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THE TOMORROW PEOPLE-A Rift In Time


Chase - Posted on 15 December 2009

A RIFT IN TIME

 

1-Vase of Mystery

 

NOTE: throughout this ep, the floors are not shown clearly if at all. Nick Young, on the commentary seems to think this had to do with the strikes that plagued this series’ entire run—something to do with the fact that the floors hadn’t been painted properly.  

 

In a hazy dream that Stephen is having, Peter, the Time Guardian seems to run through a forest; freeze framing and in trouble. Stephen wakes up in his striped bed with striped pillow case and wearing his collared yellow PJs. He shuts his eyes and seems to keep getting the images of his dream that won’t go away. He telepaths to John, telling him that he thinks he just had a dream that wasn’t a dream. John jaunts over to Stephen’s bedroom and wearing a brown night robe. Stephen tells him he didn’t have to come over to hold his hand and John tells him he was awake anyway (?). Stephen jokes that he should go on Hughie Green but John says this is serious: they’ve just had the same dream.

 

The theme song starts and …it’s a different arrangement. About the theme song: recently a CD of music was made and it has two versions of the theme song, both of them long and both of them seemed to have been edited for the first season and the rest of the run of the show. This ep seems to have been an experiment playing around with the arrangement, stressing some parts and distressing others, giving it an almost faster pace yet a calmer tone. It also ends faster and differently. It’s quite nice. On the commentary, Nick Young and others discuss how this theme song was lifted from some game show or other and that on that game show the contestants also vanish like a jaunt. Huh?

 

Also on the commentary, Peter Vaughn Clarke talks about how he looks like a monkey but Nick Young states that all of them look so beautiful. I’d have to agree with Nick. Earlier on PVC as Stephen had some kind of pimple on his chin and later he has some kind of cold sore on his nose or lip but either way, Stephen looks absolutely beautiful in this story. Ditto Liz Adare. Much is made on the commentary of her wig but honestly it looks fantastic and not like a wig at all. Nick says it’s very much like the Supremes. When Liz Adare notes his long sideburns and curly hair, he jokingly counters with “At least it’s my own.”   Nick also makes some asides about Richard Speight’s acting and despite that I still like Richard Speight and the character. Nick also mercilessly teases PVC who is in good spirits all the time and has a good sense of humor and takes almost all of it.

 

Liz did not have the dream and it might be because she didn’t know Peter. Carol really knew him best, Stephen says. TIM tells John, Liz and Stephen that when Carol returned from her adventure in the future in 26th century hyper space, some 800 years into the future, he was able to probe her mind and create an accurate picture of what went on there. He shows them images of Peter the Time Guardian in a cell talking to Carol about who he is and what the Grand Eternal Order of Time Guardians is. John tells her that Peter is 163 and Liz, putting on lip stick in a mirror, jokes, “What kind of make up does he use?”   John laughs, “This is serious.”   TIM gets a transgalactic communication from Carol (and we laughingly see only a still picture of Sammie Winmill, although one of the credits in the end says Sammie Windmill!). She hopes that they will be able to figure out what is wrong and if Peter is in trouble, rescue him or help him somehow. John tells them Carol was very fond of Peter and would want them to help him. TIM tells them that transgalactic communication if very bad right now and that they can only receive, not send. Stephen figures that if Peter is in trouble, they have to not only figure out where but when he is. Liz doesn’t want to create more problems but she notes that since Time Travel is not yet one of their special talents, how are they going to get to him? TIM really has no ideas on this matter. He also tells them that he doesn’t dream as they do but he does sometimes have to switch parts of himself off in order to relocate information in a random way and that is a little like dreaming but he doesn’t dream in the normal sense. John, almost fatalistic, says, “No, of course you don’t.”  He then smiles and tells them this is one time that sleeping on the problem really will come in handy.                 

 

Stephen dreams that night and sees Peter holding a vase up to him. When John jaunts over, Stephen smiles about putting flowers in it. On the commentary PVC says he wonders why he’s dreaming of young blond boys. Nick Young states, “No change there, then.”  At the lab, Stephen is working in the dark room and we see a rare angle out of it into the Lab. TIM accesses the New York University Department of Antiquity’s records and they have 8427 items that he can show the boys. Stephen balks that it will take all night. TIM tells them it will help Peter and he assured Carol they will do all they can do to help Peter. Stephen says, “Still, all night.”  They start.

 

Liz arrives in the Lab the next morning and finds the two almost asleep; Stephen stretches. They have been up all night looking at vases. TIM tells them it is time to get started again and he shows them one that John believes they have already seen. TIM tells them he has not shown them this one and only repeated ones that they requested they see twice. John realizes this is the vase in the dream. Liz tells them she brought them luck and that maybe next time they should have called her in. John agrees. The gladiator vase is in a sealed case after having been found by archeologist Professor Freda Gardner. John feels that they will have to steal it but Stephen has an idea…

 

In a university across from the House of Parliament (and we see out the windows and for all the great location shooting, it looks like a still photo, Thames and all!). Honestly, the location work is great but the poor filmic quality does not hold up as well as the video stuff in this ep and there’s little to no movement outside the windows. In addition, PVC believes this was shot  across the street and maybe at St Thomas’s Hospital or something like that. On line there used to be so many TP sites and now there are few and they are not great and in addition there were location guides. In any event, Freda comes in to the university room which has a large series of windows overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. She seems to know Professor George (more on his first name later) Cawston’s work and is familiar with it but she says, “You must be Professor Cawston.”  This implies she’s meeting him face to face for the first time. She calls his parapsychology work mumbo jumbo and wonders if she has been brought her to have her time wasted. Syliva Coleridge plays this woman and she plays a similar character later on in DOCTOR WHO-THE SEEDS OF DOOM.  She’s very funny, wide eyed, high pitched voice and old. Cawston tells her that Stephen is a psychokinetic subject who’s been tested and…we hear the chimes, possibly of BIG BEN. Cawston tells her that the gladiator vase picture that Stephen holds when being tested seems to amplify his powers…of course this is a ruse by Stephen. Subjects studied at Duke University showed remarkable abilities. Using an old fashioned type writer type computer, Cawston will test Stephen’s ability. The computer will randomly pick a number between 2 and 12 and Stephen will use his mind to manipulate the dice to make that number. Stephen does this three times: the numbers 7, 5 and 12 are rolled. Cawston and Stephen wonder if holding the picture yields this much success, what would holding the real vase be like? It might be imbibed with some mystical energy that will give the holder more power if they can tap into it, Cawston figures. He convinces Gardner to bring the vase to them.

