Operation Time

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"Operation Time"
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode
Episode no.Episode 8
Directed byKen Turner
Written byRichard Conway
Stephen J. Mattick
Cinematography byJulien Lugrin
Editing byJohn Beaton
Production code6
Original air date17 November 1967
Guest appearance(s)

Voices of:
Gary Files (uncredited) as
Dr Turner
1st Medical Student
Martin King (uncredited) as
Dr Theodore Magnus
Paul Maxwell as
General J. F. Tiempo
Liz Morgan as
Charles Tingwell as
Nurse Morgan
Jeremy Wilkin as
2nd Medical Student
Hospital Porter (Benson)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Trap"
Next →
"Spectrum Strikes Back"
List of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episodes

"Operation Time" is the eighth episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a 1960s British Supermarionation television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by their company Century 21 Productions. Written by Richard Conway and Stephen J. Mattick and directed by Ken Turner, it was first broadcast on 17 November 1967 on ATV Midlands.

In this episode, the Mysterons threaten to "kill time", confusing Spectrum until the target is found to be a military general who is about to undergo pioneering brain surgery.

"Operation Time" reveals two natural weaknesses in Mysteron reconstructions that are further explored in "Spectrum Strikes Back".


When the Mysterons (voiced by Donald Gray) confusingly threaten to "kill time", Colonel White (voiced by Donald Gray) dispatches senior Spectrum personnel to major cities to watch for potential targets. No promising intelligence surfaces until Captain Magenta (voiced by Gary Files) discovers that the Commander of Western Region World Defence, General J.F. Tiempo – whose surname means "time" in Spanish – is at a clinic near London, where he is soon to undergo brain surgery. Believing that Tiempo's life is in danger, White has him flown to Cloudbase with his surgeon, Dr Magnus, who insists that the operation – to be carried out with the aid of a pioneering medical device called the "cerebral pulsator" – go ahead as planned. White reluctantly agrees and allows Magnus to use Cloudbase's sickbay as an operating theatre.

Unknown to Spectrum, Magnus is a Mysteron reconstruction of the original doctor, who has been killed in a road accident engineered by Captain Black (voiced by Donald Gray). During the operation, the reconstruction deliberately overruns the cerebral pulsator to induce a fatal seizure in his masked patient. Dr Fawn (voiced by Charles Tingwell) then removes the mask to reveal the face of Captain Scarlet (voiced by Francis Matthews), who unknown to Magnus had substituted for Tiempo. Exposed as a Mysteron agent, Magnus breaks out of sickbay and flees to Cloudbase's electrical room, where he is cornered by Captain Blue (voiced by Ed Bishop) and dies when he comes into contact with a bare cable. During this time, an abnormality has appeared on one of Tiempo's pre-operative radiographs: Magnus's hand, which was accidentally caught in the image, has blocked the X-rays and is showing as flesh. With Tiempo safe and Scarlet once again revived, White announces that Spectrum will develop technology to exploit the Mysterons' imperviousness to X-rays and vulnerability to electricity.


Writers Richard Conway and Stephen J. Mattick named Magnus's colleague, Dr Turner, after the episode's director, Ken Turner. In the script, Conway and Mattick suggested that Wexham Park Hospital could be used to record footage showing the development of Tiempo's radiographs. In the end, however, the episode was filmed entirely at Century 21's studios on the Slough Trading Estate.[1]

The episode's incidental music was recorded during a four-and-a-half-hour studio session held on 14 May 1967, when it was performed by a 12-member ensemble conducted by series composer Barry Gray. The music for "Renegade Rocket" was recorded during the same session.[2]

"Operation Time" features voice actor Gary Files' first contributions to Captain Scarlet. Files was unavailable for dialogue recording during the production of the first five episodes because he was providing voices for the film Thunderbird 6, to which he had been signed on as a "try-out" for Captain Scarlet.[3]


Andrew Pixley and Julie Rogers of Starburst magazine note the "cryptic" nature of the Mysterons' threat to "kill time", humorously remarking that it could "[suggest] they'll be passing a few hours playing cards or watching Oprah." They also consider the "rather graphic" electrocution of the reconstructed Magnus to be one of the series' more violent moments.[4]


  1. ^ Bentley, Chris (2001). The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet. London, UK: Carlton Books. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-84222-405-2.
  2. ^ de Klerk, Theo (25 December 2003). "Complete Studio-Recording List of Barry Gray". tvcentury21.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Gary Files Interview". thevervoid.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  4. ^ Pixley, Andrew; Rogers, Julie (December 2001). Gillatt, Gary (ed.). "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: By Numbers". Starburst. No. 280. London, UK: Visual Imagination (published November 2001). pp. 46 and 48. ISSN 0955-114X. OCLC 79615651.

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