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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 June 2008
Into the Labyrinth has to be one of the all time classic spooky and original kids series in years. Produced over three series from 1982 to 1984 on ITV it starred Ron Moody as magician Rothgo. Who is thwarted in his quest to regain the all powerful Nidus through time and space by the sexy Pamela Salem as the witch Balor. The Nidus much like the Dr Who 'Key to Time' has the power to hold the universe together and can be used as a weapon. Rothgo manages to entice three children into his cave where he controls the Labyrinth. The Dying Rothgo summons his powers to send the kids on a quest into the Labyrinth to find the Nidus. So over the first two series the children collect parts of the Nidus from various time zones. Rothgo takes on the form of various important people through history. As the locations are set in the caves it means that the time travel lacks credibility but it makes it feel spooky. In the final series Ron Moody leaves the part to be replaced by Lazlo who in effect takes over the role. This series was almost all filmed at the Wooky Hole caves in somerset and some studio filming. The effects are quite rubbish by todays standards and Balor flying through the caves looks comical. I am so glad that this series is finally being issued and I can't wait to see it again. It's one of those childhood jems that tend to stay in the memory and you never get the chance to re-live.
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One has to be positively biased when a release like this is made, since it just wasn't available at all before. The whole series in one pack and good quality of audio/video may be the required minimum to match; both of them are achieved here. But a certain additional effort would have been very welcome; since this show was successfully broadcasted in other European non-English-speaking countries, any subtitles would be extremely useful (even English would do). The same to say about extra audio or a simple booklet; considering The Third Eye programme spanned into other 3 similar shows, that would provide enough interesting stuff to write about.
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on 14 April 2011
Well, I always wanted to have this tv. serie since i was child. This is one of my favourites series when i was very very young, and now i can remember it and enjoying it.
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on 11 December 2013
I watched the series with 7 or 8 aged. I loved the magic mystery atmosphere. Specially seasons 1 and 2 where Rodgo appears.
Season 3 with the "jester" Lazlo and the change from historical based plot to fictional literature plot don't work the same way, but all in all...

I recommmend the series
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on 1 February 2012
This is a broadly Who-ish concept. Ancient wizard Rothgo sends children into the past to retrieve his power source- the Nidus & prevent witch Belor from getting her mitts on it. Ron Moody who plays Rothgo was offered Dr Who but turned it down (leaving the role free for Jon Pertwee) & apparently regretted it, this maybe why he signed up for Labyrinth. He initially plays Rothgo as a curmudgeonly old soul, complaining that he has been sent children to help him, but he becomes a more avuncular figure to the kids quickly. As Rothgo he is reserved, almost underplaying it but as the kids reach each time period and he plays earlier incarnations of Rothgo, he is having a lot more fun, occasionally quite theatrical but that's only a problem in weak eps like the pantomimesque "Cave of Diamonds."
Belor is a good adversary, Pamela Salem (great surname for an actress playing a witch!)wisely decided to play the role full on which works well. She is sometimes at her best when Belor's in disguise e.g. as Faginlike Fanny Hyde in Dr Jekyll & Mrs Hyde.
The children Lisa Turner, Simon Henderson & Simon Beale are variable but they all have good moments. Beale is generally the strongest of the 3.
The writing is largely quite good producing jolly stories such as Shadrach, Dr Jekyll & Mrs Hyde but where there's a really interesting idea e.g. an ageing Robin Hood living off rabbits because he's past proper hunting in Robin or Guy Fawkes trying to work with King Charles to prevent the gunpowder plot in Gunpowder, 26 minutes is not enough time for the story to breathe.
There are a few ideas that might have been worth developing more such as the suggestion in Gunpowder that Rothgo died as Guy Fawkes but came back after.
There is a large Who content amongst the writers with well known Dr Who scribes Bob Baker (co-creator of the show), his ex-writing partner Dave Martin, John Lucarotti, Anthony Read & Robert Holmes. Also 2 other authors wrote scripts for Who which were never used Morris Fahri and SF novelist Christopher Priest.

Series 3 saw only Simon Beale come back out of the younger actors and Ron Moody's Rothgo being replaced by younger actor Chris Harris as Lazlo. Lazlo is a more overtly comic creation & not an attempt to make a Rothgo clone. Harris clowns too much sometimes & is not helped by lines like "Come on Phil it's a race against slime!" but his character works & is quite fun. Belor is back but gets a useless henchman Bram (played by veteran actor Howard Goorney) who is dedicated to being no earthly use to anyone.