 

Later, she does. Stephen touches it and is genuinely surprised that he feels nothing. When Gardner wonders if this is a ruse, and gets all upset about it, Cawston takes her aside and tells her that psychokinetic subjects should not be made upset themselves because they are very sensitive. Gardner puffs this off as Cawston hiding behind a school boy. Stephen inquires about the lid that is in the picture. There are markings on it that haven’t been deciphered yet and she’s reluctant to give it to them. Cawston convinces her to do this…it’s in her handbag/brief case bag. Stephen holds it and then vanishes right in front of them with the lid.

 

Stephen appears in the Lab. John thinks it is a good thing Stephen got it and adds, “You were smart enough to do so without attracting a lot of undo attention.”  Stephen tells him it wasn’t really like that. He’d like to see their faces when he jaunted, that’s all. When John inquires who and Stephen tells him. John calls Stephen an idiot. Stephen tells John that Cawston seemed such a nice man and he wanted to give him a little encouragement, that’s all. John balks that given enough encouragement and Cawston will be led straight to them. He tells Stephen that he’ll end up in a cage but that might be the best place for him. Stephen makes a face and is sorry. John tells him that soon the Professor will have them on telly bending forks and fixing watches. Stephen tells him they can much more than that. John says he knows that but he doesn’t want every Tom, Dick and scientist knowing that, to. Stephen is told by Liz that it was silly of him and Stephen apologizes. John doesn’t think much will come of it this time but then Liz wonders how if Stephen displayed TK and jaunted in front of them. John states because of the way the scientific mind works, if they can’t reproduce their results, they will not go about making a fuss of it or they will be laughed at. Stephen says he’s sorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time. John is convinced Cawston will keep quiet this time. They look at the lid and find markings on it. TIM asks, “If I may be permitted to have a look.”  Stephen apologizes and puts it on the table. TIM’s light lights it up on the table and he says, “Mmmmm, yes.”  They ask what he’s finding. He tells them that the markings display a way of making something that has neutron infraton diagrams—a circuit diagram of atomic particles used instead of transistors in making a device. Stephen flubs a line about this. It sounds natural to me but the commentary commentators find it very funny.      

 

In judo lesson, Chris Harding feels he’s made some progress after getting tossed a few times. He manages to throw the instructor…a smaller kid with headband and from afar he looks not unlike Dean Lawrence who will play Tyso later on (and years later star in a small part in with Tom Baker—possibly not sharing any scenes in LIFE AND LOVES OF A SHE DEVIL and years after that, Dean will open up an adult store!).

 

As John works, using a microscopic device on the lab table and coming from the ceiling possibly, TIM tells him to cross hatch that interton into the beta modulator. Okay. As Chris enters with a red shirt and sweat pants, some very stylish music plays. The boys ignore him but Liz tells Chris that they are making something and don’t know what it is or what it will do once they finish it. Chris tells her he’s heard of some crazy people…Liz feels the same way and is glad they are not all round the twist (good show ROUND THE TWIST btw, strange though). They explain about Peter. Chris knows of Peter from things Ginge told him. Ginge is mentioned a few times by John and Chris. Chris tells them if this is to help Peter, he wants to be counted in.

 

In 1AD Peter is facing down a short but hairy bearded man named Guthrun. He is fighting with a sword and seems to be trying to tell the man that he can’t use a sword or kill or do any violence. (Later we find out that Guthrun is just training the boy). Guthrun tells ruler Gaius that the boy has no strength. Gaius tells him to put Peter up against the boy Bludrush, who Guthrun feels will kill the boy as Bludrush is a savage barbarian. Lothar brings Bludrush who attacks Peter before the signal is given. He is held back but then the signal is given and he attacks.

 

In the Lab, the disk is completed and if they followed the instructions correctly, it should work. TIM fits the pieces together in a last move, a final assembly, asking the others if they want to back out of this now as it could be dangerous. John doesn’t want to back out of it and Stephen agrees.   Even though it could be unstable, they agree to try it out. TIM figures it has something to do with the disruption of time flow. Coming from a Time Guardian that makes sense. Chris picks it up figuring that if it came from Peter, it can’t harm them. It has no effect on him. Liz picks takes it from Chris, TIM telling them that the real test is when it passes into the hands of a true telepath. Liz just feels a slight tingling and that’s all (the commentary makes fun of this). They put it on the table and wait. It seems to be lighting up the table or maybe the music just makes it seem that way.

 

Bludrush knocks Peter down and is about to strike him dead.

 

In the Lab, time has passed. Liz is drinking coffee or tea; the others have sandwiches around and drinks. Stephen feels they can’t just leave it on the table so he reaches for it, touches it and vanishes in a puff of black smoke. John looks, “He didn’t jaunt. What’s happened to him? Where’s he gone?”

 

REVIEW: Writing this out took so much time. If anyone is reading this, let me know as it takes a lot of effort and time and I don’t know if I can continue this way. Also writing this out makes me realize how much of this is talk, talk, talk. Lots of good and fun talk but talk. It also furthers the characters’ personalities in ways that I felt STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO never did. We know a great deal about how each of them will react and think. Too bad we didn’t get more background, family, and other personal stuff. I can’t help it: A RIFT IN TIME is just a wonderful story and this ep is just great anyway despite all the talk and back and forth. Nick Young on the commentary thinks that the shifting scenes is done to cover a lack of plot but honestly how can ANYONE think that of this story? There is so much plot and so much going on that it’s hard to ignore how genius this story really is. It’s amazing that a kid’s show can not only have a lid of a vase be sending a message after over a thousand years but to have the whole subplot of Cawston AND Chris and the dream…is just amazing. Carol doesn’t really return but Peter does and seeing her makes one wonder why they linked Carol into this so soon after Liz’s brilliant start and Carol’s poor…well, entire run, really. I guess it’s because Peter is linked more to Carol than anyone else. Honestly though, the start of Prof Cawston is just awesome, Gardner adds some nice comedy touches, PVC is GREAT, John is smug, Liz is funny and cheeky, Chris is…well, confused as usual. Looking back we get Peter and looking ahead, we get Cawston. I saw this story possibly last in the run on Nickelodeon and wasn’t disappointed. My first story was the DOOMSDAY MEN, the end of part one with Stephen facing swordboys and this story was the last one I saw so it was fitting. This is also the only time the TP traveled in time to the past. MEDUSA STRAIN was the only time they traveled to the future. Sadly, the show didn’t do more time travel, possibly to save money or to keep it different from DOCTOR WHO but frankly, this show cannot be more different from DOCTOR WHO and to be honest, although it might sound crazy, this story shows how much more cerebral THE TOMORROW PEOPLE was from DOCTOR WHO. In DW characters just get out of a box and have adventures. In this, the characters have a detailed purpose and instructions to follow and the parallel world that results has a reason and cause and effect…brilliant.

