Friday, May 05, 2006

From 'The Sunday Ephemeral' (No date visible on the fragment)


By Clerihew Potash

Miss Hood, who has sadly left us, will of course be familiar to hundreds of young watchers of the 'telly' from her appearances on Paint Along With Gully. But keen-eyed readers of the science weeklies will be familiar with another aspect of this fascinating chapette. Many of her exploits still reside 'neath the cloak of the Official Secrets Act, but the sterling character of her war service is a matter of public record, as are her attempts on the stratosphere and her charming series of stories for children which went out in nine volumes over as many years.

Detailing the misadventures of a pilot in the air force (or rather, space force) of the future, Caroon of RAF Luna was an immediate success with bright children throughout the empire. Calls for a follow-up were met within the year and, much to her surprise, Miss Hood found herself with yet another string to her many-strung bow.

That she was able to find time in between important (and still classified) work at Penda's Fen on behalf of (among others) the BERG to turn out the series which enthralled so many is a testament to the woman, her grit and vim, and most of all her pluck.

The books gained in popularity with every new volume, and soon Caroon was troubling Biggles for shelf-space in libraries up and down the land. A BBC radio series followed, and who can forget Peter Sellers as the unfortunate Victor, pleading plaintively (but, of course, hilariously) to be rescued as his rocket, HMSS (Her Majesty's Space Ship) Spitfire stuck in orbit for three years around the moon finally began to sink towards that dead planet's dark side? For a whole summer the catch-phrase on everybody's lips was 'Help meeeeee. Please help me'. A television version the following year was generally considered to be less successful.


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