Shadow of Fear

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"Shadow of Fear"
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode
Episode no. Episode 18
Directed by Robert Lynn
Written by Tony Barwick
Cinematography by Julien Lugrin
Editing by John Beaton
Production code 12
Original air date 2 February 1968 (1968-02-02)
Guest appearance(s)

Voices of:
Paul Maxwell as
Dr Breck
Charles Tingwell as
Dr Carter
Jeremy Wilkin as
Dr Angelini

Episode chronology
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"Crater 101"
Next →
"Dangerous Rendezvous"
List of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episodes

"Shadow of Fear" is the 18th episode of the Supermarionation television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. It was first broadcast in the UK on 2 February 1968 (1968-02-02) on ATV Midlands, written by Tony Barwick and directed by Robert Lynn.

In this episode, a Spectrum operation to survey the planet Mars with a space probe is threatened when one of the scientists attached to the project is taken over by the Mysterons. The episode prominently features the Martian moon Phobos. Footage from "Shadow of Fear" was re-edited for an appearance in Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars, a Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons compilation film.


To learn more about the Mysterons and Mars, Spectrum has conceived "Operation Sword". The objective is to place a space probe in orbit around Mars to capture detailed images of the surface. Although the Mysterons destroy a first probe, a second — Mini-Sat 5 — successfully lands on the Martian moon Phobos to carry out surveillance. When Phobos has completed one orbit of Mars, the images will be transmitted to Earth for reception at K14 Observatory in the Himalayas at 3 a.m., local time. Since K14 is beyond the range of the Spectrum Angels, Cloudbase is moved into Himalayan airspace on its horizontal jets. Captains Scarlet and Blue have been dispatched to K14 to assist scientists Carter, Breck and Angelini. From the astronomers' perspective, Mini-Sat 5 was able to touch down on Phobos thanks to the "shadow of fear": "phobos", the name of an attendant of Mars in Greek mythology, means "fear" in Greek, and the probe avoided detection by the Mysterons by approaching the moon from behind.

That night, a few hours before reception, Breck is observing Mars through a telescope when the planet begins to flash brightly. Overcome by the dazzling light, he is killed and duplicated by the Mysterons. Knowing that K14's aerial will have to be retuned to receive the images from Mini-Sat 5, his reconstruction fixes an explosive device to the rotation gear — set to detonate when caught in the machinery — and then hides among the rocks above K14. With the aid of a Spectrum helicopter piloted by Melody Angel and Captain Grey, Scarlet and Blue locate and confront the reconstruction minutes before 3 a.m. Firing on the officers, the duplicate is killed by Scarlet, but not before revealing its act of sabotage. Before Scarlet and Blue can warn Carter and Angelini, the astronomers rotate the aerial and the bomb detonates, causing the structure to crash down onto the K14 observatory. However, although Carter and Angelini are dead, and Earth has missed the reception of the images, Colonel White insists that the setback does not mark the end of Operation Sword.


Incidental music for "Shadow of Fear" was recorded on 22 July 1967 (1967-07-22)[1] by an orchestra of 15 musicians[1] under the supervision of Barry Gray. Running to four hours,[1] the same session included recording for the episode "Fire at Rig 15".[1] This is the last episode recorded for which Charles Tingwell and Paul Maxwell served as members of the regular voice cast. Tingwell left Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons due to commitments to a touring theatre production, while Maxwell had been hired to play the character of Steve Tanner in Coronation Street.[2] After this episode the characters of Dr Fawn (Tingwell) and Captain Grey (Maxwell) appear in a non-speaking capacity only. Tingwell's voice can be heard in the following episodes in flashback: "Dangerous Rendezvous" (as Lieutenant Dean), "Traitor" (as the pilot of Spectrum Helicopter A42) and "The Inquisition" (as Macey — the archive footage from this episode also includes the voice of Maxwell as a police officer).


Passing the episode with a U certificate,[3] the British Board of Film Classification notes that "Shadow of Fear" contains "infrequent, very mild" violence.[3] The score for "Shadow of Fear" is praised by Chris Drake and Graeme Bassett in their guide to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons,[4] in which they write that the use of electronic music makes the space sequences involving Mini-Sat 5 and its landing on Phobos suitably "eerie".[4] Parts of this score can be heard in the later Gerry Anderson production, "UFO".[4]


  1. ^ a b c d de Klerk, Theo (25 December 2003). "Complete Studio-Recording List of Barry Gray". Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Bentley, Chris (2001). The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet. London: Carlton Books. p. 29. ISBN 1-84222-405-0. 
  3. ^ a b ""Shadow of Fear" Rated "U" by the BBFC". Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Drake, Chris; Bassett, Graeme (1993). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. London: Boxtree. p. 63. ISBN 1-85283-403-X. 

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