Timeslip... On Video
The complete Timeslip series was released as four double pack videos during the early nineties by ITC Home Video. Depending on where you purchased them from you could buy them for around £16.99.
The catalogue numbers were:
The Wrong End of Time (ITC 8115)
The Time of the Ice Box (ITC 8116)
The Year of the Burn Up (ITC 8117)
The Day of the Clone (ITC 8118)
At the time, ITC Home Video were capitalising on their back catalogue of television programmes from both the ITC and ATV folds with releases as diverse as The Persuaders! Tiswas and The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Wrong End of Time debuted in 1992 with the other serials following shortly after at sporadic intervals.
ITC were forced to use black and white film recordings of all the episodes due to the unavailability of the series in colour. As such both sound and picture quality is lacking to various degrees throughout all of the releases. The Wrong End of Time is a reasonably clear print but is marred by surface marks that appear especially on the darker shots. The Day of the Clone has very poor sound in places with episodes varying in quality. In a surprising move, ITC Home Video elected to use the black and white film recording of part six of The Time of the Icebox despite the original colour video tape existing. Whether they did this out of ignorance of its existence or to provide continuity of presentation to the tapes is unknown.
The episodes were also haphazardly edited to remove the commercial break bumpers and the original ATV/ITC logos to make them more palatable for video release. It should be noted though that these were film recordings made for international sales and the ATV network logo had already been removed and replaced with the ITC one at an earlier date.
Sloppy editing here and there meant that you could occasionally hear the “echo” of the commercial break sting around the middle of some episodes. The commercial break during part one of The Year of the Burn Up is very obvious with the show’s theme music running over a scene of Liz leaving home.
The music and end titles would sometimes cut off suddenly before the ATV/ITC logo appeared following the end credits… especially on The Day of the Clone.
But the key thing was that the series was finally available to fans.
The box design remained uniform through the releases utilising an enhanced shot of the naval station gateposts together with a selection of black and white stills. Many of the stills were poorly chosen with one being matched to the wrong serial whilst two others being quite obviously rehearsal shots.
The shot of Simon, Liz, Gottfried and Sarah on the cover of the first serial shows them performing in broad daylight whilst the actual scene occurred at night in the final version. The shot of Liz and Larry in the fantasy room that adorns the cover of the second serial shows Cheryl in her street clothes as opposed to her Liz costume.
On the back of the same video, the two stills used above the blurb are both taken from the previous serial.
The double box sets were all released haphazardly over the space of several months. The final release ‘Day of the Clone’ seems to have not been distributed as widely as the other three titles leading to its apparent rariety.
Although it is easy to level complaints at the presentation and packaging of the video releases, one must still be thankful ITC Home Video released them in the first place. They could, looking at the poor black and white prints of this once colourful serial, just as easily passed it over in favour of something more colourful and high profile.