 

On Cawston’s first name. I have to pay attention to the shows. Fandom and fan fic in general will have us believe that Cawston’s first name is George. It tends to fit him and I like it and for years I believed it was George and am willing to accept it as such. Another fan told me that there is no evidence from the series that that is his first name. A fan made guide book (a poor one at that) told us that it was George. I still wonder about that. Anyway nice performances, nice location work, nice music and use of stock music during the gladiator fight(s), nice set in the gladiator school in Roman England…and nice costumes again, the return of Peter, mention of Carol, nice costumes for Liz and John and a cheeky bit for Stephen and some great adult guest stars…what more could one ask for? A 10/10.   

2-TURN OF THE THUMB

 

The reprise is especially long but the next one is much, much longer. Stephen finds himself in a green tube, a time trap in a strange room with white columns of twisted shapes and other tubes. There’s a long scratch on the glass tube he’s in. In the Lab, the others wonder what’s happened to him and worry. John asks TIM to help him make another time disk, which Liz thinks is madness. Despite Liz’s protests, John and TIM start making another one, which will take less time.

 

Hall of Time Guardians (future?): an old man with a moustache and pointed beard comes to Stephen and he has a kind of scythe. He questions Stephen. The old man’s name is Zenon and he is a Chief of Time Guardians in the Hall of Time Guardians. When Zenon is not sufficiently happy with Stephen’s answers, he tells Stephen that the time trap will keep him here for the rest of his natural life span.

 

Stephen tells Zenon that he is from 20th Century Earth, the old man doesn’t believe him, telling him that time travel was not yet discovered on Earth at that time. Before he leaves, Stephen whines that he is only here because of Peter. When Zenon hears the name, he comes over to the glass tube and asks more questions, then opens the tube with a raise of his scythe.

 

In 1AD, Lothar stops Bludrush from killing Peter. Gaius tells Guthrun that this boy is no mere boy; Peter tries to put on a brave face. Gaius tells Guthrun that he must think he is  a fool for keeping the boy alive. Guthrun tells Gaius no, he owns the boy and owns all of them.

 

In the Hall of Time Guardians, Zenon knows of the Tp and of Stephen’s name. When he hears Stephens’ entire story, he tells Stephen that dreams are the only way to communicate across time. He tells him not to make any more disks like the one that got him to the Hall because it is unstable and would have flung him off into the mists of eternity.

 

John is making another disk in the present (1974).

 

When Stephen asks about Peter, Zenon tells him that Peter is his grand son and that the rules forbid that no Time Guardian can go after another Time Guardian. Stephen has heard of this rule and thinks it rather harsh. Zenon tells him that years of experience have proven it correct. Stephen asks if there are rules that forbid him and the other TP from going back and rescuing Peter. Zenon hoped he would ask that: there are no rules against that. It can also be arranged to return Stephen to the right time and it is not against the rules to allow them to have five time travel disks. This is authorized. 

 

In the Lab, John is in an AE Suit and strange music plays. John has a helmet in his arm. The disk is finished and he instructs Chris to pick it up as before. Wary, Chris does so and then hands it to Liz, who is not sure she should be grateful or insulted that it takes no notice of her. Earlier she asked why it didn’t work for her and this wasn’t answered, however it could be that the disk is made for only those who knew Peter. Liz continues to try to talk John out it, thinking it is madness. John looks aside as if Nick Young were waiting for PVC as Stephen to rush into the scene. Stephen rushes into the scene and crushes the disk, saving John before John could touch it. John tells him it took TIM and he hours to make it. Stephen explains what happened to him and that it could have flung him off into the mists of eternity. He shows them the proper disks, five, one for Peter if his is missing and one for Chris. Zenon told them that Peter is in 1AD and is probably on Earth somewhere in the Roman Empire. John notes that that empire stretches from North Africa to Scotland at that time. Zenon couldn’t help him out on that and Stephen tells them Zenon is Peter’s grand father. Liz wonders how old HE is, if Peter is 163 and looks like he’s 14. Stephen also tells them that Peter is a homo superior just like they are and could have jaunted anywhere in the galaxy (or universe?). But he’s probably still on Earth. Liz tells him she has an idea. John, smug as ever, asks, “Not another irrelevant one,  I hope.”  On the commentary, Nick and the others realize how smug it is and say he’s a condescending git. Chris smiles, having hoped there would not be another know-all. Liz apologizes but tells her idea: the vase has pictures on it and pictures tell stories. The pictures look like a gladiator school of fighters in training. When Liz suggests Stephen’s archeology friend could help, Stephen makes a face.

 

Nevertheless at the university, Freda enters Cawston’s study room and finds the gladiator lid back. Cawston points to Stephen, warning her to recall how it vanished. Stephen tells her, “Yes, I’m sorry I had to do it that way.”  Cawston reminds her of how it vanished. She hasn’t told anyone. Cawston also tells her that he and Stephen wish she would just forget about it. She agrees.

 

NOTE: This is sketchy at best. Why would Cawston not want to publish these findings? Has Stephen told him more? In any event, it seems this is the last Stephen sees of him in this story and his coming back and leaving are done very fast as if this story were  originally longer or had another part to it or something. Lots seems to be hurried over.

 

Stephen wants her advice on the vase and where it was from and where it was found. She gets all mad with energy and Stephen’s eyes widen as she goes on about it. TIM repeats some of her info as the others sit and watch pictures and maps of the town the gladiator school was originally in. Soucherstad is now a farm with a wall around it but it used to be a town which also housed a gladiator school  where British boys would fight and train for the arena to try to win their freedom. TIM tells them that at that time it was still common for every fight to end in the death of one or both gladiators. Chris mimics a film, “We who are about to die salute you, oh Cesar.”   John rolls his eyes. It seems the TP don’t like that type of violence. Chris says the movie was good, Charlton Heston was in it. This is possibly BEN HUR. Gaius owns the school.  John wants to sell Stephen, who asks if it will be for 30 pieces of silver (like Judas sold Jesus for). Chris tells him that they can sell him to look after Stephen, his judo will be more than a match for gladiators. He puts Stephen in a fake headlock.

