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’) which was broadcast on Monday 28 September 1970 and 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 (Cheryl Burfield) and Simon Randall (Spencer Banks) in four separate stories.
Liz and Simon 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 Charles Traynor (Denis Quilley).
Liz and Simon simply fell through a “hole” into another time – and sometimes another location. When they crossed the barrier they were still 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 (Derek Benfield) and Jean (Iris Russell) Skinner, were heavily involved in their adventures and 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.
Liz and Simon travelled to World War II – where Liz met her father when he was a young naval officer and the children helped to dismantle a secret laser before it fell into the hands of the Germans.
They also journeyed to a future England which was now a tropical jungle due to climatic changes, and to an Antarctic research base (called The Icebox) in the year 1990.
Here, experiments with a longevity drug called HA57 were being carried out on human guinea pigs (and Liz met her mum in the future performing experiments in telepathy)
This episode featured one of the scariest scenes of my childhood when Liz discovered 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 that 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)