Best round up some superheroes, then.

The Champions, however, are enjoying some down time. Practically every episode, just after the teaser that sets up the week's plot, has a little piece showing Champions At Play. It's supposed to show off some of their special skills, but the cheerful voiceover, telling us that they have these special skills in order to defend "law, order and justice" always makes me smile. Given the tone of the pictures that accompany the voiceover, it should probably say "law, order, justice, showing off in public, impressing random girls, and misbehaviour." This time they're at the fair, where Craig shows off his incredible throwing skills in order to win the top prize for a woman at a hoopla stall. They're really not very good at keeping these super powers secret, are they?! And, during the course of this episode, their secrecy skills only get worse.

The Navy want to find out what happened to their submarine, and therefore decide to try to retrace its course as precisely as possible. All three Champions are delivered on board to assist, and off they go. The crew contains a ringer, however – a man who is posing as one of the ratings. Meanwhile, far out to sea, on a tiny, uncharted island, a furious Minister of Somewhere berates a mad scientist for risking exposure by having killed the crew of the sub.

Yep, definitely a submarine.

The gang misbehave at the fair. Is Craig on a box, or is Richard in a hole?! There's not usually that much height difference between them.

Craig uses his super powers to fight for law, order, justice and pulling.

Then, in return, at the briefing Tremayne apparently eyes up Craig. Well, it gets lonely in that office.

Oh dear. It's the Polo Neck Twins. Saving the world in yellow and beige.

Good grief. No comment.

Well, one. Doesn't she have anything in her wardrobe that isn't pink or lurid green?! I am, of course, trying to forget the purple jacket from "The Experiment".

A permanently irate minister has a go at a mad scientist for doing something naughty with the submarine.

He likes bellowing, does the minister. So much so that his glasses are permanently crooked.

Back on the submarine, everything is going well; or as well as can be expected with a spy in the ointment. Craig, inspired by his success with the girl at the fair, has decided to use his amazing super powers aboard ship as well, in the hopes of bagging himself a Naval captain. He seems to be in Flirt Mode for most of the episode. Clocking that the captain's steward has been sneaking peeks at the files, Craig then largely fails to follow up on his suspicions, because he's too busy flirting. Although, to be fair, they do crash just afterwards. A strange reef, not marked on the maps, is suddenly ahead of them; and although they do their best to avoid it, a collision is inevitable. There's damage in the engine room, and our hovering spy, ordered to pull levers to fix the situation, is all at sea in more ways than one. He pulls the wrong lever, filling the engine room with super hot steam, and endangering the vessel. Richard decides that it's boring being a secret superhero, and with nothing but his amazing beige polo neck to cover his face, he dives into the steam, rescues a trapped sailor, and sorts out the muddled levers. Oddly nobody seems too surprised by this. The spy is hauled off to the brig, and the sub is forced to surface. Craig and the captain theorise that this must have been what happened to their predecessors too – and when, upon surfacing, they see an uncharted island, they decide that they ought to have a quick look around onshore.

The chart table scene. Every programme ever set aboard any kind of seagoing vessel has a scene in which some people wave a compass above a chart, and try to look like they know what they're doing. In this instance, Craig and the captain use the scene to see just how close to each other they can stand without anybody noticing.

Has Richard been playing hard to get recently or something?

The spy rummages through the personnel files in the captain's cabin.

Craig tells the captain that he heard the keys of the filing cabinet click in the lock when they were halfway down the corridor, and consequently knows that the steward is a spy. Vows of secrecy are just so passé. Especially when you clearly think that the captain is a bit of a dish.

Moments later, when the collision with the reef knocks everything on the bridge for six, the half-stunned captain is about to be crushed by the rapidly descending periscope. Craig grabs it, slowing its descent to allow him to escape – but given how difficult it is for Craig to stop the thing, it must be seriously heavy. Really, you know, people are going to start noticing. Still, at least we can count on the rest of the trio to be more circumspect.

Or possibly not. Worried about an injured sailor trapped in a room that is rapidly filling with super-heated steam, Richard ignores the warnings of the first officer, and jumps inside.

It's deadly in there, but he has a beige polo neck to protect him. Pulling it over his mouth makes him even more invincible than normal. Hurrah!

Even insanely hot levers are no problem.

Having finished showing off for the assembled company, Craig and Richard join the captain up top for a look at the mysterious island. Craig and Richard go ashore, accompanied by a pair of sailors.

Meanwhile Sharron watches from the deck, making it abundantly clear to everybody present that she can see the island better than the captain can. And the captain is using binoculars. Maybe she's trying to pull as well.

Over on the island, Craig and Richard soon leave the sailors behind. They find that there is nothing alive anywhere – no birds, no mammals, no insects. The beach is covered with dead fish. Soon, too, they find their sailor escorts collapsed dead not far from where they landed. Suddenly overcome by something in the air, Craig and Richard also collapse. Sharron realises that something has happened to them, and immediately tries to persuade the captain to let her follow. He refuses, not willing to believe that she can possibly know anything is wrong – although personally I think I might be just a little more open-minded, if I'd seen everything that he has today. Eventually, however, the spy breaks out of the brig, and manages to escape over to the island. Now a party will have to be sent over.

