DONALD Trump and his charmless White House cronies have achieved the impossible this week, in making me smile and become all dewy-eyed and nostalgic.

Their achievement is an inadvertent one however, to which no credit can be attached.

Rather, the announcement this week of a military space force to protect America from, in vice-president Mike Pence's words, "the growing security threats emerging in space”, flooded my memory with images of Thunderbirds episodes past.

Maybe that is because Mr Pence's podium manner resembles uncannily the jerky, wooden movements of the show's stars, such as Jeff, Scott and Virgil Tracy.

The only thing missing from Mr Pence's performance were the puppet strings, though these days it is entirely feasible that he was being operated by remote control.

Best of all however, was the announcement of the logo competition, and in true Trump presidency style even this is heavily controlled. Instead of being given carte blanche to come up with their own logo, entrants must pick from one of six designs.

And all six bear the legend 'Space Force' in a suitably heroic font, with familiar galactic tropes - rockets, stars, plumes of engine smoke - included as decoration.

These, without exception, resemble nothing more however, than logos for a new, Thunderbirds-like TV series. There is something undeniably cheesy and collect-the-plastic-figures-from-a-box-of-your-favourite-cereal about them.

If the United States of America is going to spend untold billions of dollars on a hifalutin weapons system for space, it will of course be far more hi-tech than Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation creations of the 1960s.

But it will undoubtedly too, be far less fun - and the USA has been here before.

In the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan, there was the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), the space element of which was dubbed 'star wars' by an extremely sceptical media.

Probably better then, that Space Force be simply a new children's TV series.

And the person who controls Mike Pence? He or she is good. The programme makers should sign them up.