"As long as we're in one piece, the show goes on."
— Rick O'Shea

"Ricochet" is the fifth episode of Thunderbirds season 2, first broadcast on 6th November 1966.

A two-manned pirate satellite is knocked out of orbit when a faulty rocket explodes in its vicinity. Alan rescues one of the crew, but the presenter, Rick O'Shea, refuses to perform a space walk to Thunderbird 3. Brains in Thunderbird 2 must destroy the satellite before it crashes into a Middle-Eastern oil refinery, whether or not O'Shea is still aboard.


A rocket is ready for launch at International Space Control, but the whole thing is going to be done via a computer. Very few staff are involved, and two of them check over things. Professor Marshall and Power check over a fault, but it was nothing serious and everything is back to normal. In four hours, the rocket will blast off. Meanwhile, on Tracy Island, Jeff is talking to Brains and Alan about these new automated rockets, and how things were a lot different in his day. He is about to go into a story when Tin-Tin comes in with her portable television, which is far too loud for Jeff. She turns the volume down as Rick O'Shea comes on, ending his broadcast for KLA. Tin-Tin thinks the music he plays is great, whilst Alan doesn't see anything in it or him. Tin-Tin thinks he's just jealous.

Jeff reminds them they are missing the point, as KLA's broadcasts are from an unauthorized pirate satellite. Jeff thinks the KLA satellite is a menace, and could easily cause an accident if another satellite collided with it. Up in space, the KLA satellite is actually manned by two people -presenter Rick O'Shea and engineer Loman. Rick is moaning about that fact that Loman didn't use a bullet sound effect whenever he says his name -it is meant to go Rick *pshew!* O'Shea! Loman says he understands.

Loman gets breakfast ready, which consists of Honey Crunch Crispies. Rick doesn't want those yet again, but Loman reminds him that the company that makes them sponsors their show, and gave them a year's free supply. Back on Earth, the base computer is still on track for launching the rocket. The rocket's hangar moves back.

Marshall comes in and tells Power that his request for transfer to area control has come through. He is pleased, as these automated rocket launches are boring. Just then the rocket takes off, and there are no problems as it heads straight up into space. The second phase of the launch begins, as part of the rocket breaks away.

However, the computer then detects a fault. Power takes a look at the readings and finds out that part of phase II has failed. He switches it to manual operation and tries to get the second part of the rocket to break away, but it doesn't respond. He instead gets into contact with the International Space Control HQ, and explains that they have a rogue rocket on their hands. The ISC start to look for a safe, empty area in space for the rocket to be destroyed in. The HQ transfers the co-ordinates over. The co-ordinates given are in an empty area in space... which the KLA satellite just happens to be passing through. The ISC rocket heads straight towards the coordinates, and Power detonates it. The shockwaves of the explosion hit the KLA satellite, and throw Rick and Loman around. They are OK and the satellite seems to still be in one piece. Rick says he's meant to be on the air soon, but Loman can't believe he still wants to broadcast after this, as they both could have died. He wants to check over the satellite to see what external damage there is, but Rick just wants to broadcast and says the show is going on. Meanwhile, elsewhere in space, Thunderbird 3 leaves Thunderbird 5.

Jeff tries to contact Thunderbird 5 but cannot get through. He contacts Thunderbird 3 instead, and finds out from Virgil that they have delivered the replacement part and Gordon has stayed on Thunderbird 5 with John to help set it up. They will not be able to communicate with Thunderbird 5 for the three hours it will take for the replacement part to be fitted. Jeff is concerned that it will take three hours, but he just hopes nobody will try and call them in that time. Elsewhere, back in the scarred KLA satellite, Loman says he still wants to go outside to check the damage, but Rick just wants to go on air, and gets his way. His show starts and as he plays his first musical track, Tin-Tin is soon dancing. Alan comes in and thinks she must get sick of listening to that Rick O'Shea guy, he doesn't like him. She thinks he is silly, but he thinks she is the silly one. Grandma Tracy tells them to stop arguing as Virgil and Brains are going to be back soon. Back on the KLA satellite, the show goes on, but then the satellite shakes for a few seconds.

Loman says he is cutting the signal, and goes to check one of the computers. He finds out that the explosion has moved their satellite, and it is now in a position for going into re-entry. Rick doesn't mind because they were going to have go back to Earth at some point, but Loman has more news: there is a fault with the satellite's parachutes. They are heading to their doom, as the satellite which slam straight into the Earth at a great speed. Loman finally gets to go outside to go and check the damage, and see if there is anything he can do. Loman heads out and finds part of the satellite torn open. He thinks he may be able to do some repairs, and goes back inside to get some tools. But whilst the outer door shuts, the inner door refuses to open. Rick keeps trying but the door has now jammed, trapping Loman in the air lock.


Tin-Tin's television

Back on Tracy Island, Tin-Tin thinks her television is broken as it is just transmitting static, but Brains takes a look at it and finds there to be nothing wrong. He says the KLA satellite must be out of order. Back on the KLA satellite, Loman says his air won't last forever, and whilst Rick has got the circuit diagram out for the door, he can't understand it. He instead switches on the main power and lets the camera roll as he makes a distress call.