 

Of note: on the commentary, Nick Briggs comments that the director Darrol Blake probably didn’t like PVC because of so many behind the head shots. PVC tells them he was into Nick Young and Nick says something but PVC then says that the director (who went on the EMMERDALE and CORONATION STREET) was a great big screaming puff! Nick Young tells us that Blake was married and had a family…like Oscar Wilde and that this was a scurrilous remark by PVC. At one point they also see the back of Liz and Nick says, “It’s nice to see the back of Liz.”  Which means two things.

 

Rousing gladiator music is played as Lothar and Guthrun fight for the boys to watch. After it is over, they shake hands. They train four boys against four boys. Guthrun stops a boy who is waving his sword around like a field banana. Gaius scolds two boys about waving their swords around “like feathers in a dove’s tail” and he says, “Ginger them up a bit.”       Lothar or Guthrun use whips to stir them on.

 

In the Lab, everyone including Chris has AE Suits on. They will be  going to a colony of Rome in Roman Britain and the language will not be Latin but be even more difficult to understand, a form of English no longer spoken. More foreign than even Latin, that Chris mentioned. John explains there is no language barrier for the telepaths. They can interpret the patterns of the brain waves from the people’s minds directly and get the meaning direct and also make them understand the TP’s language back. Chris will have to fade into the background and not draw attention to himself. He tells them that will be hard, not wearing a toga but a space suit. Stephen has hooked up a receiver to Chris’s AE Suit so that any of the TP can operate it and that will make his AE Suit look like a toga or an ancient Roman Briton (and the costumes that come later are rather nice). Chris asks if they are trying to make a monkey out of him and Stephen flips a switch and thinks. Then Chris’s appearance looks like a gorilla and what he calls, “King Flaming Kong.” 

 

1AD: the woods: a Roman soldier rides past on a horse. The foursome appear. Stephen is in furs, Chris has something similar on. John has robes on and a kind of ring around his head and long long hair and sideburns (the sideburns are nothing new), Liz an ancient dress on. They hide as nine or more boys are lead on ropes, tied together to or from the gladiator school. John notices that none were Peter. John gets behind Stephen and throws a rope around him and ties him up. Chris offers his hands, reluctantly and John ties them up, too. Liz laughs and Stephen balks, “Just you wait, Elizabeth, we’ll sell you to his harem.”  Liz tells him they didn’t have harems. They start out and for some reason, Stephen is walking backwards.

 

At the school, there are three boys training against three boys. At the front gates, we see soldier/guards, one of them a black man. Guthrun takes Stephen and cuts the rope bonding him to Chris, rejects Chris and goes inside with Stephen. The music is rather grand again and quite good, possibly stock. Liz and John move off and hand link. It is now they realize that their powers are gone. The only thing left open to them is the power to translate language (and of course to work their AE suits and Chris’s it would seem). John cannot think the ropes off Chris. Chris balks that this is some time to choose. They can still interpret the pattern of the natives’ brain waves.

 

NOTE: This is where the lengthy reprise of next week starts!

 

In a dungeon in the school, Guthrun ties Stephen to the wooden steps leading down, looks at his butt, and gently smacks his cheek. Guthrun moves off to elsewhere in the basement area. Peter is at the window in the cell door and calls out to Stephen, telling him ever since he sent out that message he hoped Stephen wouldn’t get it. Stephen tells him to cheer up, they will soon jaunt him out of here. Peter informs him that they can’t use their special powers. Of note Stephen’s hair is very long and neat and on the commentary, PVC remarks it’s is like Sammie Winmill’s hair! He comments that he now fancies himself! I guess he fancied Sammie back then.   

 

Peter tells Stephen that he’s convinced someone here is not from Earth, knows about them, and is using radiation that neutralizes their special powers. Stephen wishes John didn’t tie his ropes so tight. Lothar and Gaius come down, Lothar giving Gaius a torch. Gaius shoves it at Stephen’s face, “Lovely young animal, like a wild thing.”  He orders Guthrun to see if Stephen, his young buck, has spirit. Guthrun waves the whip at Stephen, who kicks back at him, twice. Gaius believes he does have spirit. He wants Stephen tested and they take him up the steps, Peter puts his head on the cell window, upset and hopeless.  On commentary, PVC tells how Peter always whinged.

 

Above, Gaius taunts Stephen, “Fight young bucko…”  Guthrun tests Stephen with a spear and the two spar with spears.

 

Outside, John moves to a slave girl and asks to speak to her master…Gaius. The girl goes inside to Gaius who sits above on the roof terrace again as Stephen faces Guthrun with a spear. Spear to spear.

 

On commentary, PVC tells how as a 15 year old, he asked this pretty girl, who was 17, to a party and she said no.

 

Gaius stops the spear fight so the very tall Lothar picks Stephen up under one arm, his feet and crotch facing the viewers!  Gaius goes outside to talk to John, who wants to buy Stephen back, telling Gaius that his wife (Liz) was very fond of the boy. Gaius tells her that she will have to find another. If he passes, he will go on to the arena to try to win his freedom and glory; if he fails, he will have to pay the price every gladiator pays for failure. He goes inside and the guards follow including the black one. Chris runs for the doors but they close, “Hospitable lot!”  Liz feels that Gaius knows what they are. John doesn’t think so: he’s just a primitive ancient Roman. Liz calls it instinct but she knows that Gaius knows what they are.

