Review By Paul Mount, 4 out of 5 It’s generally accepted that by about 1977, as THE TOMORROW PEOPLE reached its fifth year and the focus of much of the show’s attention shifted to pretty boy wannabe pop idol Mike Holoway, the series had become a bit pants. Viewing the series – reduced to just six episodes for budgetary reasons – all these years later it’s fair to say that the show, far from being past its sell-by date, was suddenly (if briefly) finding its second-wind. Comprised of three two-part adventures, season five of THE TOMORROW PEOPLE benefits enormously by its truncation as writer Roger Price turns in tighter, leaner scripts and the show’s production values seem to have improved – which, let’s face it, wasn’t difficult.
Espionage and internal intrigue were always favourite subjects for Roger Price and series opener ‘The Dirtiest Business’ is a gritty, no-nonsense piece full of clumsy KGB agents and a Russian telepath named Pavla (Anulka Dublinska) on the run in London. The script has some adult overtones and references, the location films adds to the atmosphere of the piece and the conclusion of the second episode is startlingly graphic for a 1970s kid show. ‘A Much-Needed Holiday’ is adapted from an old Look-In comic strip and whilst it is the season’s only real wobble, it’s nothing like as bad as some of the series’ previous attempts at intergalactic antics. Here the three homo-superior travel to the closed world of Galia where the indigenous population are enslaved by the alien Kleptons who spend their time strip-mining planets. The Kleptons are a bit rubbish with their silver-foil helmets and gloves and the story is full of slave-boys grunting and falling over but once again the show is saved by some nifty exterior filming and some halfway-decent special effects. The season conclusion ‘Heart of Sogguth’ sees Roger Price moralising about youth culture and organised religion. In real life Holoway was the front man for a teen band called Flintlock (don’t worry about it, they didn’t trouble the charts much) and Price wrote them into this fun yarn about a tribal drum which can conjure up….wait for it….the Devil! It’s derivative and stagey but it’s quite an effective little story even if the fact that the bad guy really is the Devil is a bit disturbing.
Twenty-first century kids will find nothing of interest here but those of us who remember THE TOMORROW PEOPLE first time around will find this particular series charming and surprisingly entertaining. Recommended for those of a certain age…
THE DISC: There are a few wobbles in the picture but generally it’s a crisp, clean transfer. Extras include the usual text notes and commentaries which are a bit less lary than usual thanks to the arrival of Mike Holoway who takes it all a bit more serious than Nicholas Young and former TP Peter Vaughn-Clarke who generously turns up for the first of the commentaries even though he was sacked from the series by this point!
Season Five of THE TOMORROW PEOPLE is released on 21st June 2004 in the UK.