However, Thunderbird 5 does not receive the call, as John and Gordon are still fitting the replacement part. But on Tracy Island' the portable TV manages to get the call, and Tin-Tin hears it. She lets Jeff know, and Brains manages to get a direct link from Jeff's radio to Rick. Rick goes over the limited amount of info he knows, and Jeff tells him to stay tuned to this frequency. Virgil and Brains take off in Thunderbird 2, whilst Alan and Scott take off in Thunderbird 3.

Thunderbird 3 is soon in space, and it does not take long for Alan and Scott to come into view with the satellite. However, they see that it won't be long until it goes into reentry, so they are going to have to work fast. Scott pulls up alongside the satellite, and tells Rick to open the outer airlock door. Alan leaves Thunderbird 3 and picks up Loman. He then space walks back over to Thunderbird 3 and enters the ship.

Loman regains consciousness, but Alan says he is going to have to go back for Rick O'Shea. Scott contacts Rick and tells him to put a spacesuit on. Rick does so, but then begins to panic, saying there is no way he can go out into space. Alan gets back into the satellite and has Rick close the outer air lock door whilst he uses a laser to cut through the jammed door. Back on Earth, the ISC HQ staff get in contact with International Rescue. They have found out where the KLA satellite is going to land, and it is on collision course with a large oil refinery in A'Ben Duh. Brains says the best option is to destroy the satellite before it crashes into the refinery. If they can take it out over the desert instead, it will do no damage.

Thunderbird 2 heads towards where the satellite will be coming in, and they soon see it. They also see that it breaking apart, but Brains mans a cannon and gets ready to take the shot. He has the satellite in his sights, but then Virgil is alarmed to hear Rick O'Shea's voice come through on the radio -the crazy fool is still on the air! Virgil and Brains thought Alan and Scott had saved him, but it seems he is still onboard.

Virgil tries to contact base, but with Thunderbird 5's communications still down, he can't get through on the radio. They decide that it is one life against many, but Brains says he can't shoot the satellite knowing Rick is still onboard it. Brains has another idea -he wants Virgil to tilt the satellite off course so it lands away from the refinery, and into the desert. Virgil starts to follow the satellite as it descends. More debris starts to fall off it, and a large chunk almost collides with Thunderbird 2. Virgil pulls up alongside the satellite and uses one of the wings for it to rest on. He levels out Thunderbird 2, just about managing to fly straight over the oil refinery without the satellite coming loose. However, seconds later, the satellite slides off. It hits the ground at a very high speed, and explodes a short distance away from the refinery. The refinery is safe, but Virgil and Brains know there is no way Rick O'Shea could have survived that. They head back for home.

On Tracy Island, Alan tells his father that this incident ought to put a stop to any unauthorized satellites being sent into space again. Virgil and Brains return and look glum, and Jeff asks what's wrong. They say that Rick O'Shea is dead, but Jeff tells them he is as alive as them or him. Alan thinks he knows what happened and explains to Virgil and Brains. Alan had cut down the jammed door with the laser, only to find that Rick was refusing to leave, he was scared of going into space. As he backed off from Alan, one of his arms accidentally hits a switch, which started off a recording. This recording found itself hitting the airways -and it was what Virgil heard earlier.

Back in the present, Tin-Tin turns the portable TV on, where Rick O'Shea is on a program already. He has a black eye, but he thanks International Rescue for their help in getting him off the satellite. He also has a special request for Mr. T and all the family from T.T. He has no idea what it means, but everyone on Tracy Island does. As a song begins to play, Jeff asks how exactly Alan got Rick off the satellite, and wonders if it was something to do with that black eye he now has. Alan tries to reason that punching Rick in the face was the only way!

Regular Voice CastEdit

Guest Voice CastEdit

Cameo RolesEdit

International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit

Non-International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit


  • This is the only episode where Virgil pilots Thunderbird 3 and Gordon goes to Thunderbird 5.
  • The Rick O'Shea puppet was created by sculptor Terry Curtis, who loosely based the character's features on those of Sean Connery.
  • This is the only episode of Season 2 not to feature either Lady Penelope or Parker.
  • Ricochet marks the third and final episode to feature the interior and exterior sets of the Tracking Station; they were first seen as the Satellite HQ in Cry Wolf, and later as the Central Office of the General Staff Command in The Impostors.
  • The episode closes with an extract of "Flying High", one of the two demo tracks that were originally composed to be the main Thunderbirds theme.
  • For subsequent half hour "cliffhanger" broadcasts, the first installment concluded with Jeff ordering to "get those Thunderbirds flying!", and Alan's subsequent "yes sir!" line. Instead of cutting back to KLA, the screen suddenly goes black for about a second, before swiftly fading into the closing credits.
  • The Main Control Room of Thunderbird 3 is completely different from how it appeared in the previous season.


  • John can be seen saying Gordon's one and only line instead of Gordon himself.
  • For some strange reason, Alan's Season 1 head is used.


Main article: Ricochet/Transcript

Foreign TitlesEdit

  • French: Le satellite pirate
  • German: Piratensender ausser Kurs
  • Spanish: El satélite pirata
  • Italian: Rimbalzo
  • Dutch: Ruimteredding (TV 1967); Ricochet (VHS, DVD)
  • Japanese: 宇宙放送局の危機

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