 

Inside, Gaius tells Stephen that Lothar will give him a sword and if he fights bravely, some day he may win his freedom but if he acts like a coward, he will surely die…today. Guthrun and Stephen fight with swords. It is back and forth but one of Stephen’s hits, makes Guthrun’s own  sword hit his own leg and it is cut, a long bloody cut. At least that is how the move looked to me. Nevertheless, Guthrun uses his stronger force and weight on Stephen and makes Stephen fall, sword to sword, but Stephen’s sword falls.    Stephen falls onto his back and Guthrun’s sword is pointed at his neck. Guthrun looks up at Gaius, who sits in the stand terrace (NICE set BTW). “Shall I finish him now, master.”  Gaius smiles…Stephen peers down at the sword at his neck…

 

REVIEW: Okay I don’t know what this says about me, but I like gladiator stories, too, just like Chris. In any event, this story is still very good and entertaining. The set of the school is amazing and Nick Young thinks, as do I, that it might be a leftover from some other serial. The location stuff is nice, the sword fights are entertaining enough and for a kid’s show, dangerous. We even see a bit of blood! The adult actors are good and I’m sure the guys that played Guthrun was in SPACE: 1999 in the ep JOURNEY TO WHERE, another time travel story, Scotland in the 1330s. Lothar is an imposing figure of  a man and the man who played Gaius is also rather grand, a bit over the top at times. The whole thing reeks, however, of gayness, which is not really a judgment, it just does. Guthrun looks at Stephen’s butt, Peter’s legs get flashed far up his toga, the malicious sadism, and the threat of death and arena-play, all adds up.  Also Gaius calls Stephen his young buck and young bucko, a wild lovely animal thing, etc. PVC is realistic in his sword play and it’s nice to see Peter, behind cell bars again, just like in THE MEDUSA STRAIN. He’s changed a bit and his voice might be slightly deeper but he’s still as blond as ever. Other boys sword play and wear togas high up on their legs so yeah. Again a 10/10 ep with much happening and another nice Cawston/Freda scene but as stated above, this could have been expanded.    

   

3-From Little Acorns…

 

Gaius spares Stephen and tells him that he believes with time and training, Stephen will make them proud by fighting in the arena in Rome. Stephen tries to make a run for it but Lothar grabs him and tosses him to Guthrun who smacks him down and beats him unconscious, then picks him up. Gaius tells him to secure the boy until he gets to trust them more.

 

At a pub/inn, Chris, John, and Liz eat chicken. John tells Chris that the chameleon spectrashift in his AE Suit makes it look like they are wearing ancient Roman Briton clothing but they still have everything they brought with them. When Chris kills a fly and asks why they don’t just go in stun guns blazing to rescue Peter and Stephen, John tells him that they could cause a serious time warp if they interfere with anyone or anything from this time.  He uses the fly to explain that if Chris didn’t kill that fly and the fly then went all over a centurion’s food nearby and that centurion died from food poisoning…now that Chris did kill the fly…the centurion would live and possibly become a famous general who leads the Roman army into a victorious battle that they might not otherwise have won. Rome would not fall and survive on to the future, changing their present so that Mohammed Ali would be a gladiator and as Chris puts it---for some strange reason---that “they’d be shooting Christians instead of apples and that slave girls would be the prizes instead of washing machines” and what that shooting apples and washing machines means I have no idea—possibly some cultural reference lost on me in the USA or in the 2000s. John says that there might not also be any Ginge Harding, Chris Harding or any Tomorrow People. Chris shoes the fly over toward that centurion’s dinner as the men laugh. Liz and John do, too. John predicts that this time killing the fly will probably do no harm but they have to be careful.  As they talk, flute music plays out.

 

In the cell, Peter wipes Stephen’s brow as he comes to and also holds his head, messing his hair. It is most affectionate. Peter tells Stephen that he will probably only be chained up a few weeks as he gets used to the idea that he is Gaius’s new asset…and possession. Stephen mentions Chris and tells Peter that is Ginge’s brother. Peter seems…to know Chris’s strength and is glad he is here. NOTE : Has Peter had some other adventure with future Stephen and maybe even Chris. He seems to know Chris’s assets and he is most familiar and even affectionate with Stephen. Peter knows Chris is very strong.

 

In the pub, John and Liz tells Chris they can only use their stun guns on whoever robbed them of their special powers, a someone who doesn’t belong here and isn’t of this time. Despite this, later on John fires at and stuns Lothar.

 

In the cell, Stephen sees Cotus, a lanky dark haired boy who is chained by his wrists (although obviously he can pull his hands through the huge holes), in a skimpy yellow toga like outfit. Of note we see a lot of Peter Duncan (who plays Cotus)’s legs and thighs as well as Richard Speight’s (who played Peter). There is a lot of male boy flesh on display. Cotus tells Stephen that he is his replacement, Stephen is Gaius’s new favorite when it used to be Cotus. Peter tells Stephen that Cotus is leaving tomorrow. Cotus tells him to explain the whole story. Cotus didn’t measure up and is being replaced. He warns Stephen to heed well what Guthrun teaches because if not he will end up like him: being sent to Rome to be in the horse trials…where mounted soldiers stick failed trainee boys with spears or run them over with horses. When Stephen mentioned that he didn’t know what the horse trials were, Cotus asks if he is another strange one like Peter, who talks of a time where there will be other worlds in the sky and a future time where boys will not have to fight in the arena. Stephen and Peter admit they are like each other. Cotus mentions that his parents cannot raise the money to buy him back from Gaius…a sum that has to be over twice what they were paid for him. Cotus thinks Stephen and Peter were jesting. Stephen asks Peter if they can link think the chains off them but they can’t. When that cannot happen, Stephen wonders if they try a mass break out of all the boys…Cotus yells that out of his mind. Most of the boys here are not freeborn like Cotus and would not try to escape, Cotus feels. Many like the food and will get the glory and in the arena, it is said that the Emperor will even grant freedom to a good fighter. Stephen mentions the chains and whips, and dungeons:  the boys cannot like it here. Peter tells Cotus that he and Stephen came by the same route. Cotus tells Stephen that he has no right to ask Stephen to try to save him, “If you got the thumbs down in the arena, I would not spare you.”  Stephen looks down, “No. No, I don’t suppose you would.”  Cotus recognizes that soon he will die.

 

Note: on the commentary, Nick Young makes fun of how Peter Duncan  says, “Horse trials,”  and mimics it as “Arse Trials” or “Arse Trails”.  Nick adds, “A little known Roman practice.” 

 

In the pub, John tells Chris they will be mostly be relying on him and his judo skills. Liz warns Chris not to go killing anyone with his judo. Chris tells them he won’t  harm a fly.

 

In the cell, they unchained Stephen a bit to eat. Peter is allowed to feed Cotus his share of food. Cotus tells Peter he should not be wasting his share of food on him, who is about to die tomorrow. Peter tells him to shut up and eat, he’s not going to die tomorrow. 

