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Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 10:23 GMT
Lady Penelope in the dock
Lady Penelope
Lady Penelope: compared to Bette Davis
Thunderbirds secret agent Lady Penelope has been criticised for glamorising smoking by a lung cancer charity.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has accused the television puppet show of "blatant advertising" of smoking.

The cult series, which is being shown on BBC Two, features posh secret agent Lady Penelope, who is never seen without her cigarette holder.


As with the great classic movies of the 1940s and 1950s such as Bette Davies in Now Voyager, smoking is incidental to the plot

BBC spokesman
The charity says the BBC "missed an excellent opportunity" to wipe the smoking scenes when the show was remastered.

Media and fundraising manager Sian Freestone Walker said: "The programme is actually glamorising smoking and if you can get rid of that and stop promoting the habit, it would be a positive move.

"The BBC has missed a good opportunity with new digital techniques to paint the cigarettes out and bring the programme up to date.

But the BBC denied the show promotes smoking.

Lady Penelope and co-creator Sylvia Anderson
Lady Penelope and co-creator Sylvia Anderson
A spokesman said: "There are no plans to cut or edit the smoking scenes in Thunderbirds.

"The series was made for a family audience and does not glorify or encourage smoking.

"As with the great classic movies of the 1940s and 1950s such as Bette Davies in Now Voyager, smoking is incidental to the plot and the series was made at a time when smoking was socially acceptable."

See also:

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