Captain Scarlet

Captain Scarlet (1967) 1.jpg

CGI Captain Scarlet 3.jpg.jpg

Description
Real Name Paul Metcalfe
Date of Birth 17th December, 2036
Hair Black
Eyes Blue
Race Human (formerly)
"Retro-metabolic," virtually indestructible Mysteron likeness
Details
Affiliation Spectrum Organisation
Role Spectrum Field Agent, Senior Staff Officer and Colour Code Captain
Allies Captain Blue (Field partner)
Colonel White
Captain Black (formerly)
Captain Brown
Lieutenant Green
Other fellow Spectrum Officers
The Spectrum Angels
Status Primary front-line Spectrum agent against the Mysterons' threat
Appearances 32 Instalments of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
26 Instalments of New Captain Scarlet
Voice Actor(s) Francis Matthews (Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons)
Wayne Forester (New Captain Scarlet)
Leading the fight - one man fate has made indestructible. His name: Captain Scarlet.
—From the description in the programme's narration.


Captain Scarlet is the colour code name the Spectrum Organisation has assigned to Paul Metcalfe, a fourth-generation military officer and a former colonel in the World Army Air Force Special Forces. He is the title character both of the "super-marionation" (motorised marionettes-based) television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and of its "hyper-marionation" (computer-generated images-based) reboot, New Captain Scarlet.

Paul Metcalfe, the Earthman military hero[edit | edit source]

This information, aside from "fanon" speculation clearly so marked, is based entirely upon the then Anderson spouses's history of Captain Scarlet himself, one of the many back-stories Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson provided for all characters in the programme.
Born on 17 December, 2036, in Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom, Paul Metcalfe is the son and only child of a World Army Air Force general officer (some fanon sources name this general officer as Charles Metcalfe) and represents the fourth generation of his family to serve in either the World Army or the World Army Air Force combined service.
(Since the super-marionation puppet that was originally sculpted to represent him later saw repeat duty in The Secret Service, where the same puppet also represented the character of Paul Blake, who was shown to be an agent of the Universal Secret Service, fanon speculation holds that this character is Paul Metcalfe's grandfather on his mother's side, and also describes him as one of Charles Gray's predecessors as the Universal Secret Service's London Director.)
See Multiple Duty Puppets for more details.

He is a trained historian, holding degrees from Winchester University (his graduation from it making him an "Old Wykehamist") in technology and mathematics as well as in history. Enrolling in the West Point Military Academy for its four-year course of training, he was "First Captain," or valedictorian, of his graduating class.
Joining the World Army Air Force Special Forces, or "Red Berets," he rose quickly through the WAAF ranks in the course of his service and eventually became both the youngest full colonel in the WAAF's history and the WAAF's top weapons expert. Fanon includes the Victoria Cross among the many medals and decorations he earned during his highly distinguished military career. This professional achievement, which Metcalfe notched before reaching the age of thirty years, was what brought him to the attention of former WAAF Colonel-cum-World Space Patrol Colonel Conrad Turner, the future Captain Black, who in turn brought him to the attention of the Spectrum Selection Committee. When it did, Colonel Metcalfe "retired" from the WAAF at the Committee's request.

Captain Scarlet, Spectrum[edit | edit source]

When the Spectrum Selection Committee learned about Colonel Metcalfe from World Space Patrol Colonel Conrad Turner (see Captain Black) in the middle 2060s, it recruited him into its ranks, making him one of the first personnel so chosen. During his course of training, Captain Black became Metcalfe's teacher and friend on Australia's outback roads.

Those outback roads led to Koala Base, the Spectrum Organisation's Training Academy; fanon specifies its location as ten miles north of Liberty Point Mines in Australia's Great Sandy Desert, and provides a duration of one year for training there.

Metcalfe grew rather fond of the Spectrum code name he was assigned, "Captain Scarlet," since his favourite colour is red. During his years of studying in the West Point Military Academy, his nickname was "Big Red," since "red," short for "redcoat," was a reference to the British trainees there, and since he himself was the top-ranked redcoat during this period. (Fanon notes that he found the regulation Spectrum duty uniforms for colour-coded senior officers too gaudy at first, however, not least in regard to his own, and that he needed a long time to accustom himself to them.)

Whenever he is geared up in his Spectrum uniform, Captain Scarlet can be said with some accuracy to be outfitted in "battle-lantern colours." He became one of Spectrum's top agents and formed a great friendship with fellow agent Captain Blue; fanon describes this friendship as having initially developed when they were amongst recruits being evaluated as Cloudbase's senior staff officers. At the time, however, they were not field partners.

