53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Classic TV Sci Fi series from 1970!,
This review is from: Timeslip: The Complete Collection [DVD]  (DVD)
Oh my, oh my... What can be said of 'Timeslip'? Indeed; what can not be said of 'Timeslip'!? Made with shaky scenery and on a low budget, but so what! Keep your hi-tech stuff; just like the Dr. Who series and Star Trek - the originals will always remain the best! For all today's technology, they are the best TV series', and the fact that they are still so popular should tell us something! I love watching this in the night, and in a darkened room and with headphones - you're almost right back there in 1970 all over again! Try it and see!
Though Timeslip was made in colour, it often features much better in black and white, and perhaps has something to do with the fact that many households still only had black and white TV sets back in 1970. Sadly, the colour film did not survive, but let's be honest and say; they were so good, and we've become so terrible at making good TV nowadays, that we perhaps didn't deserve them to survive at all, and so should be grateful! Certainly one of the most exciting SF series' ever made for kids that could also be enjoyed by adults too. I was about eight years old, going on nine when this first aired, and I can still remember playing outside quite vividly, and running in to see Timeslip after school! The kids in it were just like us, and like the kids you'd find next door. I can remember wishing I had a best friend just like Liz! I thought she was just brilliant! In those days, kids were kids, and adults were adults; there wasn't all this mixed spectrum as there is now with blurry lines being crossed; children had respect for both adults and their elders, and kids could only dream of ever being involved with any serious adventures such as Liz and Simon had. For those of you today; children were seen and not heard, and were not considered as miniature adults that has resulted in so much damage to our modern society. For Liz and Simon to become involved in such serious 'adult' matters, was a really exciting impossibility back then for us kids to fantasise about. When I see this type of TV stuff now, it just makes me want to weep and weep for what we've all lost in our silly modern society, and the very real innocence that our children no longer possess... Close your eyes to this, and fool yourselves if you wish...
These episodes always had great cliff-hangers; even between parts one and two of each instalment. It's so great that the DVD set left these Ad Bumpers intact, for it retains the true authenticity of the drama of the original showing. Timeslip had a dramatic and memorable theme score that every kid knew by heart and recognised. It was terribly exciting, and it's quite remarkable that in this modern age and after all these years, watching these can still rekindle that very same thrill! The series dealt with some very real issues and concerns of the future - a future that always appeared so very far away, and that would always remain just that; 'the future'. It somehow would never truly arrive or ever touch us. Time went so much slower in those days, unlike now when we race on down through the years and decades at what seems like the speed of light - it would forever seem the present back then. There was a great analysis of time explained in the series - both at the beginning of the first and second seasons using the great introductions from Peter Fairley - along with some great lines uttered by Denis Quilley as Commander Traynor in one of the very early episodes. (incidentally, I had quite a thing about Mr. Quilley at the time - thought his classic good looks were divine!) The camera also seems to draw attention to Jean Skinner's wrist watch as she lies dozing in a chair in one episode, as if inviting the viewer to speculate about time and all its tricks.
This series gets better upon each viewing I find, and I've now watched it many times. I paid a fortune hunting for the early video releases that were only available for a very limited period during the 90s, and consequently missed out. They were like gold dust to find, and when they first became available on DVD, I could not wait to own them. I think they could have put any price they wanted on this particular release, and it would have still sold! Interestingly it has not come down in price since its issue three years ago - the best stuff never does; good stuff does not need pushing, but sells itself upon its own merit, and now all gloriously re-mastered - what a treat!! Worth its weight in gold!
The opening of the very first episode got straight into the action by utilising the disappearance of a girl wandering through a field before your very eyes. This immediately captured the short attention span kids would have - there was no time to get bored here! As this act of 'disappearing' in the field was to become the centre of the plot, this had been a very clever idea to use to open the series. The sound effects for this sequence was quite brilliant, as they mixed both futuristic audibles with the sound of a strong eerie wind one would find anywhere blowing in an open field. This created the very atmosphere needed to inspire the imagination required for the 'Time Barrier' to exist. I can still remember as kids we went around searching for our own - mimicking the very same hand movements as Liz and Simon, so desperately feeling our way, trying to find a hole into the future or past as they did - but alas were not so fortunate...
