1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 1 (UK)
26 x 30 minute episodes
“Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been here before and yet everyone tells you that you can’t have been? Or perhaps you’ve felt that this has all happened to me before just like it’s happening now, and I know what’s going to happen next. Well, a lot of people do get those sensations and nobody can yet explain them . . .”
So began the first episode of the first Timeslip story (‘The Wrong End of Time’) on Monday 28 September 1970, introduced by Peter Fairley, a science correspondent for ITN Television.
Part adventure story, part puzzle and part horror story, this intelligent series told the tale of Liz Skinner and Simon Randall in four separate stories.
Liz and Simon were two children who found a time barrier that enabled them to travel into their own past and future. In this way, they were able to help others, while constantly exposing themselves to danger.
The invisible time barrier was at a deserted naval station in the village of St Oswald, which had been run in 1940 by Commander Traynor. Liz and Simon simply fell through a “hole” into another time – and sometimes another location.
When they crossed the barrier they were able to see into the present but were not visible themselves to those they had left behind.
The issue of time travel was a confusing one at the best of times. For example, when Liz was shot she felt pain and saw blood but had no wound because she didn’t actually exist in that time . . .
Liz’s parents (Frank and Jean Skinner) were heavily involved in their adventures. Jean’s telepathic link to her daughter enabled her to see Liz’s experiences in other times. Commander Traynor also figured large in the adventures. He was a government scientist with hidden secrets and a greed for knowledge – He headed up the “Ministry of Forward Development”.
Although Timeslip was a children’s show it took onboard many adult themes, such as the destruction of the Earth’s climate, the dangers involved in the progress of science and the inter-dependence of past, present and future.
Some of the times and places visited by Liz and Simon were; World War II (where Liz meets her father when he was a young naval officer and the children help to dismantle a secret laser before it falls into the hands of the Germans); A future England (now a tropical jungle due to climatic changes); and an Antarctic research base (called The Icebox) in the year 1990 where experiments with a longevity drug called HA57 are being carried out on human guinea pigs (and Liz meets her mum in the future performing experiments in telepathy)
This episode featured one of the scariest scenes of my childhood when Liz discovers the body of a woman who took a faulty batch and aged rapidly to 100 years old!
The time barrier was basically a split-screen effect which allowed characters to “vanish” into thin air.
In 1971 I hopefully hunted high and low all over the Yorkshire village I lived in for a Time Barrier. For the record, I never found one.
Cmdr. Charles Traynor
The Wrong End of Time (6 episodes) | The Time of the Icebox (6 episodes) | The Year of the Burn Up (8 episodes) | The Day of the Clone (6 episodes)