The Tomorrow People: A Rift in Time
Back to the Tomorrow People, for a trip to Roman times with Sigmund Freud.
I was prompted to post on this episode by reading The Gay Guide to the Tomorrow People and while I don't usually really go for queer coding I just think it's fairly obvious in this adventure and of course there are many occasions in other part of the show which could be interpreted in a sexual way - very much in line with the dodgy underage sex which is said to have been so common in media at the time. I'm told that there are people who have a thing about slavery, and the gladiatorial setting gives the show an aura of a sword and sandals film with muscle-bound men and lots of physical stuff going on. Ahem. Even in the commentary the cast comment about dreaming about boys in chains! The seventies were just so strange. It is also notable that unless my eyes deceive me there is little or no reference to heterosexual relationships or sexuality. This really is a very gay adventure indeed! I'm not sure it can compete with the next one, where there is a conversation about what is worn under the kilt, but there you are.
There is a host of well known names on here but not in a distracting way. I particularly love the appearance of Sylvia Coleridge who will be familiar to readers from threatening people with a knitting needle. Peter Duncan is another familiar face who did a number of body-positive roles before becoming the Chief Scout.
I'm going to be scrupulously fair and admit that it must have been a complete nightmare to deal with the slavery thing in this show. The show does give a good impressionistic idea of the difference between the two times. However I do think that selling Stephen to the gladiator school may have been a step too far!
This is not really a criticism (alright, it is really but I feel bad about it) but there are holes in the plot you could drive a lorry through. Despite the Tomorrow People being superior they don't seem to be aware of someone from another time present in Roman Britain with them. They talk at length about the danger of interfering with the time stream and yet are happy to leave a steam engine in Roman times and then have to deal with the fallout. Perhaps I missed it but I can't see why they took a non-Tomorrow Person with them. When their super powers get blocked they don't notice they shouldn't be able to speak the language any more. You get the idea. I feel bad about these criticisms because Tomorrow People is an incredibly ambitious show which went on for years and so it feels like it was bound to have inconsistencies. Something I noticed in this one is that when John is explaining things to Chris, in true seventies fashion he resorts to 'energy', that favourite idea of the New Age! The adventure could plainly have done with having fewer episodes. Having said all this and even with the kinky undertones, this is a show which is well worth watching.
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