by Chris Bishop      


UPDATES:  June 16, 2014 - New information added


"I've got the feeling they're with 

us all the time..."

Last words of Captain Scarlet 

(voice by Francis Matthews) 

before being Mysteronised in 

"The Mysterons".









(Sources:  TV Century 21 material (Annuals, books and magazines), Engale Marketing's Century 21 magazine, Issue 15, Winter 1995, Fleetway Magazines, Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons book by Chris Drake & Graham Bassett, Complete Book of Captain Scarlet by Chris Bentley… all related to TV Century 21 material - Photo-montages provided by dedicated fans.)  


Spectrum designation:

Captain Scarlet

Rank and attributions:

Senior staff officer, colour-coded Captain, Spectrum's number one field agent.

Real name :

Paul Metcalfe

Place of birth :

Winchester, Hampshire, England

Date of birth:

17 December 2036


6 Ft. 1 Ins.


172 Lbs





Puppet specifications:

Facial features and voices based on a young Cary Grant. Voice provided by Francis Matthews.



Personal history


Paul Metcalfe was born in Winchester on December 17, 2036, into a family with a long military history; his father, grand-father and great-grandfather all served in the World Army, where they all distinguished themselves.  It was natural that Paul would also follow the family tradition by choosing a military career.  He graduated from Winchester University in 2057, at the age of 21, with degrees in History, Technology and employment of Mathematics, and then went to West Point Military University in New York State, U.S.A., where he was trained in field combat duty, how to pilot a variety of aircraft and to become an expert with hundreds of weapons, from the most sophisticated to the most ancient (2059-2063). Drilled to survive in any conditions, he demonstrated a strong mental resilience, a concern for others over his own safety, and an ability to command.  Acclaimed as ‘Supreme Soldier’ by fellow students and lecturers alike, Paul left West Point and joined – or was transferred – to the World Army/Air-Force.  Some sources say that he joined the WAAF on the low rank of private, rather than take up the commission which his cadet training entitled him to (but this seems to be unlikely, considering the investment put into his training at West Point).  Nevertheless, with his ability to command and his professional military outlook, he gained promotion after promotion, until, within two years, he had reached the rank of Colonel – the youngest the WAAF had known to date - and had seen action in all the corners of the globe.


The selection committee charged with finding candidates for the formation of the new organization of Spectrum, had followed Paul’s career, and recognized his qualities of leadership, initiative, combat strategy, integrity and his dedication to his work within the WAAF.  Therefore, in 2065, he was approached by them and accepted the offer to become a field agent for Spectrum, with the rank of Captain, and the colour-code name ‘Scarlet’. 


In 2068, came the Zero-X expedition to Mars, where Captain Black discovered the Complex of the Mysterons and destroyed it, mistakenly believing they were attacking his vehicle and crew.  Black was then taken over by the Mysterons, who vowed to avenge themselves, by declaring a ‘War of Nerves’ on an unsuspecting world.  Their first threat was aimed at assassinating World President Younger. Whilst driving in a Spectrum saloon car, on their way to meet with the World President, Captains Brown and Scarlet were killed when their car was forced to crash.  They were then ‘Mysteronised’, duplicated from the original dead bodies, to do the bidding of the Mysterons.  After Captain Brown’s failure to carry out the Mysterons’ threat, it was up to the doppelganger of Scarlet to perform the second attempt.  Kidnapping the World President, Scarlet brought him to the top of the London Car-Vu car park, with Captain Blue hot in pursuit.  In a last showdown, Blue shot Scarlet, who fell 800 feet from the top of the Car-Vu.  The Mysterons then either lost or released Scarlet from their control, and he became Spectrum’s indestructible agent in their continuing battle against the Mysterons. (See episode 1, “The Mysterons”.)



