The Uninvited (Thunderbirds)
|Episode no.||Series 1|
|Directed by||Desmond Saunders|
|Written by||Alan Fennell|
|Cinematography by||Julien Lugrin|
|Editing by||Peter Elliott|
|Original air date||2 December 1965|
"The Uninvited" is the tenth episode of the first series of Thunderbirds, a British 1960s Supermarionation television series co-created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Written by Alan Fennell and directed by Desmond Saunders, it was first broadcast on ATV Midlands on 2 December 1965.
In this episode, Thunderbird 1 crashes in the Sahara Desert after being shot down by three unidentified aircraft. Two archaeologists rescue Scott, but one good turn deserves another, and later on, Scott finds himself rushing back to the desert when the pair become entombed in the lost pyramid of Khamandides.
Scott Tracy (voiced by Shane Rimmer) is returning to Tracy Island in Thunderbird 1 when he is suddenly attacked by a group of unidentified fighters. Thunderbird 1 is damaged and crash-lands in the Sahara. On Tracy Island, Jeff (voiced by Peter Dyneley) dispatches Virgil, Brains and Tin-Tin (voiced by David Holliday, David Graham and Christine Finn) in Thunderbird 2 to rescue Scott. In the desert, archaeologists Wilson and Lindsey are returning to their base camp after a fruitless expedition when they come across the shot-down Thunderbird 1. Stopping their all-terrain truck and supply trailer, they treat Scott's injuries until Thunderbird 2 arrives. Later, with Scott convalescent and Thunderbird 1 repaired by Brains, Wilson and Lindsey reveal that they were searching for the lost pyramid of Pharaoh Khamandides. The International Rescue team head back to Tracy Island the next day.
Wilson and Lindsey resume their journey, but frustration gets the better of Wilson. Driving too fast, he causes the coupling between the truck and the trailer to snap. The trailer rolls down a slope and explodes, destroying nearly all of the men's food, water and fuel and damaging their radio. They use the truck's remaining fuel to travel to a waterhole 40 miles away but arrive to find it bone-dry. As a last, desperate resort, the men use the failing radio to send out a distress call to International Rescue. On Thunderbird 5, Alan Tracy (voiced by Matt Zimmerman) has just relieved John (voiced by Ray Barrett) as space monitor when he picks up Wilson and Lindsey's faint transmission. Jeff dispatches Scott in Thunderbird 1 to find and rescue the men.
In the desert, Lindsey spots a mysterious object on the horizon – the lost pyramid of Khamandides. Using the last of their fuel, the men drive up to the pyramid. As Lindsey deciphers hieroglyphs on the side – hailing Khamandides as "Lord of the Eternal Fountain" – a block rises up to form an entrance to the interior. The men proceed but find themselves entombed when the block falls back into place. Deeper inside, they find mounds of treasure. They also discover that the Eternal Fountain is real and drink from it.
Scott arrives at the pyramid and follows Wilson and Lindsey through the one-way door. Lindsey, traumatised by his recent experiences, accuses of Scott of trying to steal his new-found riches and pulls a gun on him. A shootout between Lindsey and Scott ensues. Scott loses his gun but is saved by the arrival of two armed men, who blast Lindsey's gun out of his hand, knocking him out. The strangers conduct Scott, Wilson and the unconscious Lindsey to the pyramid's control centre in a monorail car. This journey takes them over a refinery where men in gas masks are using a highly toxic and explosive gas to refuel fighters identical to those that shot down Scott.
Jeff is concerned by Scott's lack of contact and dispatches Virgil and Gordon (voiced by David Graham) in Thunderbird 2 to investigate. Seeing Thunderbird 2's arrival, the pyramid's inhabitants prepare to attack it with ground-to-air missiles, but before these are launched Wilson punches one of the guards to the floor and Scott, having taken back his gun, shoots several others. A stray bullet hits a control panel, causing the missiles to launch but detonate harmlessly in mid-air. Scott and Wilson take the monorail back to the entrance, with Scott shooting at the refinery workers as they go. The gas is inadvertently released into the refinery, starting a series of explosions. Scott, Wilson and Lindsey, who has just regained consciousness, reach the entrance to find it open and quickly lift off in Thunderbird 1. Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2 clear the area just before the final explosion destroys the pyramid.
