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Timeslip (ITV 1970-1971, Spencer Banks, Cheryl Burfield)



Timeslip was a very well remembered teen time-travel adventure series that saw Simon Randall and schoolfriend Liz Skinner not only travelling back into the past but also into the future to meet themselves as adults.

The series begins with the first 6 part stort the Wrong End of Time with Liz and Simon and Liz’s dad Frank on a caravan holiday a part of a trip involving Frank’s revisiting some of his wartime haunts. A visit to an abandoned ministry of defence site leads to Liz and Simon discovering a “Timeslip” (a gap in the fence at the site) that takes them back to the base as it was in 1940 where they tangle with Nazi villains and the strange Commander Traynor.

The second story, The Time of the Ice Box (also told over six episodes) sees them in a frozen future. Across two more serials of seven episodes each (The Year of the Burn Up and The Day of the Clone) the duo find themselves in 1990 where Britain is on the verge of destruction thanks in no small part to Commander Traynor (who is the series Bond-esque villain).

Timeslip was also considered pretty on the money when it came to it’s scientist reasonings and even came with introductions from ITN’s (ITV’s news arm) science correspondent Peter Fairley. The series was popular enough to also receive the accolade of a strip in classic kids telly mag Look-In. There was also a tie-in novel, just called Timeslip, published in 1970. Incidentally the series now only exists in black and white.

production details
UK / ITV – ATV / 26×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 28 September 1970 – 22 March 1971

Creators: Ruth Boswell, James Boswell / Script Editor: Ruth Boswell / Scientific Advisor: Geoffrey Hoyle / Producer: John Cooper

SPENCER BANKS as Simon Randall
DEREK BENFIELD as Frank Skinner
IRIS RUSSELL as Jean Skinner
DENIS QUILLEY as Commander Traynor
JOHN BARRON as Devereaux


1. THE WRONG END OF TIME (2 October – 6 November 1970 / A 6 part story)
In the midlands town of St Oswald two children discover a time barrier, once through it they find themselves in 1940 and at an air base which is under attack from the Germans.

guest cast
JOHN ALKIN as Frank (1940) / SANDOR ELES as Gottfried / PAUL HUMPOLETZ as Graz / ROYSTON TICKNER as George Bradley / VIRGINIA BALFOUR as Alice Fortune

Writer: Bruce Stewart
Director: John Cooper


2. THE TIME OF THE ICE BOX (13 November – 18 December / 6 Part story)
Liz and Simon are in the arctic in the year 1990 at a research station where experiments into halting the ageing process are being carried out.

guest cast
JOHN BARRON as Devereaux / MARY PRESTON as Beth Skinner / PEGGY THORPE-BATES as Dr Edith Joynton / JOHN BARCROFT as Dr Bukov / ROBERT OATES as Larry

Writer: Bruce Stewart
Director: Peter Jeffries


3. THE YEAR OF THE BURN UP (24 December 1970 – 12 February 1971 / 8 part story)
Simon and Liz are sent by Commander Traynor into a tropical England in 1990, where in order to save the world, the duo have to halt a project to change world climates.

guest cast
MARY PRESTON as Beth / DAVID GRAHAM as 2957 / TERESA SCOBLE as Miss Stebbins / PATRICIA DURKIN as Delta 22 / STUART HENRY as Technician

Writers: Bruce Stewart, Victor Pemberton
Directors: Ron Francis, Peter Jeffries


4. THE DAY OF THE CLONE (19 February – 26 March 1973 / 6 Part story)
Simon sets out to rescue Liz who is being held by Traynor in research station R1, they discover that the real Traynor has been cloned and is being held captive.

guest cast
IAN FAIRBURN as Dr Frazer / JOHN SWINDELLS as Pitman / TERESA SCOBLE as Miss Stebbins / MARY LARKIN as Maria / JOHN BARRON as Devereaux

Writer: Victor Pemberton

All 26 episodes of the series enjoyed a repeat run between 2 November 1973 and 2 November 1974, although run in sequence the final few episodes were broadcast months apart.

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