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Ten Things People Remember About Timeslip

 

Ten Things People Remember About TIMESLIP

Like The Tomorrow People, Ace of Wands, Freewheelers, Children of the Stones and certain other children's drama series from the 70s, TIMESLIP has a special hold on the memories of those who saw it. However, its lack of visibility over the years since its last screening back in 1974 means that it remains a vague but still firm memory outside television enthusiast circles. As such, there are many aspects of the show that are constantly brought out in TV nostalgia conversations when memories are jogged and the subject of TIMESLIP is brought up.

These are some of them...

 

1. The kid with the glasses....

Simon Randall is the swotty kid with the glasses who's curiosity about all things science get him into trouble beyond the time barrier whilst his clever deductive powers allow him to solve the mystery of the clones in the final instalments...

Spencer Banks, who played Simon, did not wear glasses in real life. They were given to him to make the character look more studious. Very often Spencer would be caught without them before (and occasionally during) takes...

Take a look at some of the rehearsal shots from Time of the Ice Box and you'll see what I mean. Interestingly, Spencer himself now wears glasses in real life! He also still has the prop glasses...


 

2. The girl with the pigtails...

Liz Skinner was the girl in the first serial with the sensible clothes - cardigan, pleated skirt and the obligatory pigtails... Unfortunately this was all put to shame by the time the third serial came along.

Here, her clothes of choice were a tied-off white blouse, tight pink shorts and plenty of sweat... (well, the Earth WAS burning up!!) It can safely be assumed that many a young juvenile male discovered something wonderful about himself during the course of The Year of the Burn Up...


 

3. The scary Commander Traynor...

Commander Charles Traynor was played by the rising star of Denis Quilley but who was Traynor really??? Throughout the course of the series, Quilley found himself having to play no less than four VERY different Traynors... The basic Traynor first appears in at St. Oswald seeking the truth behind the disappearance of a young girl. As Liz and Simon's adventures beyond the time barrier become more and more intriguing, so this Traynor is seen to become more and more obsessed with their discoveries in the future until we later learn his real reason for this fascination... He is, in fact, A CLONE with his own personal agenda for the future! Then there's the Commander Traynor that Liz and Simon meet at the naval station in 1940: a jolly but firm man of science who spars verbally on an intellectual level with the German Gottfried. A nice bloke and the sort of gentleman naval officer that inhabits boy's own adventure stories. Then there's the loopy Traynor who betrays everyone in the future world of 1990 during the burn up. Nutty as a fruitcake, babbling about light and dark, we later learn the reason for this... He's a faulty clone! Then finally, in (aptly) the final story we finally get to meet the final piece in the final puzzle that is Timeslip. The REAL Commander Traynor... He's been locked in a room in Dr. Frazer's office for five or so years whilst the clone Traynor was made and took his place. This Traynor is a broken man but still has the strength to confront his doppelganger... All in all, a unique role for any actor and one that the young Denis Quilley in the early stages of his career, grasped by the horns...


 

4. The time barrier everyone had...

Back in the seventies, every kid had a time barrier near to them... Like Doctor Who's Police Box in the sixties, concrete fence posts were everywhere... and if they had chain link fence attached to them then the simple action of borrowing your Dad's wire cutters ensured that you had a hole with which to "travel through the time barrier with." Of course, we could not condone such action today!


   

5. The theme music...

The deeply dramatic and overpoweringly menacing theme music performed by a huge orchestra with very loud instruments... It was once used during an eighties radio phone-ins "Guess the TV theme..." competition. Such off the mark guesses by listeners as Superman, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes only served to emphasise the fact that this was real music for real heroes...


 

6. The death of Edith Joynton...

This was the talk of the playground... The jolly Dr. Edith Joynton - aged to death in The Time of the Ice Box (after her dose of the longevity drug is mis-prescribed) in glorious close-up scaring all the parents but mesmerising all the kids. The TV Times published a picture of the actress Peggy Thorpe-Bates unrecognisable under heavy make up. Kids took the magazine to school and bandied it around the playground telling their friends they had a picture of a "dead old woman." And all the girls were horrified...





 

7. The end of the world...

It happened during the commercial break in part six of 'The Year of the Burn Up'. A strange electronic warble filled the air and one of the Alpha clone secretaries gazed up into the night sky over London to witness the stars and planets growing larger... Well, it scared the proverbial out of me!

  8. The Nazis...

Everyone remembers the Nazis were part of Timeslip... but most people who haven't seen the series since it first aired are hard pressed to work what they actually had to do with a serial famous for its tackling of issues like global warming and cloning. A force of three German-speaking Nazis (and a handful of silent extras) invaded the St. Oswald naval base in 1940... How they got to Rutland from the coast wearing full German naval uniforms is anyone's guess but it probably had something to do with the traitor at the pub. (Ooops! Given that one away!) There was also Gottfried, their Capitan! Played with a depth of character by the late Sandor Eles. His verbal sparing with the avuncular Commander Traynor of the 1940s is a highlight of the series often ignored in the wake of the scientific histrionics of the later episodes...




 

9. Poor Frank Skinner...

Poor Frank... He never did anything to anyone (except disagree with anyone that wasn't his daughter...!) He loves his wife and daughter dearly yet... he can't help attracting the wrong sort of luck! Whilst guarding the naval station at St. Oswald's during the Second World War, he is stunned into catatonia by an experimental laser and spends the next five episodes stumbling in and out of an amnesiac delirium. When the kids find themselves at the futuristic Ice Box, he's found to be a frozen "corpse" having run into debts with his business ventures and "sold" himself off as a human guinea pig. Even when he's revived, he can do little more than mumble and moan before the whole ice box freezes over and he's forced into drinking Dr. Bukov's anti freeze to survive. Heaven alone knows what became of the poor man during the future of the burn up... Possibly the victim (along with his migraine suffering wife) of a Logan's Run-style population control brought in by the Technocrats to euthanise the over forties... And to cap it all, he shares his name with an over-rated, over-paid brummy comedian who plagued the real 1990s... and beyond!


 

10. The Ice Box...

The Ice Box proved that 1990 would be a groovy place to be at! Blue polo neck zip-up body stockings and silver PVC girdles... and that was just the men!!!

Virtual reality entertainment, a compact music system with not a CD insight and an e-mail style print-out of a tailor made newspaper showed everyone what to expect of the REAL future... They also had those neat reel-to-reel computers with the cool flashing lights that SHADO used to fight the Aliens in Gerry Anderson's U.F.O. No wonder they wanted to live forever! And they did, thanks to HA57!!


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