Captain Scarlet fans watching in the ATV London region on December 23rd 1967 were in for a special treat when the title character himself appeared on the Christmas edition of popular game show The Golden Shot!
Hosted for most of its life by comedian (and Thunderbirds are Go voice artist) Bob Monkhouse, this series invited members of the public to direct a blindfolded marksman to fire their crossbow at a background attached to which were several illuminated apples. For the Scarlet-themed Christmas episode these backgrounds would be specially-painted scenes from the series; the Mysteron complex, the Spectrum helicopter, two Angel interceptors, and two Angels sat in their launch seats in the Cloudbase Amber Room.
But that was not all; Captain Scarlet himself would appear live from Cloudbase (or at least Colonel White’s control room console) as that week’s star guest (or ‘Golden Partner’), with Francis Matthews once again providing the character’s voice as Scarlet fired a crossbow on behalf of a disabled viewer. The show enjoyed regular special guests, but Scarlet had to have been one of the most unusual and his footage appears to have been shot live in the studio, as Francis Matthews later recalled being present for the recording; “I supplied my voice as the show was being done, from the safe confines of a recording booth – well away from Bob!”
The series also regularly featured musical numbers and so to add to the Scarlet flavour pop group The Spectrum (who provided the end titles song on the final eighteen episodes of the Captain Scarlet television series) also appeared in their Spectrum uniforms to perform their new single ‘Headin’ for a Heatwave’, while the show’s regular hostesses (‘Golden Girls’ Carol Dilworth, Andrea Lloyd and Anita Richardson) also donned Angel uniforms for the show.
This Christmas edition of The Golden Shot was first broadcast live at 8.35pm on Saturday December 23rd 1967 in the ATV London region, and a recording was shown again the next day in the ATV Midlands. Unfortunately, this episode of The Golden Shot appears not to have survived in the archives in any form, with all that exists of the episode today being a handful of stills. This is perhaps unsurprising to anyone familiar with the practices of British television of the 1960s, but is still disappointing.
The Golden Shot ran in the UK from July 1967 to April 1975, and was one of the most popular game shows on British television during the years that Monkhouse was hosting it. To have a Supermarionation puppet as one of the special guests (particularly just a few months after Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons had first aired) was certainly unusual, but just points to the massive popular following that the series had been able to acquire so quickly – and we still hope that some day the episode (or even just a clip of Scarlet) might turn up!