The Mysteron War begins[edit | edit source]

Captain Scarlet with Captain Brown before their death and reconstruction by the Mysterons.

In the spring of 2068, a mistaken, illegal, and unprovoked attack that Captain Scarlet's former teacher, Captain Black, made on the Mysterons's complex on Mars (an attack that Captain Black had made in violation of orders from his own superiors after mistakenly assuming the Mysterons to be hostile) led to them declaring a war of nerves on Earth. Their first act of retaliation consisted of plans to assassinate James T. Younger, President Of The World Government of Earth.

Captain Scarlet, by then a full-fledged senior Spectrum officer, was then "field-partnered" with another Spectrum senior officer, whose own code name was Captain Brown. Both were assigned by their Supreme Commander-In-Chief, Colonel White, to protect World President Younger. They were driving down a mountain road in New York to rendezvous with Younger and escort him to a Spectrum Maximum Security Building. Captain Brown was put in charge of the escort operation, while Captain Scarlet was to report back to Cloudbase after the rendezvous had been put into effect. Captain Scarlet understood his field partner's nervousness as they were fighting a new enemy with powers beyond their understanding and they both agreed to stay vigilant.

The corpse of the original Captain Scarlet

Unfortunately, however, the Mysterons used their powers to sabotage one of the tyres of their Spectrum Saloon car, causing it to skid off the road and drop to the bottom of a gully, exploding into flames and killing both officers. Captain Brown died from a broken neck, but Captain Scarlet's death seemed much worse than his field partner's, judging by the state that his original body was in afterwards.

Under Mysteron control[edit | edit source]

Captain Scarlet's exact likeness after his re-creation by the Mysterons.

From the dead corpses of the two men, the Mysterons, using their powers of retro-metabolism, re-created exact likenesses of both of them with the goal of carrying out their threat against the World President. However, their respective likenesses were not re-created identically. The Captain Brown likeness, for his part, became a living bomb awaiting Mysteron detonation of him in the presence of the World President, and the Captain Scarlet likeness became an ice-cold assassin under Mysteron control.

When the attempt by the Captain Brown likeness in New York failed, the Captain Scarlet likeness hijacked the President on the route to London, whilst being chased by Spectrum (who had just discovered the truth about his Mysteron control after examining the scene of the SSC crash) and they trapped him by leading him to the London Car-Vu Sky Park Tower, where a massive fight ensued between him and Captain Blue. The Mysteron attempt to take control of Spectrum Helicopter A42 to pick up the Captain Scarlet likeness and the President, and attack Captain Blue, failed after the Angels attacked the helicopter likeness and caused it to crash into the Sky Park, which destroyed the support structure.

Captain Scarlet falling 800 feet from the Car-Vu Sky Park after losing a gun battle with Captain Blue

When Captain Blue asked the Captain Scarlet likeness to give himself up, the latter instead fired shots at him, leaving Captain Blue with no other choice but to kill his friend. The officers fired their guns back and forth till one of Captain Blue's bullets caught the Captain Scarlet likeness in the chest, making him lose his balance on the gantry on which he and the President were standing and fall 800 feet to the ground below, whilst Captain Blue carried the President away to safety and the whole Sky Park finally collapsed.

"One man fate has made indestructible!"[edit | edit source]

Spectrum recovered the corpse of the Captain Scarlet likeness and took it back to Cloudbase.

Captain Scarlet gaining his indestructibility for the first time

In the Cloudbase Sick Bay, much to the amazement of Doctor Fawn and others, the fatal injuries the Captain Scarlet likeness had sustained were healing without a trace, and he was no longer under Mysteron control! With the personality and memories of the original Captain Scarlet being restored in his Mysteronised likeness, he had also retained the ability of retro-metabolism--making him virtually indestructible. Moreover, the likeness could truly be called the real Captain Scarlet after his experiences; he did not retain any memories of any of his activities under Mysteron control, saying everything that had happened in those six hours was a total blank. Fanon consensus holds that this was because the Mysterons took Captain Scarlet over, by re-creating their likeness of him, AFTER he was killed but BEFORE his brain functions were irreversibly terminated, then gave him up without waiting to see whether he would survive his fall from the London Car-Vu Sky Park Tower. Similarly, fanon denies that Captain Scarlet's normal personality could have resurfaced to reassert control over his likeness under any other circumstances. From that day, Captain Scarlet became Spectrum's greatest asset in the fight against the Mysterons.