Personality profile


Scarlet is reliable and trustworthy, with a driving sense of honour, shown when he risked his career to save Colonel White’s life after he realised that a disagreement he had had with him was his mistake (“White as Snow”).  Because of his unique abilities, he would often risk his life – and even  apparently ‘die’ -  to carry out a mission to the end – knowing that it was far better for him to risk himself and revive, than to let other Spectrum agents  sacrifice themselves.


On duty, Scarlet is a true professional, totally reliable and carrying out his orders quickly and efficiently. Off duty, though, he changes completely. He is full of fun,  carefree and bursting with energy, emotional and physical, possibly as a result of his regenerative abilities. Scarlet is also very popular with his fellow Spectrum officers and is especially loved by the Angel pilots who find his personality charming and appealing. However, Scarlet also has a recurring tendency towards distancing himself from others, especially with crowds – probably feeling that, although still very human, he is now very different from other human beings.


One of Captain Scarlet's hobbies when off-duty and away from Cloudbase is pot-holing (according to the TV21 Annual published in 1969), a hobby that offers him excitement and danger.  Fanfic stories show him playing chess – and often winning (Mary J. Rudy's 'An Exercise in Hope' and Chris Bishop's 'Turning Point', to name but a few) and fencing ('The Quest', by Chris Bishop) and although these two activities are not listed in any official sources, it seems like natural that a man with Scarlet's background would have some interest in them both.



His powers


With Captain Brown, Captain Scarlet was the first known human being to have been subjected to the process of retrometabolism by the Mysterons (It is unknown if Captain Black had truly been Mysteronised on Mars, or if he is still human). Scarlet is also the only known human being, to date, to break free of Mysteron control, and the reason why that happened is still a mystery, although many theories have been proposed.  Remaining loyal to Spectrum, he became the organisation’s most effective weapon against the Mysterons, for he retained from his experience the power of retrometabolism.  He can heal from any wound, even a mortal one, in a matter of only a few hours, without even a scar to remind him of the incident.  


Scarlet can also feel the presence of a Mysteron agent nearby or when danger, related to the Mysterons, is imminent – although this particular ability, for some unknown reason, does not work all the time.  This ‘sixth sense’ manifests itself in the form of nausea and dizziness.  Scarlet also retained the strange imperviousness to X-rays – he shows a ‘normal’ image from an X-ray shot –  like all Mysterons agents, and like them, he seems to be vulnerable to high voltage electricity. 


It has been postulated that Scarlet’s body works like a walking solar battery, constantly recharging itself, holding energy in reserve to heal wounds.  He therefore needs very little sleep, as seems to be indicated in episodes such as “Lunarville 7”, “Inferno”, “Shadow of Fear” and “The Trap”, where we see him prowling corridors at night-time.  Other theories – mainly by fanfic authors – suggested alcoholic beverages or medical drugs would have little or no effect on him – or that his body would have to absorb an enormous quantity before he would feel any effect, the speedy metabolism of his body burning any foreign substance nearly as soon as it enters his bloodstream.



Electricity: inconsistencies


Panels from the 'Observatory Network' storyline, drawn by Ron Embleton


All the series created by Century 21 generally abound with inconsistencies; between TV series stories and comic strip stories, and between them and articles. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is no exception to this. Mentioned above (and below) are inconsistencies regarding the character’s background, but also worth mentioning are inconsistencies about Captain Scarlet’s vulnerability – or lack of – to electricity.  While the TV series seems to indicate that Scarlet might be vulnerable to high voltage electricity as are other Mysteron reconstructs – people and objects - it seems that in early comic strips in some instances, the authors didn’t care to focus on that vulnerability, and Scarlet is seen on several occasions being electrocuted and walking away from it. 


Later strips do mention a possible vulnerability to the Mysteron rifle (also known as the ‘electron rifle’) which uses electricity to kill Mysterons.  In the last years of comic strips, the authors wisely did not commit themselves – and in one strip at least, we have Scarlet pondering whether he is vulnerable to electricity or not, but nevertheless going to the rescue of a Cloudbase technician trapped by high voltage wires.


