The Tomorrow People


The Tomorrow People Information

The Tomorrow People is a British children's science fiction television series, devised by Roger Price. Produced by Thames Television for the ITV Network, the series first ran between 1973 and 1979. The series was re-imagined in 1992, Roger Price acting as executive producer. A third incarnation, running between 2001 and 2007, returned to the original concept and characters, but this time produced as a series of audio plays for Big Finish Productions. A U.S. version also called The Tomorrow People will air on The CW Network premiering in the 2013"14 season.

Premise

All incarnations of the show concerned the emergence of the next stage of human evolution (Homo superior) known colloquially as Tomorrow People. Born to human parents, an apparently-normal child might at some point between childhood and late adolescence experience a process called "breaking out", when they develop their special abilities. These abilities include psionic powers such as telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation. However, their psychological makeup prevents them from intentionally killing others.

Original series (1970s)

The original series was produced by Thames Television for Britain's ITV network. The Tomorrow People operate out of a secret laboratory, The lab, built in an abandoned London Underground station. The lab was revamped at the beginning of series 6. The team watches for new Tomorrow People "breaking out" to help them through the process and sometimes deal with attention from extraterrestrial species as well as facing more earthbound dangers. They also have connections with the "Galactic Federation" which oversees the welfare of telepathic species throughout the galaxy. In addition to their psychic powers, they also use advanced technology such as the biological (called in the series "biotronic") computer TIM, which is capable of original thought, telepathy, and can augment their psychic powers. TIM also helps the Tomorrow People to teleport long distances, although they must be wearing a device installed into a belt or bracelet for this to work. Teleportation is referred to as jaunting in the programme. The start of Series 3 introduced the distinctive black-and-white checkerboard belt buckles, on the jaunting belts, which continued to be used up to Series 5. These were subsequently changed to a simpler silver buckle and then replaced by a wristband.

In the original series the Tomorrow People are also referred to by the term Homo superior. The term "Homo Superior" appears in David Bowie's song "Oh! You Pretty Things": "Let me make it plain. You gotta make way for the Homo Superior." This term came up as part of a conversation between Roger Price and David Bowie at a meeting at Granada studios in Manchester. Price was directing a programme in which Bowie was appearing. Price had been working on a script for his Tomorrow People project and during a conversation with Bowie, the term Homo superior came up. Bowie liked the term and soon afterwards wrote it into his song, pre-dating the series itself which was eventually produced by Thames TV in 1973. Price has sometimes been quoted as saying that the lyrics to this song were inspired by the series, not the other way around.

(In another realm of popular culture, in 1963 Marvel Comics began using the term as a taxonomic designation for the X-Men and other Mutants within the Marvel Universe.)

Alistair McGown of Screen Online cites The Mind in Chains by Dr Christopher Evans as a primary source. Evans also became a scientific advisor for the series. He would be credited as such on every single episode but most people working on the show seem to recall that he only had involvement in the first couple of seasons. McGown also suggests a similarity between The Tomorrow People and the children's fantasy fiction of Enid Blyton.

While they reveal their existence to some, the Tomorrow People generally operate in secrecy for fear that normal people (whom they term "Saps", a pejorative abbreviation for Homo sapiens) will either fear or victimise them because of their special powers or try to exploit them for military purposes. In order to defend themselves they must use non-lethal weaponry such as "stun guns" or martial arts due to their unwillingness to cause harm, referred to as the "prime barrier". In early seasons they would have the aid of "Sap" friends such as Ginge, Lefty and Chris who would usually handle the rougher stuff that the pacifist TPs could not deal with. Also in the 2nd and 3rd years they become friendly with a psychic researcher named Professor Cawston.

Price initially offered the format to Granada but was turned down so offered it to Lewis Rudd at Thames who commissioned a 13 episode series, having seen the potential of the format. At this time, ITV was keen to find its own answer to Doctor Who although Price never really envisaged the show as such but more as an outlet for his own personal ideas and beliefs. Very early on, Ruth Boswell was brought in as associate producer and script editor as she had experience of children's fantasy drama (Timeslip and Tightrope) while TV dramatist Brian Finch was hired to co-write the scripts in view of the fact that Price had little experience of writing drama. Thames effectively poached Doctor Who director Paul Bernard to help set up and oversee the first season. He would be credited as director for two stories but was unofficially a third producer.