It's interesting to note some of the very strong talent used in the adult casting - considering that these were the mere supporting roles that could have easily outshone the children who were comparatively unknowns at the time, but did not. Iris Russell - a great dramatic actress, gives a superb performance as Jean Skinner (Liz's mother) and Denis Quilley and a handsome Sandors Eles were among some of the most accomplished actors of the time that also featured.
The stories and plots are at times extremely dangerous to have involved children, and I guess would not be allowed to feature today, but it's ironic, if not puzzling, that the society we lived in was a much safer one back then, and young people were far less threatening for being exposed to this sort of thing, than they are now for supposedly being protected from it. Perhaps that explains a lot about our modern culture? Kidnapping - being held at knife-point, being shot and attacked - it was all there, and happening to the kids too - but not in reality!
A couple of the most dramatic scenes in the very first story entitled 'The Wrong End Of Time' was when Liz and Simon discover they are in a different time phase, and they are facing Liz's father and Mr. Traynor - both on the opposite sides of the 'Time Barrier'. They are attempting to catch their attention, and cannot. But the most shocking of all, has to be when Liz actually gets shot! Such a scene would never be allowed today, and protecting our young people from such scenarios has saved us all from what? Some great dialogue in this also, as Liz discusses the parody of meeting her father before she was born, and realising that he is in fact not her father, and indeed no relation to her at all at that moment! The realisation of this for Liz is just as disturbing for us, as it is for her! The character Liz was inquisitive, and was always asking questions - the same questions you found yourself asking the TV set whilst watching. It was almost done as a 'questions and answers' format which was educational in its own way. At times, Liz's character (often assumed stupid) is so brave in facing up and challenging many of the other characters she encounters in a way that Simon never does.
In the second season we find Liz's mum Jean, propelled into the future, and to The Ice Box in 1990 with a cool new hairdo, (no pun intended) looking years younger! Much more is learnt about the characters Liz and Simon and their relationship here, when they are seen sat having breakfast at the table in the opening sequences. This was a rare treat to see Liz and Simon as they really were in every day life, and without the theme of time travel to overshadow it. (oh how I wish I could have been sat at that table too!)
Timeslip was not without its humour and sentimentality either; humorous dialogue can be found between Liz and Simon when they are arguing about the woman Liz would later turn into as 'Beth version 1', and Liz calling her older self 'a rotten old cow' and 'a rat bag'; sentiment, in Beth and Larry dying together holding hands at the close of the second season whilst in the 'Ice Box'. But undoubtedly, the most memorable scene involved one of the most best-loved characters ever in Timeslip; that of Dr. Edith Joynton, played by the marvellous Peggy Thorpe-Bates! What a truly wonderful character she was! She certainly made Margaret Thatcher look pretty naff, and had all the charisma Thatcher could only dream of having! I'd have loved to have met Dr. Joynton, but unfortunately she was destined to endure the most horrific death by sudden ageing which shocked the nation at the time, and was consequently the topic of every school playground across the country! The Ice Box would never be the same without her - surely the wisest Doctor ever? She was just SO fabulous! Viewers might feel after being treated to the final episode of this second season in glorious colour that the whole twenty six episodes should have been converted before its release on DVD - and I am like-minded. However, I guess the reason for this not being done would have been the sheer cost involved, but I often wonder how one day we shall find a much cheaper way to convert old black and white material into colour - perhaps at the mere flick of a switch, and we could then be treated to its original format! Timeslip gets better and better throughout its four seasons, and has no low points - quite unique in being such a 'constant'.
The third series: 'The Year Of The Burn-Up' sees Liz and Simon growing up. We also see a different 'projection' of Beth in the future. Beth is marvellously played by Mary Preston, whom I find it hard to believe is no longer with us... (may we always remember her best for Beth - her greatest role) Also enters here the Tony Blair look/sound-alike in David Graham as the 'grown up' Simon! We meet more likeable characters such as Vera who becomes a competitor for Simon's affections with Liz, and poor Vera seems to take on the whole battle of saving the world all by herself in attempting to save a few cabbages! This whole season is far more emotional for both the kids as they develop and mature, and their friendship between each other seems to blossom and to take on a whole new meaning. We find Liz becoming even more brave, and is often the sensible one in sticky situations. There is also some more great humour as Liz gives Simon some stick about his being an A+, whilst she is merely a D- ! No way!! I adored Liz, and there is just no way she could be that dumb; she showed exceptional bravery when facing the 'Reconstructor Chamber' with Beth! There is also another more sinister version of Traynor in this, and some great dialogue as his relationship with Liz and Simon also takes on a new dimension.