It is also interesting to note that in the same TV episode (Operation Time) in which it is discovered that the Mysterons are both impervious to X-rays (a Mysteronised body shows a ‘regular’ picture instead of an regular X-ray pic) and vulnerable to electricity, Captain Scarlet demonstrates his indestructibility once more, by taking the place of the of the Mysterons’ intended victim on an operation table for brain surgery.  However, it appears that the ‘Cerebral-Pulsator’, used during the operation, sends electrical pulses directly to the patient’s brain.  It could be theorised that the amount of electricity used by the Pulsator would have been insufficient to harm Scarlet – that or, contrary to later statements in the series, Scarlet is not as vulnerable to electricity as Spectrum seemed to think he is.  It is understandable that Scarlet is not that eager to put this to the test.


About Rhapsody Angel…


There is no official source that supports a relationship between Captain Scarlet and Rhapsody Angel, as described in fanon.  Mary J. Rudy was the first to mention a romantic link between the two of them, and many fanfic writers have followed in her stead.  


However, it is quite possible that this idea might have found its source in Century TV 21 books and magazines. Rhapsody Angel is, more or less, the central character of the early “Angels” comic strip, and she is also the ‘star’ of one of the two stories featured in the “Angels” storybook from 1968, in which, along with Scarlet, she helps save a potential victim from the Mysterons – being awarded a medal at the end, with Scarlet. It is worth mentioning that Rhapsody also has a long, important chapter to herself in the book “The Angels and the Creeping Enemy”, by John Theydon.     


But it’s probably the novel “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons”, also by John Theydon, that gives weight to the ‘rumours’.  In the beginning of this book, Captain Scarlet leaves Cloudbase for a furlough in London, where he meets Rhapsody on a date – which is cut short by a Mysteron threat.  By the end of the book – in which Rhapsody plays a more prominent role than any of her Angel colleagues – Scarlet reiterates his invitation of a date immediately on his recovery in sickbay… We might add to all these observations, just for reference, a curious promotional photo, showing Rhapsody Angel wearing Captain Scarlet’s distinctive Spectrum cap, which was featured in, amongst other places, Chris Drake’s reference book, “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons”.


While this relationship with Rhapsody is open to interpretation, it is largely accepted that Captain Scarlet and Destiny Angel do, at least, know each other well enough to be good friends, and may have been – or may still be – romantically linked.  As Chris Drake suggests in the 1993 reference book ‘Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons’ – that would explain why Destiny is called on to identify the body of Scarlet at the end of episode one. Also, note that the New CGI series has drawn a positive romantic link between Scarlet and Destiny.





About his family…


The fate of Ivan Metcalf(e) in 'Holiday of Terror', by Keith Watson

Undercover Paul Blake, in 'Secret Service'



Although it is mentioned in the official sources that Scarlet is the ‘son, grandson and great-grandson’ of a long line of military officers, there are no more details given for his family.  An article from Century TV 21, prior to the launching of the Captain Scarlet TV series, mentioned a brother named Ronald, who was a banker.  In comic strips, we find an uncle, Ivan Metcalf (sic), who was Mysteronised in the story “Holiday of Terror”, and a cousin, Adrian Metcalfe, who also was Mysteronised in yet another strip, "Landslide". However, some fans might consider that these characters should not be viewed as part of the official background, as they do not consider the comic strips and articles from Century 21 as ‘canon’. A further analysis of details given by the comic strips, would suggest the family details are simply ‘inconsistencies', as the identity of Captain Scarlet, which is supposedly a secret from the world at large - as are the identities of all the other Spectrum members – seems to be known to the general public.


Aside from the above example, Paul Metcalfe is generally considered to be an only child, at least in fandom.  The generally accepted names of Paul’s parents, Mary and General Charles Metcalfe, are purely fanon, the creation of Mary J. Rudy for her stories, and these have been used by many other authors since.  



