My Favourite TV Programmes - The Tomorrow People
- Not in any way connected with the US TV series that began during 2013 -
This page mildly updated Thursday 8th May 2014
|Telepathic teenagers who can
jaunt themselves from place to place, who believe in peace, who don't believe in killing,
these are the Tomorrow People. The series was made in the '70's and started out being
reasonably intelligent before descending to embarrassing depths. The first three series
tend to be regarded as the good ones, and had it ended at that point, the series as a
whole would probably be more fondly remembered. For all it's faults in it's later years,
it still had it's moments and it is one of my all-time favourite series. There was a '90's
revival series and I have only recently seen any episodes of those. Both sets of
series are (sparsly!) reviewed below.
The DVD releases from Revelation are the reason one is able to see these stories again and grateful thanks go to them. It would be nice if they could re-master the stories to get rid of visual defects but even if they never will, thanks anyway.
The DVDs all have commentaries from cast members, Nicholas Young & Peter Vaughn-Clarke being the two regular attendees. The commentaries are immensely amusing in places and I always look forward to hearing these as much as I look forward to watching the actual stories. I fully recommend listening to the commentaries.
There were new audio adventures being produced by Big Finish, most starring Nicholas Young as John and Philip Gilbert as Tim. Sadly these are no longer being produced but if you can hold of any they are well worth a listen to.
A new series made in the US began in 2013 (and shown on E4 in the UK) but I haven't taken to it; there were already too many people with powers at the start of the series and lots of them just seemed to stand around playing pool. Hardly very interesting. The characters have some of the same names as those that appeared in the original UK version but that's where the similarities end. I gave up on the series within a few episodes and am unlikely to return to it.
Tim Harris, Thursday 8th May 2014
|Title||Comments (if any)|
|The Slaves of Jedikiah (5 eps)||A good start to a good series. Peter Vaughn-Clarke plays Stephen, a boy who discovers he has powers. Sought after by people with similar abilities he and they come under the scrutiny of Jedikiah, played by Francis de Wolff. Likeable story, likeable cast.|
|The Medusa Strain (4 eps)||Over-long story featuring a very annoying character, Peter. It's watchable though, and I enjoyed watching it more than on first transmission in the '70's.|
|The Vanishing Earth (4 eps)||Excellent, the best story of the first series and highly imaginative. Nova Llewellyn, as bad girl Joy, is highly watchable. The story has a good atmosphere and has an excellent villain called Spidron (or Sssspidron).|
|The Blue and The Green (5 eps)||My absolute favourite story of the lot, even with the all-too happy ending in episode five. A strong storyline about children forming two gangs and fighting over the colour they wear. Fantastic stuff.|
|A Rift In Time (4 eps)||Not a classic, and it looks like it was made with ten quid. However, it's highly watchable and I definitely enjoy watching it. The more times I see it, the more I like it. Even Peter, who makes a return appearance, isn't so annoying this time. He is still annoying though.|
|The Doomsday Men (4 eps)||Excellent first episode gives way to 3 boring episodes.|
|Secret Weapon (4 eps)||My second favourite story, it's an intense story of the military taking an interest in the Tomorrow People. Anne Curthoys as Tricia Conway is one of the best characters to appear in the series. Trevor Bannister (of 'Are You Being Served?') makes for a very realistic, sinister villain. A very intelligent story.|
|Worlds Away (3 eps)||A story that goes along at a good pace for two episodes then jumps to a quick conclusion. The story is too short if anything.|
|A Man For Emily (3 eps)||Peter Davison and Sandra Dickinson star in their first panto: it's unfortunate it took place in this series. 'Embarrassment' doesn't even really begin to cover this story: 'shame' and 'ghastly' probably begin to give more of an idea. Having said that, I liked it as a kid. It is awful.|
|The Revenge Of Jedikiah (3 eps)||A jolly good story that's as good to watch now as it was then. A story of menace. The last episode is particularly good and at the time this was going to be the last story. It wasn't and from series four the series went downhill.|
|One Law (3 eps)||Mike Holloway joins
the series as Mike Bell and I can't describe the horror I felt when I first heard he was
going into the series. At the time Holloway was in a band called Flintlock and I can't
describe what I felt about them either, just think 'Gordon Ramsey' and the kind of
language he uses.
