It’s an excellent time to be a fan of the excellent children’ sci-fi series Timeslip – the primary series of the cult programme is now obtainable on streaming for the primary time courtesy of BritBox, whereas model new adventures are additionally being launched by the crew at Big Finish.
Initially broadcast between 1970 and 1971, Timeslip adopted the adventures of two kids, the studious Simon Randall (Spencer Banks) and emotional Liz Skinner (Cheryl Burfield) who uncover the existence of a wierd “Time Barrier” that permits them to journey in time to alternate pasts and futures.
Airing a complete of 26 episodes, damaged up into 4 interlinked tales, the present earned a powerful essential reception within the early ’70s and has received a cult following for tackling themes like cloning and local weather change, and for its exploration of advanced themes together with man’s reckless pursuit of scientific development and abuse of expertise.
“No doubt, its enduring success and energy was the very fact it was character-led and it was story-led,” star Banks tells RadioTimes.com, 50 years on from Timeslip’s original broadcast.
“It resisted going into the realm of fantasy science-fiction – monsters, galaxies far, distant… all of which have their place, however followers at all times speak in regards to the relationship between Liz and Simon, and the story. The proven fact that it was a 26-episode persevering with arc was fairly uncommon for these days… and I feel that’s what captured individuals’s imaginations.”
“It’s not written down [to the audience], it’s truly fairly grownup,” agrees Marc Platt, a author on the classic Physician Who series who has additionally penned one among Big Finish’s new Timeslip outings.
“It’s simply so intriguing and has this potential as a result of they maintain leaping to various variations of the identical place. It’s journeys in time not house.”
“There’s a tone to it that units it aside,” provides fellow Big Finish author John Dorney. “Should you have a look at one thing like The Tomorrow Folks [also produced for ITV in the early ’70s], it feels a bit extra for youths than Timeslip ever did. Timeslip at occasions requires fairly a little bit of precise vitality I feel, from the viewer. Which is notably attention-grabbing from a kids’s programme, however then I feel TV was totally different then, so they may afford to take their time.”
“Gradual isn’t unhealthy,” Dorney continues. “It provides you element, it provides you a sure richness and scale and I feel Timeslip is the definition of measured. It is a extremely wealthy and complicated piece.”
Although a sequel to the original series was mooted, it by no means materialised for quite a lot of causes – the primary 26 episodes had gone considerably over funds, with a failure to promote the series abroad additionally taking part in a component, whereas series producer John Cooper additionally felt that Timeslip had run its course.
“There was dialogue [about a follow-up] as it completed,” Banks remembers. “However after a comparatively brief time period, I bear in mind having a telephone name from John Cooper who, as gently as potential, mentioned that after varied discussions, it had been determined that they wouldn’t be carrying us ahead.
“I used to be massively disenchanted, however I bear in mind, in his extremely quiet and well-mannered approach, he mentioned, ‘I do know it’s disappointing, however maybe it’s the best choice’ – and looking out again now, with hindsight, I feel it was most likely proper. It’s that fond reminiscence of these 26 episodes that’s remained with individuals, which is terrific.”
Within the 50 years since Timeslip premiered, its leads Banks and Burfield have remained “one of the best and closest of pals, lifelong pals” – Banks was an usher at Burfield’s wedding ceremony, whereas she’s godmother to his eldest daughter and Burfield’s husband was finest man at Banks’ wedding ceremony.
Besides, Banks says it feels “just a little bit surreal” to be revisiting Timeslip 5 a long time on, as the present turns into the most recent piece of cult programming to be revisited and revived by Big Finish as an audio series.
“The alternative to revisit one thing that you just labored on 50 years in the past is fairly uncommon, and really thrilling,” says Banks. “I can’t imagine it’s fairly occurring,” echoes Burfield. “I imply, who’d have thought, 50 years later, we’d be taking part in the identical characters?”
The new Timeslip displays the passage of time in our world, being set a long time after Liz and Simon’s childhood adventures and sees the now-adult pair encounter two youths from the 1980s, Neil (Orlando Gibbs) and Jade (Amanda Shodeko), and realise that the barrier is open once more.
“It’s remained true to the ideas of the original,” Banks says of the revival. “I feel the tone [of the original] is very comparable within the tales that we’re telling, they’re very a lot of an ilk,” echoes author Dorney. “Although there’s a level to which you don’t write issues in a vacuum, so it’s going to be influenced by trendy storytelling methods.”
Big Finish’s take on Timeslip – which spans two adventures, this month’s The Age of the Dying Lottery and June’s The Struggle That By no means Was – will, just like the original, discover topical themes by way of a fantasy lens, together with overpopulation.
The generally terse however finally affectionate relationship between Liz and Simon is one other fixed. “We may see the characters that we performed in these [new] scripts, which may’t be simple to do,” says Burfield.
“The first interchange between Liz and Simon is fairly a curt alternate over the telephone, in order that conflict is nonetheless there, nevertheless it does heat as the story progresses,” says Banks. “Because it did throughout the original,” provides Burfield. “One minute they’re at one another’s throats, the following minute they’re making an attempt to save lots of one another… it’s nonetheless thus!”
Timeslip Quantity 01: The Age of the Dying Lottery is obtainable now from Big Finish. Quantity 02: The Struggle That By no means Was will observe in June. The original Timeslip episodes 1-6 are streaming now on BritBox.