 Adrian Metcalfe and Captain Black in 'Landslide', art by Jim Watson

The history created for the character  in the New Captain Scarlet CGI series, gives American astronaut Tom Metcalfe and British astro-physicist Ann Brightman (both deceased) as Paul’s parents, as well as a sister and a nephew (unnamed to date).  However, take note that the CGI character should be considered as a different character from the Captain Scarlet of the classic series.


The Century 21 magazine from 1993 also made an interesting family link with the character of BISHOP agent Paul Blake, from the Secret Service Supermarionation series – which was ‘portrayed’ by the Captain Scarlet puppet.  According to the article found in the magazine, Paul Metcalfe was the grandson of Blake, who used the name ‘Adam Metcalfe’ as a pen-name to write novels.  To avoid this being another inconsistency in the official character history (which stated that Paul’s grand-father and great-grandfather were military officers), it was assumed in that Paul Blake was his maternal grandfather – the father of fanfic character ‘Mary’ Metcalfe – an idea which has been used in fanfic stories by Chris Bishop and now seems to have been accepted into the fanon.




Other interesting facts


Captain Scarlet, while obviously being the most experienced soldier in Spectrum, is also the youngest of the colour-coded officers, by at least a year.  He is one of four members of the Spectrum senior staff who are of British origin.  The others are: Colonel White, Rhapsody Angel, and ex-Spectrum agent, now Mysteron agent, Captain Black.  


Captain Blue – the Spectrum agent who shot him down from the top of the Car-Vu – is now Captain Scarlet's most regular partner, and best friend.  This relationship of theirs doesn't only exist in the TV series, but also in other media as well (comic strips, novels, etc.)


Captain Scarlet’s most notable character traits might be those of a loyal and courageous man, but he can also be impetuous and is often regarded as arrogant; perhaps due to his invulnerability. 

It is still unknown exactly why Scarlet escaped Mysteron control and regained his personality.  The most interesting theory –  and probably the most acceptable one to date – comes from Chris Drake’s book, stating that maybe Scarlet wasn’t ‘properly’ dead when he was Mysteronised in the first place, and that he was fighting for his life at that very moment.  It is possible that the Mysteronisation process also copied Scarlet’s personality and will to live, and that it went into dormancy while the duplicate was carrying out his orders from the Mysterons.  When the duplicate failed and the Mysterons abandoned him, the original personality took over once more.  This theory seems to appeal to many fanfic authors.


In the original script for the pilot episode, when he was killed by the Mysterons, Scarlet was replaced by some kind of robot.  After the Mysterons lost their hold on their agent, the Cloudbase computers would have been used to re-program this new Scarlet so he would become an agent of Spectrum.   But it seems that this idea was dropped, when it was realised that the viewers would find it difficult to relate to a hero who was a mechanical man - and so the indestructible hero, made of flesh and blood, was born instead. Some of the old concept, though, like the mention that computers were used to help Scarlet regain his humanity, remained in the script of the first audio adventure, 'Introducing Captain Scarlet', as well as some Century TV 21 articles.



The many faces of Captain Scarlet


Captain Scarlet

Cary Grant

Francis Matthews



Despite rumours that the puppet's appearance had been based on the young Roger Moore’s features -  even Moore himself thought that – Captain Scarlet’s face and voice were based on Hollywood British-born actor Cary Grant, as he looked in his early thirties, during the height of his career in the 40s.


Born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England, and joining a troupe of acrobats while still a teenager, he found himself in the U.S. during a tour and decided to stay there.  Training as an actor, and changing his name to Cary Grant, his career started when Mae West, searching for a new leading actor for her latest movie noticed him and said ‘if he can talk, he’s the one I want.’  Playing action, war, drama, but especially comedy movies, Grant’s career spanned from the 30s to the late 60s when he retired to raise his only daughter. Amongst his numerous and most memorable movies can be counted classics such as ‘Gunga Din’, ‘Arsenic and old Lace’, ‘Bringing up Baby’ and ‘Notorious’ and ‘North by Northwest’, two of the four Alfred Hitchcock’s movies he played in.


