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The Duchess Assignment

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"Oh Penelope, dear. I'm a desperate woman. All I've got left is my painting."
— Deborah, Duchess of Royston
Season 1, Episode 21
Image DA
Air date 17 February 1966
Written by Martin Crump
Directed by David Elliott
Episode Guide
Move And You're Dead
Brink Of Disaster

"The Duchess Assignment" was the twenty-first episode of Thunderbirds season 1 and first aired on the 17th February 1966. It was the 23rd episode produced.

The Duchess of Royston, an old acquaintance of Lady Penelope, has fallen on hard times through an unlucky spell gambling. A pair of gangsters become aware of her sole remaining asset, a precious painting known as Portrait of a Gazelle, and her life is endangered when the two men kidnap the duchess and attempt to steal her painting.

Episode GuideEdit

Main article: The Duchess Assignment/Episode Guide

Regular Voice CastEdit

Guest Voice CastEdit


Percy (r.) and friend (l.)

Guest Cameo AppearancesEdit

International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit

Non-International Rescue Equipment UsedEdit


  • When the WAF Wombat lands on the runway, the jetex attached on the underside falls off.
  • When the 2nd croupier says, "Dix-huit rouge, 18 red", he is voiced by Peter Dyneley instead of Matt Zimmerman.
  • As the Mole is leaving the pod the sign inside reads "Thunderbird 2 Pod 4" despite the fact the door was labelled as being Pod 3.


  • Captain Hanson and the Fireflash co-pilot from Trapped in the Sky, return as the pilots of Fireflash.
  • In the Australian half hour cliffhanger version, part one ends when Fireflash levels out into horizontal flight position.
  • The Duchess of Royston was voiced by Ray Barrett, the same voice actor as John Tracy. This was because neither Sylvia or Christine Finn could provide the voice Gerry needed. However, Ray Barrett did a lot better than expected with voicing the Duchess.
  • Virgil's painting of Alan from Move And You're Dead can be seen hanging in the art gallery.
  • At the end of the episode, Parker reveals that the Derby was won by Desperate Intruder, named after the episode of the same name.
  • Although the name Braquasso is clearly an allusion to Pablo Picasso, the style of "Portrait Of A Gazelle" is much more similar to that of Salvador Dali.
  • Including the silent (cameo) characters, The Duchess Assignment has a total cast of well over a hundred, far more than any other episode.


Main article: The Duchess Assignment/Transcript

Foreign TitlesEdit

  • French: La duchesse
  • German: Das Gemälde der Herzogin
  • Spanish: Asignación Duquesa; El rescate de la Duquesa (DVD)
  • Italian: Una serata sfortunata
  • Dutch: Opdracht voor een hertogin (TV 1967); De opdracht van de hertogin (TV 1992); De ontvoering (VHS); Opdracht van de hertogin (VHS, DVD)
  • Japanese: 公爵夫人の危機

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