The formula is a straight forward one; the kids/Phil arrive at a time look for Rothgo/Lazlo locate the Nidus/pice of Nidus/missing half of Scarabeus. They then face a peril linked to the plave they have visited ususually orchestrated by Belor who then prevents them gaining what they are looking for. They then move on. A slight change for series 3 is a green slime which threatens to envelop Phil & Lazlo if they do not get the scarabeus back in time. Series 3 features "Delta Time" where fioctional characters like the Phantom of the Opera & Dr Jekyll are real.

It has no final ending, just a series ending for series 3, which would not have prevented series 4 had they wanted to do it.

Cheapness & the production values, is a problem. There is an over-reliance on CSO which dates it, but to be fair it was for kids, not a family audience & CSO was near enough the norm 30 odd years ago.
Almost everything takes place in the cave sets which are just redressed a bit for each new time, which is a little like a school play.
There's a dreadful attack of plasticine dinosaurs created by Rothgo in 1 ep which looked bad even then! Who's Invasion of the Dinosaurs is Jurassic park by comparison!

Also the labyrinth which the enter to go into different times in series 1 & 2 should be a centrepiece, given the series title. Instead it's a barely knee high to the kids, cheaply made maze which looks like it was made from papier mache'. It almost invites the title "Whoops Labyrinth!"

For all it's faults it remains a fun bit of nonsense. Well worth a look if you saw any of it 1st time around or if the writers are ones whose work you have enjoyed before.

If you have no such interest to begin with, it may not be for you.
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on 19 July 2015
Each of the actors give a great performance - give it all they have got. Well worth buying just for that.
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on 14 August 2008
Well I could vaguely remember the 'labyrinth' part of the title, which got me here, and absolutely amazed to find it. I must have been about 10 years old when I watched this and I still remember "a second can be a very long time".

Strange memories of this a bit like "Sapphire and Steel" for my peers as well I think.Well done to those people who have got around to releasing it, only 24 years after it first aired on TV!
Can't wait for it to land on the doormat.
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on 8 December 2015
I would like to have spanish translation too, but what I consider unforgivable is that there is no subtitle in any language, even English.
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on 13 July 2010
I recall seeing this series so purchased the dvd.I must say that even by the standards then this was a low-budget affair judging by the settings and none-too special effects reminiscent of an inept party conjuror rather than all-powerful wizards in their pomp.

Just goes to show how memories can be enhanced down the years of what was initially perceived as a classic series only to reveal itself much as Rothgo himself does as a wooden former decent actor whose best was achieved in "Oliver!" and who does his level best to inject some albeit coarse and thick slices of ham into the proceedings in a vain attempt to instill drama into some repetitive and boring samey scripts.

Even the music signalling a dramatic moment was shamelessly plucked and plagiarised from the excellent "Timeslip".

"I'll shoot my agent!" cries Rothgo whose presence here is as original as the constant one-liners like "I am Rothgo....Rothgo???....I'm confused...." whenever his name is uttered by the children.Ah,the children......

Child actors all and did they ever work again after this?

A bit of eye-candy was cast in the form of Pamela Salem,but even her undoubted assets did not withstand the memory test and appeared much smaller than I had remembered them.

So the whole series,all three of them,lurch through 7 episodes each of excruciating lack of imagination as kids chase the nidas through different timezones treating us all to a little primary school history as they go,Rothgo and Pam lock horns and attempt to electrocute each other on an all too frequent basis,usually resulting in Pammy getting whiplash or a sore neck her facial contortions resembling someone who overdid the laxatives rather than a mystical and powerful being,always recovering just in time to deny them the nidas and the whole script gets rehashed and repeated repeated repeated next episode and in subsequent episodes in subsequent series.

So Rothgo is confused?I was confused at how they got three series out of one shonky script."Into The Labyrinth"???I personally couldn't wait to get out.

If I were to advise on a remake,it would last two minutes......

Opening credits,scene in caves (papier-mache),then straight into the main course.....

"I deny you the nidas!!!!!"....

fair enough....anyone fancy a pint?
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on 10 December 2010
As an eight year old I enjoyed this show immensely. Not so much now as an adult. Season one is okay. Rich atmosphere and good general idea, but little depth or explanation. Seasons two and three become progressively worse. The ultimate flaw is the introduction of slapstick humor. Perhaps funny to an eight year old, but a terrific bore to this thirty five year old.
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