"The Uninvited" was the fifth episode of Thunderbirds to be produced. Originally filmed in late 1964 as a 25-minute episode, in January the following year it was extended to 50 minutes to satisfy AP Films' sponsor Lew Grade, who had been impressed with the pilot episode and ordered that all episodes of Thunderbirds be re-written to fill a one-hour timeslot. The additional material for "The Uninvited", which had originally been titled "Desert of Danger", consists of the shoot-down of Thunderbird 1, the rescue of Scott and the character's subsequent recovery on Tracy Island. The filming of these new scenes coincided with the production of "Desperate Intruder" and "30 Minutes After Noon".
Actor Matt Zimmerman, who voiced Lindsey, fondly remembers the dialogue recording for this episode: "I had to yell and scream, 'Hahaha! You won't take me alive, Tracy!' We had a lot of fun doing that one."
Although the script refers to the pyramid tribe as "the Zombites", they remain unnamed in the episode itself. The Zombite fighter aircraft are re-dressed versions of the WASP fighters that appear in Stingray.
This episode marks the first appearance of Grandma Tracy. The model of Wilson and Lindsey's desert truck would later appear in "The Mighty Atom", "Martian Invasion" and "Cry Wolf". The Thunderbird 3 launch sequence is recycled from "Sun Probe".
First broadcast on 2 December 1965, "The Uninvited" was transmitted as the tenth episode of Thunderbirds for both the series' original run on Associated Television and the majority of 1960s repeat runs. A number of scenes were omitted from the two-part version that was shown in some UK regions.
Writing for Panini UK, Chris Bentley comments positively on "The Uninvited", stating that it "entertainingly re-shapes the series' format, illustrating the potentially wide variety of stories that can be told within the International Rescue framework." He also commends the episode's use of action.
Marcus Hearn, author of Thunderbirds: The Vault, has mixed views on the episode. He describes the final battle with the Zombites as being "staged in the explosive style of the 1960s James Bond films" but questions Lindsey's fit of homicidal rage against Scott, which he considers to be "out of character". Hearn also criticises the Zombites as villains, noting that their hostility and motives for living underground are never explained. He suggests that the plot concerning the quest for a lost pyramid would not have looked out of place in an episode of Stingray.
Tom Fox of Starburst magazine gives "The Uninvited" a rating of five out of five, calling it a "quality episode". He praises the setting as well as the Zombites, whom he describes as "hilarious" and "hardly your average bunch of pyramid-dwelling undead".
A comic strip adaptation of "The Uninvited" was serialised in issues 12 to 14 of Thunderbirds: The Comic in 1992. It was re-published as part of the comic album Thunderbirds: Shock Wave the same year.
The episode was included in the 2004 DVD release The Best of Thunderbirds – The Favorite Episodes.
- Bentley, Chris (2008) . The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide (4th ed.). London, UK: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-905287-74-1.
- Pixley, Andrew (October 2000). "Fantasy Flashback: Thunderbirds – 'Sun Probe'". TV Zone. London, UK: Visual Imagination (published September 2000) (131): 68. ISSN 0957-3844. OCLC 226121852.
- Bentley, Chris (September 2015). Hearn, Marcus (ed.). Thunderbirds – A Complete Guide to the Classic Series. Tunbridge Wells, UK: Panini UK. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84653-212-2.
- Bentley 2005, p. 19.
- Bentley 2005, p. 68.
- Hearn, Marcus (2015). Thunderbirds: The Vault. London, UK: Virgin Books. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-753-55635-1.
- Anderson, Sylvia (1991). Yes, M'Lady. London, UK: Smith Gryphon. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-85685-011-7.
- Fox, Tom (August 2004). Payne, Andrew (ed.). "TV View". Starburst Special. No. 65. London, UK: Visual Imagination. p. 46. ISSN 0958-7128.
- Galbraith IV, Stuart (28 June 2004). "The Best of Thunderbirds - The Favorite Episodes". DVD Talk. El Segundo, California: Internet Brands. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- Bentley, Chris (2005) . The Complete Book of Thunderbirds (2nd ed.). London, UK: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84442-454-2.