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The Time of the Ice Box- Review by Richard Smith

 

So, after the 6-part scene setter in the form of 'The Wrong End of Time', Timeslip finally kicks into gear with 'The Time of the Ice Box', a futuristic tale that sets the dark tone for the rest of the series.

Our accidental travellers, Liz and Simon, find themselves in the Ice Box, which is carrying out secret longevity and cloning experiments. Considering this was made for kids in 1970 - a quaint yet naive era - this was heady stuff. Highlights include family conflicts between Liz, her mother (both present and future) and Beth (her cold future self - one of many story twists. Each actress seems to enjoy the verbal fencing. This is Cheryl Burfield's shining performance in the same way that as The Year of the Burn Up' would become Spencer Banks's. Robert Oates, who plays Larry, could easily have carved out a great career as everybody's favourite cheeky chappie! The other great performance comes from the whirring computers in the background - supplied from the sets of Gerry Anderson's 'UFO.'

 

As for the disc itself, there are several plusses and a few questions. Considering the state of the surviving black and white film recordings, the people at Carlton have done a superb remastering job (particularly when compared with the previous VHS releases). The sound and picture are as clear as one can expect and each episode is complete - right down to the commercial break captions. The biggest plus is the inclusion of the only surviving colour segment - part six. However, the completists among us may ask "Why no "ATV'" ident at the start"? Also, might this rare treasure have been better classed as an extra? Seeing brightly coloured costumes in the middle of a series of monochrome episodes jar the eyes severely. This reviewer only has one main gripe. The design of the disc's menus lack imagination - the episode index would benefit from a choice of screen grabs to choose from, while the stills of Liz and Simon have come from another story entirely. The Year of the Burn Up, to be precise.

The extras on the disc are limited to subtitles and a specially commissioned location map. Unfortunately, the size of the average TV screen makes most of the text on it illegible, and it could have included relevant freeze frames from the show. Still, it looks colourful. As a whole, the disc satisfies, and Carlton are to be congratulated for releasing a little-known but fondly remembered series into the general marketplace.

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