 

Amid more ancient Rome like gladiator music, Chris and Liz sneak up the wall of the training school and hop over, John following. John tells Chris they can do no permanent harm to anyone and leave all as it was. They and the three boys in the cell hear a strange noise and they figure it to be a steam engine. Cotus tells Peter he knows all about steam engines. He worked on one when he was Gaius’s favorite. Peter figures that Gaius is not of this time and that he caused the time warp by introducing the steam engine much too early, 16 centuries too early. Nick Young on the commentary tells us that there was a form of steam engine back then but not with pulleys and wheels and levers like Gaius’s. He also wonders along with PVC why Gaius brought this back and not some atomic or nuclear device. There seems to be some truth in what Nick Young states but more modern steam engines just improved on older ideas.

 

Gaius in a machine room receives an advanced alarm light that the TP have broken in and he straps on a disintegrator gun to his arm. First, Guthrun, laughing, attacks them. Then Lothar attacks. Chris knocks Guthrun down and as Lothar turns to attack Liz and John with a sword, Chris uses judo on Lothar. When Guthrun and Lothar are on the ground, Chris knocks their heads together. Gaius then attacks using the disintegrator arm piece gun, believing they are either from the  Hall of Time Guardians or Galactic Police. John tells him they are neither, they just want the new boy and the blond boy. Gaius orders Lothar and Guthrun to go and kill them! John stuns Lothar but Guthrun gets away and proceeds toward Stephen’s cell. John covers Chris as Chris follows Guthrun.

 

When Guthrun enters the cell with a spear, Peter yells what is he doing. As Guthrun turns toward him, Cotus wraps his strong and bare legs around Guthrun, yelling to Peter to get the spear. Peter takes the spear and Cotus yells at him to run Guthrun through. As Guthrun twists, Cotus yells that he can’t hold him much longer but Peter cannot kill. Just as Guthrun gets the spear back and is ready to stab Peter through, Chris enters and stuns Guthrun and knocks him over. Stephen smiles that Chris would have waited a bit longer, things just got warmed up in there. WHAT? What is he talking about? Did he want Peter to get killed? Chris looks for keys on Guthrun but Stephen tells Chris the chains are riveted on, they didn’t have keys in Roman Briton. Chris is glad he thought to bring the laser pencil, just the thing Stephen says. Chris cuts the bonds off. As the commentators joke that John comes in now that all is safe, John comes in. He wants to leave Cotus there so as not to interfere with time. Peter hedges on this but Stephen tells them that if they leave him here, it will be tantamount to killing him themselves. Stephen insists they take Cotus. John asks Peter who then decides to free Cotus and take him with them. He and Stephen together move to free Cotus.

 

When John and Peter go outside, Liz tells them that Gaius took refuge in the machine room. The pair destroy the door to the room and go inside. They see Gaius in a machine box like device and yelling that the time pump will take him away from them. He seems to be walking backward. Peter tries to arrest Gaius but it’s too late: he’s gone and Peter realizes when the time pump overloads, the whole place will blow up. They have to get everyone out before the place blows up. The Tp and Chris let out all the boys and flee out the doors. The place blows up. Hey what about Lothar and Guthrun? Did anyone move them? They were stunned but I don’t believe we see them get moved unless Chris does that while Peter and John deal with Gaius…or try to. In any event, the blast is shown via a dodgy model which has a wall piece move. Peter yells about an implosion, “Mind down for the vacuum.”  Wind blows Chris over and into a roll. Liz holds onto a tree. Other boys fall over and we see their underwear. John falls. Bludrush falls with chains still on his wrists and he continues huffing for a long time…in a curious shot.

 

Later as everyone eats beans, Liz serving and cooking on a fire, Chris finishes somehow using something else to cut open the chains off the boys and Peter counts everyone. Everyone is here, he tells John. They were right in saving them: the explosion of the time pump was not  a natural occurrence of this time. Some of the boys will return to their homes, the ones that have them; others will join up with bands of forest outlaws as skilled fighters. They will send Cotus on his way to his parents with some money. HOW? Peter worries that Cotus has been exposed to a lot of time warp pollution and John explains to Chris that that means too much contact and exposure with people and ideas that are not of his time. When Chris mentions the fly, John tells Peter he used that to explain time warp exposure. Only Cotus knows how to make and maintain a steam engine. Peter feels it is a chance they have to accept. Chris says one kid with ideas can’t do much but John tells him great oaks from little acorns grow. They bid goodbye to the boys and to Cotus, who shakes their hands. Everyone is smiling. Is the story over?

 

Before they go, the TP and Chris have their AE Suits appear. Peter is wearing some elaborate Time Guardian robe like affair and also seems to be wearing eyeliner and make up! On the commentary, PVC calls it a Time Lord outfit but Nick Young calls it a Time Queen outfit, stating that Peter’s been promoted! The TP and Chris and Peter jaunt via the time disks. They appear in the exact spot of the Lab and in 1974 AD…only they are in a giant white series of  rooms that look like a futuristic library of some kind with computer filing drawers and lights…and a camera watching them. On the commentary Nick Young jokes that PVC is a pansy when he also remarked that the place looked like it should be selling flowers.

 

Cotus returned to the machine room, and even though wrecked, he finds the diagrams of the steam engine and the steam engine parts. He seems to start working on the steam engine again.

 

In the replace timeline, John wonders if they are in a parallel dimension. He wonders if their 20th century is going on at the same time as a Roman 20th Century. It seems that is not the exact case. If Gaius is a time traveler, he must have gone back to 1AD and took the steam engine with him. The Romans skipped 15 hundred years of scientific development. They hear an elevator and two ape men come out and start looking through the file drawers.  The men have bare shoulders and some clothing. Peter puts his chin on Stephen’s shoulder to spy on them.                                                                 

 

John whispers to Chris, “I think we’ve arrived at a time when the Earth is conquered from outer space.”

