Three children have vanished from the tiny Midlands village of St Oswald. First to disappear is local girl Sarah, then Simon Randall and Liz Skinner, who are on holiday with Liz’s parents. Only Commander Traynor, an apparent stranger to the area, can offer some idea of where they are – and that idea is so incredible and horrifying that the Skinners cannot believe it…
For those of us of a certain age, rewatching Timeslip is rather like the programme itself – dropping back into our own pasts and seeing that things aren’t quite as you imagined them to be. There are so many powerful images – particularly in terms of the cliffhangers – that are, if anything, stronger than you remembered them being, now that, as an adult, you understand the ramifications more.
That’s one of Timeslip’s strengths: it doesn’t talk down to its audience. In the same way that Doctor Who would adjust its age range upwards as the Seventies rolled on, Timeslip appeals on one level to the children at whom it was aimed – but there’s plenty there for the adults who sat and watched with them. As Andrew Pixley’s detailed and very readable booklet explains, Victor Pemberton was brought in to assist with the final story when the show’s season was extended to 26 episodes, and came up with one of the key conceits that explains how it all ties together. (If you’ve not watched it, I won’t spoil it.) Pixley’s booklet also categorically nails down which episodes were made in colour, which in black and white – and why.
As well as the whole series, there’s plenty of special features on the set, including the mini-episode Beyond the Barrier, the feature-length documentary Behind the Barrier, as well as convention footage and a MythMakers-esque return to the location for the cast. If you’re interested in the Look-In strips that took Simon and Liz way beyond the confines of the show, Pixley’s booklet includes a very detailed look at each story.
With a total running time equivalent to that of one of Netflix’s Marvel shows, you could binge watch this – but one episode a day will give you a highly entertaining and thought-provoking month of viewing.
Verdict: A true classic brought back for a new audience. 8/10