Back on the island, Craig and Richard have been found alive by Somebody, and taken inside an underground base. The mad scientist from earlier is not happy that they're not dead, and resolves to make sure that they don't survive any longer. Locking Richard in a special room, he floods it with gas, intending to find out how much more than the usual dose it will take to kill him. Less than fond of this plan, Richard breaks out through the air-conditioning duct, and makes a bid for freedom. Meanwhile, held prisoner nearby, Craig also escapes. They're soon reunited, but Richard's assault on the air-conditioning has allowed the gas intended to poison him to flood the base. They have to get out before they are overcome along with everybody else. Hurrying back to the beach, they meet with Sharron and a handful of sailors who have come to see what's going on. The boys round them all up quickly, with instructions that the island be destroyed, in order to obliterate the gas. It's another one of those episodes when all of the bad guys die. Somebody in the production office really likes final endings, don't they.

Craig and Richard look around on the island, and realise that there are no animals to be seen anywhere.

Quite why Richard thinks that a white suit is a good outfit for surreptitious spy work, I have no idea.

Shortly afterwards, they discover their Naval escort dead.

They then collapse, alerting Sharron to some sort of danger.

Which she chooses to react to sometime later, in a studio somewhere in southern England.


Richard and Craig remain inert, unaware that they are about to be captured by deadly aliens enemies of unknown origin.

The Cybermen discover that the boys are still alive, despite a hefty dose of poison gas.

Back on the boat, Sharron tries to persuade anybody who'll listen that there is deadly danger behind every bulkhead. Nobody believes her. Mind you, she will keep delivering all of her dialogue with her back turned to everyone, which may not be helping her case.

NB: When threatening somebody with ruin, don't then collapse with a heart attack, and expect them to offer you your pills. The permanently angry minister learns this the hard way. The mad scientist is now in charge, although I suspect that he was anyway.

Richard and Craig are brought in.

The mad scientist plots mad science.

Then, being a scientist, he has to be filmed doing something vaguely complicated-looking involving flasks and test tubes. It is the law.

Meanwhile, Craig wakes up and discovers that he's handcuffed to a pipe. He decides that this is not on, snaps the chain with barely an effort, and then begins plotting his escape.

A few doors down, Richard also wakes up, in the Room Of Mad Science.

Where the mad scientist has a rather splendid old phone. Shame about the colour.

Richard decides that he's not going to wait around to be mad scienced, and tears out the air-conditioning system.

He's a scientist, don't forget.

Suddenly the previously invisible gas, which now apparently glows green for no obvious reason, begins to flood Richard's room.

Whilst down the corridor, Craig explodes out of his prison cell just as two guards come to collect him.

He then proceeds to hurl them about the place in one of the most gloriously boisterous fight scenes yet. There's a lovely, blindingly obvious stuntman substitute towards the end, too. Having allowed Stuart Damon to do most of the action himself, they clearly decided that the big throwing scene that finished the fight was too much – and fair enough, obviously. It's highly entertaining rather a shame that they had to bring in a bloke whose hair is a completely different colour, though, to double for him. Well, when I say 'double'...

In the air-conditioning system, meanwhile, Richard is struggling to breathe.

Back on the beach, Sharron has just arrived. Pointlessly, but it was good of her to offer.

Craig and Richard burst onto the scene, shouting that they must all abandon the island quickly, before the gas gets to them. Having clearly concluded that they're being dynamic enough for three, Sharron decides that she won't bother changing her facial expression. Again.

Then, having already blown up the North Pole and the South Pole, the gang add the Southern Atlantic to their string of environmental disasters. Well, it's not like anybody was using it much.

Back home, they report in to Tremayne, who has not only got his coloured pencils back, but is now sporting three phones into the bargain.

And Sharron is wearing pink again. Somebody really needs to confiscate her wardrobe.


( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 30th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Craig-on-a-box and Richard have blown one of my theories out of the water. I thought they shared that deep red tie, but there they are, wearing matching ties. Sweet.

I don't understand why Craig and Rich changed at all, to go ashore, let alone why Richard changed from beige to white, for a bit of secret creeping about.

I also wonder why no one has ever spotted this 'new' island, given that the trees etc. look like they've been there a good long time. And where IS tha mad politician meant to be from?? He sounds like a crazy hormonal girl who's going to cry every time he shouts - and an English girl, at that!

Craig and the captain are ridiculously 'close', aren't they?? Massive overuse of first names, standing way too close, too smiley. Are we supposed to think it's just cos they're both American??

And, after Craig's been flirting with everyone, and he and Richard are both chasing the doctor, Sharron is clearly channeling all this mad hormonal stuff, as she seems to try it on with Tremayne right at the end there, before remembering herself!! Hee!
Jan. 30th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
It's the sea air. It has a funny effect on people. That's why sailors have such a reputation. ;)

Yes, I wondered that about the island. They make a big deal of the fact that it's volcanic, and has probably only appeared recently, hence not being on any charts. The vegetation looks pretty well established, though, and that's quite a nice-looking, if small, sandy beach. Plus the entrance to the underground bunker looks well weathered too. I may be wrong, but it looks like they've used footage of one of the old WWII bunkers there, which doesn't exactly help their case any!

And then there's the sub crew, resolutely saying left and right, instead of port and starboard. They're an odd bunch all round!
Jan. 31st, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
I don't think Tremayne's eying up Craig - he's wondering why he's wearing a black tie & hankie with a grey suit. Even when he's looking reasonable he's still getting it wrong *shakes head*

Richard was probably putting himself in danger in the engine room to a) get in trouble so Craig can come save him or b) show how terribly brave and handsome he is to the first mate and play Craig at his own game.

And Richard obviously had a premonition, but got a bit confused, love him, and put on the white suit to camouflage himself in the mad science room instead of the woodland. Bless.
Jan. 31st, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Are black ties and grey suits a fashion faux pas, then? *is clueless*

And yes, good theory. It was laboratory camouflage. I should never have doubted Richard. :D
( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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