I detested this story when I first saw it, it's about bank robbers, ooh, how exciting. Watching this recently, I'm beginning to warm to it, and even Holloway isn't quite as bad as I remember.
|Into The Unknown (4 eps)||I couldn't remember
this story until I saw it recently. To sum it up: four episodes, three sets, four
teenagers on a spaceship, no powers, into a blackhole, out of a blackhole, naff bad guys,
whoop-de-do.The story starts with a pre-credit sequence of Mike and Tim
(the computer) composing a 'pop song'. Tim sings. Oh dear.
Episodes 2 & 3 end with the same footage/cliffhanger.
Episode 4 has a four and a half minute reprise from episode 3.
It ends with Mike having one of the worst 'funny lines' in the history of the series.
I could go on for ages but that would make me as boring as this story.
|The Dirtiest Business (2 eps)||A story with shades of series 3 story 'Secret Weapon'. A strong storyline and excellent supporting cast makes this one of the best stories.|
|A Much Needed Holiday (2 eps)||Cheap, cheerful but extremely well directed.|
|The Heart Of Sogguth (2 eps)||Mike Holloway's (less than average) band Flintlock make an unwelcome appearance in a naff story about a drum that for reason given is possessed by an evil spirit. Ooh, how scary. Sadly, Flintlock do not get destroyed by this 'evil drum'.|
|The Lost Gods (2 eps)||Misako Kobo makes her first appearance as Hsui Tai, my least favourite regular to appear in the series (I even prefer Holloway's character to this one).|
|Hitler's Last Secret (2 eps)||A pretty good story that should have been longer, four parts instead of two. A dark and rivetting story.|
|The Thargon Menace (2 eps)||Mike Holloway, in the commentary for 'One Law' refers to this one as a good story. I disagree, it's one of the very worst. Very badly cast and very silly.|
|Castle Of Fear (2 eps)||Average story, though I did like new character Andrew Forbes (Nigel Rhodes).|
|Achilles Heel (2 eps)||A very good episode 1 but a naff part two.|
|Living Skins (2 eps)||Excellent. Whilst not an expensively-made story, it is highly atmospheric and wish it had been four episodes long instead of rwo.|
|War Of The Empires (4 eps)||Not a bad story to finish on, it's got entertainment value and I quite like the cheap alien costumes.|
1990's Version of The Tomorrow People
|1) The Origin Story||Not bad, a quite enjoyable beginning to a new version of the series. A quite likeable cast though I was disappointed that Megabyte gained powers by the end of the story: I'd have liked the TPs to have had an intelligent but non- super powered assistant.|
|2) The Culex Experiment||Mad woman scientist steals
machine in order to clone a super race of mosquitoes. It sounds more like an Avengers plot
than a Tomorrow People plot. I can't help thinking she should have duplicated money or
something more useful. I found this story boring.
A new Tomorrow person appears in this story, replacing one from the previous story.
|3) Monsoon Man||Yet another Tomorrow person has
simply disappeared without explanation, and this is only the 3rd story! Very unsettling!
Mad American cereal producer develops machine in order to control the weather to destroy his rivals' fields/crops in order to dominate the market. I can't help thinking that he should have had a better reason for going to such lengths and I found this story over-long and boring.
|4) The Rameses Connection||Episode 1 is the single best
episode of the '90's series. It is tense, mysterious, fast, pacey and brilliant. Episodes
2 - 5 are pretty much dull but this is the best story of this particular series.
Christopher Lee is excellent as the bad-guy.
The last episode of the story is a bit of a bore by rambling on and on about how Christopher Lee's character is going to increase his power.
|5) The Living Stones||A very enjoyable story
overall, nice effects and good use of budget.
Had the series contained a more consistent set of characters, had they had a 'base' such as in the original series, had Nickelodeon displayed more confidence by ordering full-length series', had it been better promoted, this might have been a more successful series.
The concept of the series is simple: kids with powers out to better the world. How simple, how very simple to resurrect it, give it a 21st Century makeover and get it going again. There's more to The Tomorrow People than should be allowed to stay hidden away for ever.
Doctor Who was successfully revived in 2005, and so could The Tomorrow People. Simple. Bring it back, better than ever.
Update 8th May 2014: It was brought back and I haven't taken to it. There are already too many people with powers and it is very dull. The character names might be the same but this is a very different series.