 

REVIEW: Liz Adare gives this a 6 or 7/10. I kind of give it a higher rating, possibly an 8/10 or a 9/10 and on a good day, 10/10. It moves fast and details almost one entire night. John seems to jump to various WRONG conclusions about a parallel Earth timeline—it’s more like an alternate, or replacement timeline that moved over our own when the divergence occurred. The two cannot, it seems, exist at the same time. We never find out if Lothar and Guthrun die in the explosion. And just what is an implosion, a sucking in of energy. So which did the time pump do? Why didn’t John and Peter think of getting the steam engine bit that were left over and destroy them as they do in ep4? How did they give Cotus money or do they as Peter stated was his plan? Who is Gaius? Is he from the replacement Roman TimeLine? If so, how did he travel back in time to give them the steam engine to replace our own timeline? He had to be from outside it in order to do that? Yet he seems to vanish in ep4 when the Roman timeline is erased and in ep4 he also seems to be controlling the Roman timeline from the Rome planet, the renamed Earth. So was he human? Peter stated earlier in the story that he thought someone was here who wasn’t human, isn’t from this time or from this planet. It had to be Gaius. Where does Gaius go the first time he leaves? I’m afraid, like all time warp stories, the ideas are great but on speculation and examination, they don’t always make a lot of sense and create paradoxes. Gaius couldn’t travel back unless Cotus had the steam engine but in order for Cotus to have the steam engine, Gaius had to travel back and Gaius wasn’t or didn’t seem to be alive in the nonRoman Timeline (our Timeline). Or was that just a way of his escaping again? None of it is sure. It is a cracking good adventure and again, has many gay overtones.      

4-The Rise of the Roman Empire 

 

Peter tells John that the Earth was never occupied by invaders from another planet and the Trystans are peaceful people with no interest in invasion. A sadist guard wearing white comes down on an elevator and uses a pain stick of some kind on the two slave Trystans. Stephen watches and calls that one a nasty one. After he leaves, Peter tells them that Earth never enslaved another race. The two ape men aliens spot them and when John questions them, they tell him that here is here. Stephen smiles that they have John there, “He got you there. Try asking another question.”  As an electronic eye watches them and relays the images and sound to a central control room where men in white Roman helmets watch, the Trystan tells John that this is a vitamin factory where vitamins are cultured and grown, possibly for slaves. The Roman Empire stretches across 1000 suns and Stephen asks what the planet is called. He finds out the Earth has been renamed Rome. Peter realizes there’s been an enormous rift in the flow of time and now the Roman Empire reaches to the stars and John realizes that is because the Romans had the steam engine much too early. This is how it would have developed if the steam engine was given to them much too early. Peter realizes that Cotus is the reason behind this. They have to erase his memory. Guards come rushing in just as they jaunt time travel to 1AD. Gaius comes into the central room and asks if the computer records recorded all that.    

 

Peter, when the appear again has on some kind of outfit that makes him look like Robin Hood. Of note here, Richard Speight played Much in a BBC version (I think it was BBC) of Robin Hood, which also starred Paul Darrow (as the Sheriff possibly or Guy of Gisborne). I’m not sure but his outfit looked pretty much like this. John tells the others he is sure about their conversation being recorded as he spotted the electronic eye. They go to an inn. Peter talks to the inn owner/pub owner.

 

On the commentary, Nick Young is outrageous again. He calls the pub, the Cock Inn and asks, “How far is the Cock Inn.”  He also seems to answer his own question about this. PVC laughs at this but the others remain silent.

 

The pub owner thinks all the gladiator boys perished when a thunder bolt (shouldn’t that be lightning?) hit the school and he believes the place is cursed as silver men have been seen roaming the area. The others figure that the silver men are really time travelers, looking for them. At the table they eat and chat. They must be careful not to alter time too much but the 20th century Romans must be careful not to alter it at all. Liz tells them that if you went back and time and shot your grandmother before your mother was born, you would cease to exist. A Roman soldier looks at the serving girl.

 

A serving girl serves them drinks. John tells Chris not to drink it. Chris complains that he knows “I know you lot don’t drink but I haven’t taken any pledge.”  John tells him the serving girl is new here or so he thinks, the others haven’t seen her when they were here before and Peter hasn’t. John thinks the drinks might be poisoned. Peter looks at the drink and can tell it has been drugged, all of them have. Chris touches a bit of it and tastes it from his fingers, the jerk. They all pretend to drink and some of them throw the drink over their shoulders. They pretend to pass out. With the soldiers who were also in the pub, Gaius comes in and looks at them. Strange music plays that may be on the soundtrack CD. “So these are the people who would rewrite history. OR would do if they were allowed to live.” He orders the men present to kill them. Chris and the others fire the stun guns at the soldiers and Gaius and stun them frozen on the spot. The Tp and Peter jaunt but tell Chris to run with them. They run out. Gaius, when he unfreezes—and it’s awfully quick---tells the men not to give chase, they can’t risk using disrupter guns on an open, public street. He wonders what sort of world theirs was in the 20th Century if teleportation is one of their powers.  He tells his men that they have to return to their world to get something to prevent them from teleporting…and then he has to explain teleporting to his men because they don’t understand the word. He’s aggravated at them. He makes a silver door open up and the men and he step through it back to their own world…watched by a drinking man, who is wide eyed but who goes on drinking.

 

In the remains of the gladiator school, the TP, Peter, and Chris look for clues. They have no other leads to follow. Stephen calls it cold comfort that Cotus was here. Liz worries that those Romans from the 20th century alternate time line will know they’ve come here and follow them. John and Peter look at the remains of the steam engine. John finds that a regulator and other bits have been removed and are missing, some sawn off. Peter thinks Cotus may come back. John is not so sure. He has a disintegrator pack (which on the commentary Liz Adare claims looks like a mini Dalek..and she’s not wrong). He uses it to get rid of the rest of the steam engine. As dusk comes, John leading, tells the other to sleep (“catch some kip”) while he and Peter keep guard.

 

We see the moon and clouds. Cotus, in the woods, sees the arrival of the silver door and Gaius and his men step through. On his belt, Gaius has a device that will stop the TP from using their teleportation powers.