Captain Scarlet's abilities[edit | edit source]

Like most Mysteron agents, his original body was slain and an exact likeness of it was re-created as a tool to carry out the Mysterons' plans. However, once Captain Scarlet's likeness was freed from Mysteron control, he retained his original memories and personality, whilst also retaining remarkable abilities, including:

  • Retro-metabolism: The ability to regenerate damaged tissues of even fatal wounds, leaving the body fully healed without the appearance of even a scar. This extends to self-resurrection from the dead, which apparently takes a full six hours to complete.
  • Sixth Sense: In a few instalments, Captain Scarlet would feel nauseated and disoriented, and would suffer severe sinus headaches, whenever a Mysteron agent or any other reconstruction was nearby. However, this apparently disappeared soon after, indicating it was possibly a temporary effect. But fanon explains that Captain Scarlet retains that "sixth sense," and that Mysteron agents on Earth do not always immediately trigger its perceptions of them.
  • Imperviousness to Roentgen radiation: His X-ray photographs will not show bones, only a normal body. Fanon maintains that x-rays are all but obsolete in the late 2060s, and that more sophisticated equipment is employed in the steads of x-rays. It identifies Dr. Theodore Magnus, a neurosurgeon whose likeness tried to assassinate General J. F. Tiempo in the instalment "Operation Time", as one of the only physicians who still used x-rays by then.
  • Imperviousness to photography: If he is photographed, only a silhouette will be shown. Fanon disputes this last and instead includes a "photographic jammer" among Spectrum equipment, which Spectrum personnel are issued when on special assignments to conceal their identities.

In spite of his special Mysteron-based abilities, Captain Scarlet is still vulnerable to high-voltage electricity that can instantly kill him, which is the main weakness of any Mysteronised Human.

The super-marionation programme: Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The model(s) for the puppet[edit | edit source]

Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson did not use any one model for the likeness of the super-marionation puppet of Captain Scarlet; they commissioned his puppet's sculptors to base him upon several distinct models. Of these, the one considered to have the greatest import was actor Francis Matthews, who, as detailed below, provided the character's voice for the programme. Actor Cary Grant, whose voice Matthews imitated in character, was presumably one of at least two other models for the puppet; actor Roger Moore is commonly believed to have been a third.

The Francis Matthews connexion[edit | edit source]

Gerry Anderson "came close...[to moving] heaven and Earth to get" Matthews to provide the voice of Captain Scarlet. Matthews, who was then appearing on stage in a live production of Noel Coward's play Private Lives, provided Captain Scarlet's voice in imitation of actor Cary Grant; he became an extensive traveller between his engagement there and the recording sessions for ITC Entertainment.

Matthews was chosen for the character-voice role entirely on the basis of his ability to imitate Grant (who himself was British-born though he pursued the majority of his career in the United States) with an uncanny accuracy. Before his role of voicing the title character, he had always been either uninterested in, or unavailable for, any previous Anderson projects or programmes. But when the series came into development, Gerry Anderson refused to rest till he had secured Matthews's commitment, and this time he obtained it.

Captain Scarlet a robot?[edit | edit source]

Unbelievably, the original plan for the series was for Mysteron agents on Earth to be robots!

But after they had been toying with that idea for a brief period, the then Anderson spouses ultimately abandoned it, as they realised that making Captain Scarlet a robot would not engender audience identification with him to the degree that making him a virtually-indestructible clone, nay likeness, of a normal Earthman would. This also added the psychological element of giving Captain Scarlet a measure of reason for doubt of his own humanity.

The "hyper-marionation" programme[edit | edit source]

In Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, a reboot of the 1960s programme which is a "hyper-marionation" programme consisting mainly of three-dimensional CGI, or computer-generated imagery, actor Wayne Forester is the provider of the title character's voice.

The title character is slightly different as he is not the West Point First Captain his super-marionation counterpart is described as having been; rather, it is his field partner, Captain Blue, who has the distinction of West Point alumnus graduation.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

This artwork, painted by the late Ron Embleton, always appeared in the end credits. It depicted Captain Scarlet in various perilous and life-threatening situations that showed his virtual indestructibility:

The Spectrum Organisation
Spectrum Logos.gif

Original Series
Officers
Captain ScarletCaptain BlueColonel WhiteLieutenant GreenCaptain BlackCaptain BrownCaptain GreyCaptain OchreCaptain MagentaDoctor FawnCaptain Indigo
The Angels
Destiny AngelSymphony AngelRhapsody AngelMelody AngelHarmony Angel
Component Agencies
Spectrum IntelligenceSpectrum Medical ServiceSpectrum PoliceSpectrum Research Centre
Other Personnel
Spectrum Security GuardsSpectrum TechniciansKoala Base OfficersKoala Base Cadets

New Captain Scarlet
Officers
Captain OrangeCaptain YellowDoctor GoldLieutenant Silver

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