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Tomorrow People, The (1973-79, 92-95)

Courtesy of FremantleMedia

Main image of Tomorrow People, The (1973-79, 92-95)
Thames Television for ITV, 30/4/1973-19/2/1979
68 episodes in 8 seasons, colour
Created byRoger Price
WritersRoger Price
 Brian Finch
 Jon Watkins
Directors includePaul Bernard
 Roger Price
 Darrol Blake

Cast: Nicholas Young (John), Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Stephen Jameson), Sammie Winmill (Carol), Stephen Salmon (Kenny), Elizabeth Adare (Elizabeth M'Bondo), Dean Lawrence (Tyso), Mike Holoway (Mike Bell), Misako Koba (Hsui Tai), Nigel Rhodes (Andrew Forbes), Philip Gilbert (Voice of TIM)

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Teenage children who have reached a new level of evolution, Homo Superior, develop telepathic powers and fight alien evils on behalf of the Galactic Trig.

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Roger Price created this science fiction adventure series, inspired equally by Dr Christopher Evans' mind-expanding psychology book The Mind in Chains and a meeting with David Bowie on a TV pop show. The Tomorrow People were teenagers who had reached the next step in human evolution to become 'Homo Superior' (a phrase taken from the Bowie song 'Oh You Pretty Things').

Such special teenagers went through a painful process known as 'breaking out' - a clear play on puberty - to emerge with powers of telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation as agents of the all-powerful Galactic Trig. Led by senior Tomorrow Person John and bio-computer TIM, numerous appointed teens helped protect Earth from marauding aliens. It was a clever piece of wish-fulfilment by Price on behalf of his constituent audience, one that allowed children to become superior to parents, teachers and all other forms of authority.

This was a broad action-adventure series, with escape and capture routines familiar from Enid Blyton dressed up not only with sci-fi trappings of rayguns and teleport 'jaunting' but 1970s fashions, a glam rock design sense and a dose of liberal casting (the Tomorrow People admitting black and Oriental characters to its London-based team). The series rarely dabbled with deeper science fiction concepts, though one story, 'The Blue and the Green', about warring factions of schoolchildren, drew parallels with conflicts in Northern Ireland. There was the odd scare (the genuinely creepy 'The Living Skins' saw synthetic fashion garments spearhead an invasion by giant bubble aliens), but also many jaunts into rather camp playing from guest casts.

Price revived the series in the 1990s, helped by American finance. It retained the sense of fun and adventure from the original but with inevitably more advanced special effects. Nonetheless it failed to help define the decade as its predecessor had done.

Alistair McGown

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Video Clips
1. Opening titles (3:35)
2. The Nazis take over (4:56)
3. The truth about Hitler (1:42)
Complete episode: 'Hitler's Last Secret' (24:20)
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