 

John wakes Stephen and Chris up and tells them to wake he and Liz in 3 hours but to let Peter sleep on, he needs the rest. Stephen tells a complaining Chris that in order to avoid the rocks and bumps on the ground he can use a magnet suspension in his AE Suit. It keeps a body one centimeter off the ground. Chris complains about it being cold and Stephen, frustrated, tells him, “Oh, Chris, turn the thermostat control on your AE Suit up.”  Chris forgets it is an AE Suit and his mum’s old rug. They both hear a noise. Chris wonders if they left someone in the cells, maybe they didn’t get everyone out. Stephen thinks this is a horrible thought. Chris goes to check it out and hears a few more noises. He enters a cell and behind the door is Cotus hiding, ready to strike (with his very long, muscled legs on display again) . In the dark room, so that Chris cannot see him, Cotus flips Chris and locks him in. Chris has to call Stephen. Stephen jaunts to the inside of the cell and after finding out what happened, jaunts outside the cell, seen by Cotus. Stephen calls to Cotus but the boy runs out, chased by Stephen. Stephen stops outside the exterior exit door, and does not see that off to the side, a 20th Century Roman has grabbed Cotus and covered his mouth.  On the commentary, the commentators claim that PVC has no peripheral vision! Gaius and four soldiers are there. Gaius tells the soldier who had Cotus to let him go.

 

Stephen lets Chris out. Chris realizes they’ve left the others unguarded. He tells Stephen to jaunt but Stephen finds he cannot and he tries to call the others telepathically but cannot do that either. They run out and run into the soldiers, who already have Peter, John, and Liz up and with their hands raised.

 

Something appears in shot here, a mike maybe or a camera lens?

Gaius tells them that time always was the way he remembered it: that Rome never fell. John tells him that Rome fell around the 5th century after a slow decline. In the 5th century in Gaius’s time line (IF it is HIS time line) Rome was putting a Roman Eagle on the Moon. “My my my, what have you been doing in the meantime?”  John explains the slow rebuilding out of the dark ages. Peter brags that in the 20th century Earth became eligible to join the Galactic Federation. Gaius spouts, “That?!” he explains that by his 20th century, Rome ruled half the galaxy and that soon the might of the Galactic Federation will even bow before them. Stephen and the others balk that Rome has slaves. Gaius gives a brief comment that slaves are needed. Liz counters this with, “How can any man be free while others wear chains. How can any man rule without first obeying? How can anyone find greatness while others are kept from fulfillment?” On the commentary, PVC says, “You go sister!”  Gaius has no more time for those that would rip apart the fabric of civilization and orders them all killed. Cotus comes running and yells “NOOOOO!”  Gaius orders him not killed but stunned. A soldier hits Cotus on the head and he falls, face down so that we can see his underwear and a great deal of butt cheeks.

 

Just as Gaius orders them all killed again, he and his men all vanish. They realize Cotus’s memory must be gone. Liz turns him over, his head in her lap. She says he’s died and she cries that it was such a high price to pay and that Cotus had to die if the world were to be saved. On the commentary, everyone laughs at this, saying that she hardly knew him.  They also, especially Liz herself, balk at the fact that she didn’t know he was still alive. But was he? If you watch, it is perhaps Liz’s touch that brought him back to life. She did cry over him and was touched by him and was touching his head. He seems to come back to life. In any event, his memory is gone. Before they go, they will see that this little gladiator will be returned home safely.

 

Back in their own version of the 20th century and in the gym, Chris is flipped by the young, blond judo instructor, just a little kid himself. Liz, in red sweater laughs. Stephen in a blue jacket laughs, “C’mon, Chris!”  John tells Chris to pretend the boy is a gladiator. Chris tells the kid to pick on someone his own size. As the credits play Nick Young says that the names are telling 30 years later with names like Gay Us and more. He is outrageous.

 

REVIEW: Nick Young thinks the ending is  a cop out but I don’t agree. I like that Cotus doesn’t die but maybe the others should just be sure his memory is fully gone. I like a happy ending. Again, not sure about Gaius’s background and how he came to be one of the Romans from the alternate parallel (not really a parallel) universe when it seemed he was really from outside it or from someplace else entirely and even alien…but he does okay in this episode despite the red cape and the brush on top of his Roman helmet which had pointed sides. The LONG reprises make this story shorter than it should be, something that will be rectified with DOOMSDAY MEN and SECRET WEAPON, two of my favorites. This ep is not bad and we get more close ups of Stephen and his gloriously long hair. Liz comes off sympathetic but one can’t help but wonder if her school career is over after the man fiascos in THE BLUE AND THE GREEN while kids fought and almost died under her watch in the classroom. I don’t know if her school career is ever mentioned again. That despite her asking TIM if he can help her grade papers and he told her not if it was like the homework Stephen brought to him as well as TIM getting a sum wrong in that story. In any event, this story is quite entertaining and well done, despite some flaws. It was good to see Peter again and I’m sorry they didn’t use him in future or go back or forward in time again…ever. It seemed like a wasted opportunity. Fan fiction does both all the time: use Peter and go back and forth in time.  There’s also something incredibly creepy about the return to the blasted out school and Cotus’s betrayal/ then loyal sacrifice. Peter Duncan appears in a railway family saga, now on DVD, and also was a presenter for BLUE PETER. He also featured briefly in THE SURVIVORS, the original one and seemed to be introduced with three others to be regulars in the next season (three) but didn’t. Peter Duncan has a web site about his career and he now has a family. I could be wrong but he was in some kind of scandal about BLUE PETER, either involving drugs or, uhm, gay affairs. I don’t care, I like him and that’s it. Richard Speight’s ROBIN HOOD (with Paul Darrow) was on in the US under the ONCE UPON A CLASSIC show (narrated by Bill Bixby and along with Dean Lawrence’s YOUNG ROBIN HOOD or ROBIN HOOD JUNIOR, LAST OF THE MOHICANS (with Solon from Doctor’s WHO’s BRAIN OF MORBIUS), THE DEERSLAYER,  THE GLITTERBALL (with Keith Jayne from DOCTOR WHO’S THE AWAKENING and a very sci fi generous alien that needs food), TOM BROWN’S SCHOOL DAYS, and more.  For me,  A RIFT IN TIME is when the TP entered the really good stories and a good time on the show with imagination and flair if not flares, well those too really.  It is the start of a great time on the show and bar maybe one story (the horrid A MAN FOR EMILY), the tales are all really quite good for some time to come, well into Mike’s time. With less money than DW and more imagination, young heroes bolded on. Or something. It definitely sparked more imagination in me than DW at the time.  Another thing is that STAR TREk always had parallel Earths but not really. They were other planets whre History repeated but not really Earth. Here, much more successsfully than DAY OF THE DALEKS, two alternate timelines, one that had to be over the other or in place of the other vie for room, one has to go, the other had to stay in place...and it's well presented here. IMO.               

in part 3: The theme song here starts after the reprise as always BUT a loud thunder sound zaps into place as it starts quite wildly.

 

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