Atlantic Inferno is the 1st produced episode and the 1st broadcast episode, of the second series of Thunderbirds.
Jeff Tracy is invited to spend a few days on Lady Penelope's Australian sheep farm leaving Scott Tracy in charge temporarily. However, when strange jets of fire from the ocean floor surround an offshore rig, Scott's leadership skills are put to the test.
While holidaying in Australia, Lady Penelope detonates a charge in a mountain chain to clear a path for a road construction company. As Parker drives her away in FAB1, Penelope calls Jeff on Tracy Island and proposes that he fly out to her farm for a much-needed break. Initially sceptical, Jeff is persuaded to take up her offer and appoints Scott as acting leader of International Rescue.
Meanwhile, the World Navy is preparing to test nuclear torpedoes in the Atlantic Ocean. Warned of the possibility of nuclear explosions, Frank Hooper, commander of drilling rig Seascape, demands the Navy’s assurances that the whole activity will be conducted underwater.
A homing missile launched from one of the Navy's submarines misses its target and goes out of control. After leaving and re-entering the water, it explodes on the seabed. Hooper orders for the rig to be raised by ten feet but the only trouble appears to be water disturbance.
Jeff lands his jet at Penelope’s farm after Parker grants him clearance. Penelope, having spent the afternoon counting her sheep, is determined for Jeff to relax but allows him to make one call to Tracy Island.
That night, all is calm on Seascape until an explosion at the site of the missile impact sends up a 200-foot fire jet 30 miles from the rig. While Hooper deduces that the gas field under the seabed must have ignited, John alerts Scott from Thunderbird 5. Brains theorises that a larger explosion could cause a tidal wave. Scott is bewildered and cannot decide on a course of action.
Having heard a newscast on the incident, Jeff believes that there is no threat to human life and is confident that Scott will not launch a rescue operation. Scott, however, thinks differently and orders Alan to fly out in Thunderbird 1 followed by Virgil and Gordon in Thunderbird 2. At the danger zone, Gordon launches Thunderbird 4 from Thunderbird 2’s pod and clamps a sealing device over the base of the fire jet. With the flare extinguished, the threat to Seascape is eliminated.
Back at base, the team praise Scott for his handling of the mission. Jeff, however, calls to voice his anger that Scott deployed the Thunderbird craft despite the lack of risk to human life. Ignoring Scott’s argument that a disaster might have been caused, Jeff vows to return to Tracy Island immediately, but is reassured by Penelope that Scott has learnt his lesson and will now only organise rescues if the situations are desperate.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, a second fire jet erupts five miles east of the first. Brains reckons that the fire is travelling under the seabed and surfacing at the weakest points, and that the next such point could be Seascape itself. Scott, however, deterred by Jeff’s reprimand, is unwilling to attempt a rescue, and instead leaves it to the Navy to airlift the rig’s crew to safety.
One of the support columns slips and the entire rig lists to one side. While Hooper and his assistant, Dick O'Shea, descend in a diving sphere to assess the damage, further explosions weaken Seascape and the sphere crashes onto the seabed, its cable severed.
After John informs Scott of the latest events, Brains is certain that the fire will rise up Seascape’s bore-hole and consume the rig. Realising that International Rescue is now the only hope for Hooper and O'Shea, Scott dispatches Thunderbirds 1 and 2 for a second time. In the meantime, Navy helijets begin to airlift the rest of the crew to safety.
Jeff hears a newsflash on the catastrophe and insists on returning to Tracy Island to manage the rescue. Alan lands Thunderbird 1 on Seascape’s top deck and sets up mobile control while Virgil deploys Gordon in the Thunderbird 4. Locating Hooper and O'Shea's sphere and finding hatch jammed, Gordon realises that he must cut the ropes attaching it to the rig before Seascape collapses and it is crushed by the wreckage. Meanwhile, the last workers are lifted from the rig and Alan takes off in Thunderbird 1 before the craft slides into the sea. Gordon severs the ropes, removes the surrounding debris and electromagnetically-hauls the sphere to the surface just as Seascape ignites and explodes. Inside the capsule, Hooper and O’Shea are relieved as Virgil uses Thunderbird 2’s grabs to transport the sphere to a waiting Navy ship.
Back home, Jeff congratulates the boys on the rescue. Scott, now needing a rest himself, has no hesitation in handing power back to his father.
- Jeff Tracy — Peter Dyneley
- Scott Tracy — Shane Rimmer
- Virgil Tracy — David Holliday
- Alan Tracy — Matt Zimmerman
- Gordon Tracy — David Graham
- John Tracy — Ray Barrett
- Brains — David Graham
- Lady Penelope — Sylvia Anderson
- Aloysius Parker — David Graham
- Tin-Tin — Christine Finn
- Frank Hooper — John Tate
- Dick O’Shea — David Graham
- World Navy Commander — Peter Dyneley
- Atlantic Captain — David Graham
- Atom Sub Reaper Captain — Ray Barrett
- Atom Sub Reaper Lieutenant — Matt Zimmerman
- Cravitz — Jeremy Wilkin
- Sir Harry — John Tate
- Newsreader — Ray Barrett
- "Atlantic Inferno" was originally broadcast during a repeat run of the earlier Thunderbirds episodes (preceded only by "Trapped in the Sky").
- In some areas, including ATV Midlands, the series two episodes were first broadcast in two 25-minute instalments.
- Sir Harry’s Road Construction Vehicle previously featured as the Gray & Houseman Road Construction Vehicle in "End of the Road". It has been repainted yellow for this appearance.
- The World Navy Commander puppet previously featured as the Matthews Field Commander in "The Cham-Cham".
- "Atlantic Inferno" is the only episode in which Thunderbird 1 is not piloted by Scott (Alan assumes the role while Scott steps in for Jeff).
- "Atlantic Inferno" was serialised by Alan Fennell and Keith Page in issues 27-29 of Thunderbirds: The Comic in 1992.
- The episode was released onto audio cassette in 1999 with and was narrated by William Roberts.
- When Sir Harry drives Lady Penelope down to FAB1 in his jeep, he is wearing a yellow helmet in the zoomed-out shot. When he is seen in close-up he is no longer wearing the helmet. Then, when the shot zooms out again, he is wearing the helmet.
- The number of Lady Penelope's sheep runs into six digits (200,007), but her sheep-counting meter counts to only five digits.
- When the Atom Sub Reaper Captain say's "Ok Lieutenant, dive!" it is said by Jeremy Wilkin instead of Ray Barrett.
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