Bernard was very heavily involved in the creation of the memorable title sequence which involved a mixture of haunting images and facial shots of the main cast zooming towards the camera in monochrome, with an eerie theme tune from Dudley Simpson playing behind. He got inspiration from seeing billboards rushing towards him when driving. Amongst the more disturbing images were a human foetus, shadowy figures behind scaffolding and even the insides of a bell pepper (a somewhat exotic fruit in the 1970s).

Casting was seen as very important to the production team, in that the leads would have to be personable enough to attract a young audience while Price also wanted to ensure he got amiable, easy-going actors who would be easy to work with over long periods in the studio or out on location. Nicholas Young was cast as the group's leader, John while Peter Vaughan-Clarke was offered the role of Stephen after Price saw him in a Manchester rendition of Peter Pan with Lulu. Ruth Boswell wanted Lynn Frederick (later the last wife of Peter Sellers) for Carol, the female lead, but following a meeting with her, Paul Bernard felt she was a bit too upper-class and precious for what he had in mind as he saw the character as being similar to Doctor Who's Jo Grant. They finally settled on Sammie Winmill who was relatively well known for playing Nurse Crumpton on the popular Doctor at Large situation comedy (also a Thames production). The role of Kenny, the youngest TP was given to Stephen Salmon after he had been discovered in a drama workshop while theatre actor Phillip Gilbert was selected to provide the ever so paternal tones of biotronic computer TIM. Making up the team were two Sap friends, a couple of bikers called Ginge (Michael Standing) and Lefty (Derek Crewe) who encounter the Tomorrow People when acting as henchmen for the villainous shape-shifter Jedekiah in the opening adventure. Stephen would be very much the show's hero and focus for the audience while John was something of an authoritarian figure who took his responsibilities for the species' future and welfare very seriously . Early publicity included a photo session of the cast with the Doctor Who star, Jon Pertwee to indicate a friendly rivalry between the two shows.

Even for the time, the special effects of the original show were considered sub-par, largely attributable to the show's small budget. Season one's recurring villain, Jedikiah, was originally devised to be a long-running foe but after seeing the poorly-designed robot that was the shape-changer's true form, an unimpressed Price elected not to use the character again until the finale of season three which was planned as the series' swansong (the robotic form noticeably fails to appear). Despite this, the season proved popular with its young audience who watched in large numbers, even denting the figures for the popular BBC magazine programme, Blue Peter.

The success of the first season saw another thirteen episodes go into production, but with a number of changes. Off-screen, both Bernard and Finch departed leaving Price to take more control as writer, director and producer while on-screen Kenny and Carol disappeared (sent to the Galactic Trig to work as ambassadors for Earth). Salmon was simply not asked back as there was a feeling the character had failed to work, while Winmill's departure was voluntary. In their place came student school teacher Elizabeth M'Bondo, portrayed by Elizabeth Adare. Adare initially thought her character was to be a teenage girl and made every effort at her audition to look and act like an adolescent. However Price and Boswell were suitably impressed to change the Elizabeth character so that she breaks out at an older age due to a latent puberty. Elizabeth is uncovered by Stephen when working at his school. This was the start of a near annual event where a new TP would be introduced in the first story......a handy way of maintaining interest for returning viewers and a convenient way for Price to re-establish the basic premise of the show for new audiences every year.

Filming began in late 1973 with Michael Standing returning as Ginge, but on the first day he fell off his motorbike and broke his leg, prompting a speedy re-write whereby Ginge's younger brother, Chris (Chris Chittell), was now seen as the new Sap regular. Chris was mentioned in the dialogue as already being known to the Tomorrow People, so little in the way of changes had to be made to the script. Ginge's absence was explained on-screen by his having been admitted to hospital following a fall from his motorbike " reflecting Standing's real-life accident.

In 1975, the third series added Dean Lawrence as gypsy boy Tyso Boswell. Chris disappears after only appearing in one episode (his absence is never explained) while telepathic secret agent, Tricia Conway appears in two stories before fully breaking out in the season climax which saw the young heroes menaced by old rival, Jedikiah. This season also saw the group visit an alien world for the first time when the Galactic Trig dispatches them to help the telepathic population of the planet Peerie. A comedy script was attempted in the much-derided "A Man for Emily" as Price was keen to get more into humorous writing. The negative backlash to this experiment resulted in a planned sequel story being quietly dropped but such actions added to Price's increasing frustration with the show. Phillip Gilbert also made the first of several on-screen appearances as Timus Irnok Mosta, an ambassador from the Galactic Federation who had a hand in building TIM thus sounding alike. Timus was a clone and his brother, Tikno also appears. They would make semi regular appearances until the final story in 1979.