The voice of Captain Scarlet was provided by British actor Francis Matthews, who, reportedly, was not auditioned for the role of Scarlet. According to Matthews himself, Gerry Anderson had heard him doing an impersonation of Cary Grant and decided that was the voice he wanted for his hero. Although, still according to Matthews, Gerry Anderson ‘didn’t move heaven and earth to get him he certainly came close to it’.  

as Paul Temple


Matthews with Tingwell in 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness'


Prior to “Captain Scarlet”, and outside of Century 21 Productions, Francis Matthews played in many movies, notably in a few of Hammer Films productions:  "The Revenge of Frankenstein", as the doctor's assistant (1958), "Rasputin, the Mad Monk", in 1966, as one of the conspirators, and in the same year, he starred as the hero in “Dracula, Prince of Darkness” with Charles Tingwell playing his brother. Tingwell was also cast in “Captain Scarlet” as the voices of Doctor Fawn, the ill-fated Captain Brown, and a number of supporting characters. "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" was the third project in which the two men worked together, as in 1964, they had met on the set of "Murder Ahoy", one of Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple movie, in which Tingwell played Inspector Craddock, and Matthews landed the role of one of the villains of the movie.  From 1969 to 1971, Matthews took the title role in the TV detective series "Paul Temple".


Francis Matthews passed away on June 14, 2014, at age 86. 




Detail from one of Ron Embleton's end credit panels

Mike Noble's art for 'Secret Mission'

Art box for Japanese puzzle


Portraits by Lynn Simpson

Paul Blake, in 'Secret Service'

Detail of Embleton's poster

As previously stated the Captain Scarlet puppet, ‘heavily’ disguised under a light brown wig and spectacles, was later used as the character Paul Blake, the assistant to the Bishop, in “The Secret Service” series.  In later years, TV Century 21 would explain that this character was Captain Scarlet’s grandfather.  Soft-spoken, quiet and often bumbling, Blake has little in common with dashing, self-assured, authoritative Scarlet, except for his appearance.


For the Century TV21 comic strips that preceded and then followed the adventures of Captain Scarlet on TV, many famous artists drew the features of the indestructible hero, the first amongst them being Ron Embleton – who also created the ten wonderful panels that were used for the TV series end credits.  Embleton also drew a beautiful poster for the Anglo Confectionary bubble gums cards, featuring Captain Scarlet, other characters from the TV series: Captain Blue, Colonel White, Lieutenant Green and (possibly, judging by the hairstyle) Symphony Angel.  In the comic strips, Mike Noble followed Embleton's run, and did a wonderful job drawing many stories that are amongst the most renowned today.  Frank Bellamy – of Thunderbirds and Fireball XL-5 fame – even did a short turn on the strip, before being followed by, to name only a few,  Keith and Jim Watson, Don Harley, John Cooper,  Barry Mitchell and Mike White.


From 'We will destroy Unity City', by Ron Embleton


Very popular in Japan, "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" received the rare and in those days unusual honour - for an occidental TV series – of being adapted into manga-style comic strips, for  the manga magazine, Shōnen Book, under the title... 'Captain Scarlet'  The strip, created by  Hikari Asahioka, ran from January to August 1968. 


It was still in early Manga-style, that one of the most unusual Captain Scarlet drawings can be found, on the box art of a Japanese children’s puzzle, created during the 70s.


In the 80s, artist Lynn Simpson created a beautiful series of drawings featuring Captain Scarlet, Captain Blue, Captain Ochre, Captain Black and Colonel White.  The series, which was published in Fanderson publications, is probably amongst the rarest and most beautiful renditions of Captain Scarlet by a fan – who also happens to be a gifted artist.   