In this final season entitled: 'The Day Of The Clone' - all the previous stories are tied up neatly with no loose ends - with perhaps one exception; that of the 'clone' version of Traynor who is left to wander through infinity wreaking havoc. The whole collection reaches its climax, and this is probably the most complex of stories - ironically though, the least well-remembered. The video release of this being the hardest of all to find. In this Liz gets kidnapped, and I remember hardly being able to bear the thought... As expected; Simon gets to the rescue before very long, and receives a bash over the head by Liz's shoe for the trouble! They are reunited once again to continue their back and forth through the Time Barrier. When rescuing Liz, Simon and she make a great, if somewhat amusing escape from 'the room with no windows' and from the R1 Complex to resume their adventures. We meet another very likeable ally here too, in the guise of 'Maria'. Maria is not exactly 'saved' from the horrors of her future, and so once again; Timeslip stands out as one of the most hard-hitting programmes for kids, showing that things do not always turn out as fairytales with a happy ending for all!
Timeslip will forever remain in my heart as a most magical, happy and enduring part of my childhood, that I shall relive again and again thanks to the wonders of DVD!
I'd like to dedicate this Review to Mary Preston (Beth) Denis Quilley (Traynor), Sandors Eles (Gottfried), and Peggy Thorpe-Bates (Edith Joynton) who have been 'victims' of time itself, and thus unable to be with us. Thanks to their marvellous work, they helped give us all such wonderful childhood memories in their brilliant and enduring legacy which is: 'Timeslip'.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Dec 2009 13:08:19 GMT
Adventure Buff says:
What an inspiring review. I watched this series as a child (I was around 9 or 10) and had largely put it to the back of my mind, but this review helped me remeber what a good series it was and thus have now purchased a copy and can't wait to view it! Many thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2009 00:32:39 GMT
Hi Adventure Buff,
Thank You so very much for your kind Comments. I'm so happy my Review could be of some help. I'm sure you won't regret your purchase. 'Timeslip' is one of those rare 'gems' that when revisited, is not disappointing, and therefore does not spoil your fond memories - trust me! : - )
Enjoy your trip down 'Memory Lane' - and Thank You again for your very kind Comments.
Posted on 5 Jun 2010 00:37:21 BDT
D. Starck says:
An outstanding review, thank you! It's one of the few sci-fi series from my childhood that I have NO recollection of whatsoever, but on the basis of the style of the show, the underlying themes and the outstanding reviews, I'm ordering myself a copy as a belated birthday present.. Time to slip into the past, and see one of the few sci-fi's that managed to escape me!
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2010 00:45:48 BDT
Thank You for your kind words.
You won't regret it! Nobody I have spoken to who ever saw this series when it first aired has ever changed their minds about it - however long it's been since they last saw it! It's a real credit to the Writers, child actors, low budgets, and the style of children's TV of the era in which it was made.
Posted on 29 Jul 2011 14:10:41 BDT
D. A. Johnston says:
From the opening 'shocking' music I was hooked as a 7 year old back in 1970. I could still remember the music before watching it again on vhs some 35+ years later. Funnily enough I had the same shiver of recolection when I heard the music from Tomb of the Cybermen when it was found and released.
Terrifying and exciting in equal measure.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2011 01:03:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Dec 2011 17:12:23 GMT
Hi D.A. Johnston - yes; it's great when things we watched years ago still retain their 'magc' and thrill. 'Timeslip' of course is just one of them. Let's hope they keep releasing more and more of the good old stuff!
Thank You for your Comment.
Posted on 17 Aug 2012 13:10:57 BDT
Christopher Nash says:
I'd like to add my voice to the praise of this excellent review, and of the series itself. I rate it up there with the Quatermass serials as one of the best pieces of science fiction ever created for TV - and it's even more chilling when revisited as an adult.
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