As the series wore on, Price became tired of his creation and attempted to end it by killing off the leads at the conclusion to season three (Ruth Boswell made him rewrite it so that they survived). However Thames Television had a ratings winner (as well as excellent overseas sales) and insisted he continue the programme, albeit in smaller seasons from now on. Price only ever allowed one attempt by another writer to work on it solo, with Jon E. Watkins penning the story "Into the Unknown" in 1976. Having fewer episodes to write, Price would have more time to work on his comedic and light-entertainment productions which he enjoyed more than the demanding sci-fi drama. At the start of the fourth series he attempted to give a boost to the format with the introduction of teenage idol Mike Holoway as Mike Bell. Holoway was the drummer with pop band Flintlock and Price hoped that his young charge would be Britain's answer to Donny Osmond or David Cassidy. This meant the decision to sack Vaughan-Clarke as Stephen, the programme's original male lead, who is not given a leaving scene at the end of season four. With this change, it was noticeable that John and Elizabeth took on a more parental role as both actors entered their mid 20s. Tyso also vanished after the fourth year but his character had been pretty redundant for some time due to Tyso having not been written into scripts that year. His late inclusion was only addressed a couple of weeks before filming started when Price discovered from Lawrence that he was available to appear. This meant Tyso only had limited screen time and very few lines.

Vic Hughes took over as producer with season five, which was the only series not to introduce a new Tomorrow Person. All three adventures were two-parters which allowed Price to write them quickly and remove any unwanted excess padding which tended to slow down the action.

1978 saw changes being made, starting with Elizabeth's absence through most of season six due to Elizabeth Adare's pregnancy (on screen Elizabeth is working on diplomatic missions for the Galactic Trig). In her place came Hsui Tai, played by Japanese actress Misako Koba whose poor grasp of English made her hard to understand and Nicholas Young later recalled that he and other actors found this difficult during production. A new Lab set was introduced with a slimmed-down but now mobile TIM and the jaunting belts were replaced by jaunting bands (worn on the wrists). These changes were forced on the production team following a fire at the Thames storerooms. The new Lab acted as both base and home for the Tomorrow People as they were now seen to be sleeping in their own cabins there.

Season seven in late 1978 introduced another Tomorrow Person in the form of Scottish lad Andrew Forbes (Nigel Rhodes). He is using his psychic powers to conjure up images of ghosts so as to provide a tourism attraction for the hotel owned by his father. Elizabeth was back from her time on the Trig.

With inflation out of control in the late 1970s, the budget was stretched to breaking point, a factor which was constantly on the mind of producer Vic Hughes. And indeed it was a dispute over the allocation of studio days that brought down the axe in 1979 when Hughes attempted to gain an extra studio day for the planned ninth season (which fell victim to the ITV strike that summer) following numerous problems during the production of "War of the Empires" (the sole four-part adventure that made up season eight) which had been given only four days in studio. By this point Price had emigrated to America and Thames were reluctant to carry on without him.

Cast

  • "TIM / Timus Irnok Mosta / Tikno" " Philip Gilbert
  • "John" " Nicholas Young
  • "Carol" " Sammie Winmill
  • "Kenneth ?Kenny' Green" " Stephen Salmon
  • "Stephen Jameson" " Peter Vaughan-Clarke
  • "Elizabeth M'Bondo" " Elizabeth Adare
  • "Tyso Boswell" " Dean Lawrence
  • "Patricia Conway" " Anne Curthoys
  • "Mike Bell" " Mike Holoway
  • "Pavla Vlasova" " Anulka Dubynska
  • "Maureen Hsui Tai" " Misako Koba
  • "Andrew Forbes" " Nigel Rhodes
  • "Peter" " Richard Speight
  • "Zenon" " Stephen Jack
  • "Ginger ?Ginge' Harding" " Michael Standing
  • "Lefty" " Derek Crewe
  • "Chris Harding" " Chris Chittell
  • "Professor Cawston" " Bryan Stanyon

Merchandise

A comic-strip version, based on the original series, was also produced, written by Angus P. Allan and printed in TV comic Look-In that ran somewhat concurrently with the 1970s series. Piccolo Books also released five tie-in novels during the seventies: The Visitor (1973), Three into Three (1974), Four into Three (1975), One Law (1976) and Lost Gods (1977). In 1978, there was also a children's annual. "The Visitor" was written before production began on the series and offers a glimpse of some of the original ideas for the show that never made it. Namely the Tomorrow People contact TIM via wrist communicators as the computer is non-telepathic while the characters of Ginge and Lefty are portrayed as much younger characters than they were on screen. Also the Lab is accessed from the back of a regular Tube station.

