If the sleevenotes themselves don’t give the game away, it’s clear that these audios are the work of fans of the series in general and lead head boy John (Nicholas Young) in particular. It’s as if nothing has changed since the 1970s; the Tomorrow People are still based in their London underground lair, pompous biotronic computer TIM is the same old know-all and John is still stiff and starchy. But the audios go to great lengths to address this; John, very much the big-sweatered older brother on TV, is now resolutely middle-aged and he’s aware of it too. He seems to be pondering his place not only amongst his fellow homo-superior but his place in the world, a planet which, as he notes ruefully to TIM in ‘The Deadliest Species’ is a very different place indeed to the glory days of the ’70s. The newest recruits – Eleanor and Paul (great name by the way!) – are pretty under-developed as characters so far but Helen Goldwyn and Daniel Wilson are enthusiastic players not far removed from the breathless youths who appeared on TV.
So to the stories. The series kicks off with ‘The New Gods’, the weakest of the three adventures released to date. It’s a throwaway confection by Rebecca Levene and Gareth Roberts which tries to reintroduce the series and also make a few cogent comments about the media and celebrity. But the targets are too easy; Dane and Katya are all-too obviously Posh and Becks and their grisly come-uppance really isn’t all that deserved. An ancient Aztec artefact has mysterious powers which manifest themselves as mind-control and the Tomorrow People have to battle with a monstrous manifestation of its evil when the witless duo’s baby Camberwell (groan) turns into a monster. Believe me, it works somehow… The second yarn, ‘The Deadliest Species’ is a better bet. Sounding not unlike one of Roger Price’s more outlandish stories, Gary Russell’s script is not so much a story more an orgasm of continuity references as old enemies the Sorsons reappear (voiced as they were on TV by Roy Skelton, and whose dialogue, along with Skelton’s distinctive vocal performance, make them sound more like Daleks than the Daleks)as does Stephen Jameson (Peter Vaughn-Clarke) who ‘broke out’ in the very first episode of the TV series. Stephen’s been on Galactic Federation business for some time and now he’s back on earth he’s got a score to settle. ‘The Deadliest Species’ is a hoot, referencing just about every story of the original series and filling us in on what’s happened to half-forgotten characters like Kenny, Tyso, Andrew and Professor Cawston. Not all of these old names make it to the end of the story either… The Sorsons are depicted as an entirely incompetent alien threat and the story’s greatest triumph, apart from the occasional big laugh, is its continued exploration of the character of John who’s becoming a bit of a worry, pondering his place in the scheme of things and wondering, like we all did when he saw him on TV, if he wasn’t just a bit too pompous.