It's nearly Christmas, so I was thinking about a Christmas post. Not that you'd find the Angels I'm thinking of on a Christmas tree...
Female pilots in fiction are rare, but by no means unknown. The first TV female pilots I knew about were the Angels, flying the most advanced jet fighters to protect the Earth from the Mysterons.
Captain Scarlet was one of the Gerry Anderson puppet series, following on from Thunderbirds and Joe 90.
It was the darkest of his puppet series, with a hideous threat to the world from alien beings on Mars.
Spectrum fought against the Mysterons, and one arm of Spectrum were the Angels.
The five Angels were codenamed Symphony, Rhapsody, Melody, Harmony, and the Squadron Leader was Destiny, who was obviously the only one of the five with no ear for music.
Why all five female? There is no explanation (aside from ensuring they are a uniform group) – perhaps the cockpit of the Angel Interceptors was too small for a male pilot.
Airfix made a kit of the aeroplane, which is relatively accurate to the models seen on screen... except that the pilot was a standard Airfix jet pilot figure, and clearly not the more curvaceous form of any of the Angels. The figure was swiftly labelled Cacophony Angel, and sacked. Fortunately, when Airfix re-issued the kit last year (still with Cacophony in the package) a resin replacement materialised from RetroSF, so that the model could have the proper pilot to fly the fighter.
In 2005, Gerry Anderson launched a new version of Captain Scarlet, with computer-generated animation.
It looked spectacular, and incidentally included an updated Angel Interceptor and lovingly created new Angels.
It should have been very successful. Unfortunately, ITV management, who organised the broadcasts of the show, had been Mysteronized. They included the show in two chunks during their dire Saturday morning show, with no fixed time during the morning and with it hacked about to fit in with their scheduling.
Anyone wanting to watch the show would be frustrated – anyone who was watching the enveloping show was not going to be impressed.
The show did not survive for long, despite excellent graphics and well-written scripts (Phil Ford, who wrote most of it, went on to write for the new Doctor Who). I suspect the show's failure was a result of an evil scheme by Captain Black...
Whatever the cause, the Angels were another source that fed into my own female pilot, Sorrel - who I suspect would kill to get her hands on a jet fighter...