Years later, Lynn Simpson created a new drawing of 'Captain Scarlet' – this one in colour, which appeared in the first issue of the 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' magazine, published by Fleetway in 1993.  This drawing was to be the first of a series of 'Spectrum portraits' that Lynn Simpson made exclusively for the magazine.


Keith Watson  

Jim Watson






New Captain Scarlet (CGI style)


'Gamer' version

Ten minutes test version

Promotional flyer version

Final version

The latest incarnation of Captain Scarlet is, of course, that of the character created for the "New Captain Scarlet" CGI series.  It was a long process, however, before the new series even came to life. 


First, in the 90s, two very short test movies of a few seconds were created in CGI.  The first footage didn’t show Scarlet at all, but focused on the ‘resurrection’ of Captain Black in a cemetery scene; the other short, however, closely resembled a video ‘pursuit’ game, showing the Captain Scarlet character fully clad in an armour-like uniform.  This latter version was, fortunately, dismissed, but we did get a good view of his face, and it was very similar to the original puppet.


The ‘Captain Black’ test movie was kept as the basis for a new test movie of about ten minutes long, featuring the voices of both Francis Matthews and Ed Bishop (as Captain Blue).  Presented to fans at a Fanderson convention, reactions were so enthusiastic that a project was started for a new Captain Scarlet series, made totally in CGI. 


Yet again, the features of the New Captain Scarlet went through a few alterations from promotional flyer to production, before finally achieving the version that appears in the new series.  While in production, quite a few other changes happened, that made the CGI series totally different from its original Supermarionation inspiration.


Although in the CGI series, the character of Captain Scarlet kept his real name of Paul Metcalfe, his official biography underwent a drastic change.  Now English-American (the voice was provided by Wayne Forester, whose accent fluctuates in the TV series), and still born in Winchester, his mother is Ann Brightman, an English astro-physicist, and his father, American astronaut Tom Metcalfe, the first man to walk on Mars. Both his parents were killed during the outbreak of global terrorism (under non-divulged circumstances) and Paul, who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, instead joined the U.S. Special Forces.  It's there that he met with Conrad Lefkon, with whom he became friends, and both of them were eventually recruited by Spectrum, to become respectively Captain Scarlet and Captain Black. In this version of the story, Scarlet is sent with Black to Mars, but it is still Black who fires on the Mysteron complex, thus starting the war of nerves.  Taken over by the Mysterons, Scarlet tries to destroy Spectrum's flying headquarters, Skybase, only to be stopped by Captain Blue (in a way reminiscent of the original series), and then become free of the Mysterons' influence and indestructible. (As seen in 'Instrument of Destruction', Parts 1 and 2).


From the beginning of this new series, we learned that Captain Black is involved in a romantic relationship with Destiny Angel, but following the events described above, and as Black became, after Scarlet's failure to carry out the Mysterons' plans of destruction, the main agent of the Mysterons on Earth, Destiny becomes involved with Scarlet, thus creating a very tense and interesting triangle between the three characters.



Casting call for live action movie…


Karl Urban


Hugh Jackman


Pierce Brosnan


However unlikely the event of a live-action movie for Captain Scarlet is, this webmaster’s choice would these days would go to New Zealand's actor Karl Urban ('Bones' McCoy in the new Star Trek series) who won my vote since his portrayal of cool and dangerous William Cooper in Red.)A few years ago, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine, in the X-Men movies) was my choice to portray the indestructible captain. Of course, if the movie had been done ten to fifteen years ago, the obvious choice for the hero, without any doubt, would have been Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, of James Bond fame… who, in his time has even been dubbed ‘the Cary Grant of the 80s’.  Now these days, Brosnan might play a believable Colonel White...


This is a personal choice, of course, and you may have your own ideas of who might play the dashing indestructible Captain Scarlet.  There's probably many other candidates out there!