Revivals

1990s series

Price produced the 1990s revival of The Tomorrow People for Tetra Films (an independent production company, mostly comprising the former children's department at Thames Television) in association with the Thames-owned American company Reeves Entertainment for Thames and Nickelodeon between 1992 and 1995 (Central in 1994 and 1995). After some pressure from executives, Price decided to start with a blank slate and so the show was almost completely different from its predecessor. The original cast, characters, and music were not used. The new series incorporated a multi-national cast to ensure that worldwide syndication sales would be easier to obtain.

The distinctive belt buckles were omitted, as the new Tomorrow People were able to teleport without them. The non-lethal stun guns and other gadgetry were also done away with. The new Tomorrow People relied more on their wits and powers to get out of trouble.

There remain some analogies, however. The Lab was replaced by a psychic spaceship in the South Pacific to which Tomorrow People are drawn when they "break out". TIM is replaced by an ostensibly mute computer that is part of the alien ship. The visual effects were improved considerably by effects artist Clive Davis along with the sets in the new series compared to the original series.

Audio revival

In 2001, Big Finish Productions launched a series of new audio plays based on the original series, produced by Nigel Fairs. Nicholas Young and Philip Gilbert reprised their roles as John and TIM, with Helen Goldwyn and James Daniel Wilson appearing as Elena and Paul, the new Tomorrow People. Some releases also feature other original cast members, such as Peter Vaughan-Clarke, Elizabeth Adare and Mike Holoway (notably Trigonometry). Trevor Littledale took over the role of TIM in the audio series from The Warlock's Dance onwards after Philip Gilbert's death.

Five series were produced of the audio series. It was cancelled in December 2007 because of the discontinuation of a licensing arrangement with Fremantle Media Enterprises. CDs of the series were permanently withdrawn from sale on 7 January 2008. However, the CDs have been found in some stores around the UK, as forgotten and reduced stock, and online stores, Amazon and E-bay still sell them. The best times to find them are during science fiction conventions.

Cast

  • "John Dixon" " Nicholas Young
  • "Elena Plowright" " Helen Goldwyn
  • "Paul Pryer-Smith" " Daniel Wilson
  • "Allison Hardy" " Clare Buckfield
  • "Lillith D'Abora" " Elizabeth Counsell
  • "James" " Ian Hallard
  • "Robert Michell" " Stuart Piper
  • "David Jennings" " Neil Henry
  • "Stephen Jameson" " Peter Vaughan-Clarke
  • "Elizabeth M'Bondo" " Elizabeth Adare
  • "Mike Bell" " Mike Holoway
  • "Carol" " Sammie Winmill
  • "TIM" " Trevor Littledale
  • "Ruth / Rachel / Deborah" " Lizzie Hopley
  • "Adam"
  • "Karen"
  • "Susan"
  • "William"
  • "James"
  • "Rebecca Broadwick"
  • "Major Ann Turner" " Vivien Heilbron
  • "Peter Benson" "
  • "Georgina ?Georgie' Franklin" " Sarah McGuinness
  • "Patrice" " Thomas Grant
  • "Father Matthew" " Richard Oldham (actor)
  • "Malachi" " Max Day
  • "Tobias" " Robert Curbishley
  • "Sharon" " Caroline Morris
  • "Jo" " Jo Caseleton

2013 CW revival

See The Tomorrow People (U.S. TV series) for more information In November 2012, Deadline.com announced that Julie Plec and Greg Berlanti had obtained the rights to The Tomorrow People and commissioned a pilot written by Phil Klemmer. This occurred after a similar rights option expired to an aborted attempt two years previously.

It was announced on 28 January 2013 that the revival had received a pilot order from the The CW Television Network. On 21 February it was announced the Australian actor Luke Mitchell was cast for the pilot as John Young.

The pilot was picked-up to series on 9 May 2013. It will air on Wednesdays in the 9/8c timeslot following Arrow from Fall 2013.

Documentaries

In October 2005, Fantom Films and First Time Films released the 1997 documentary about the series entitled Beyond Tomorrow. The documentary features interviews with cast members from the original series including: Nicholas Young (John), Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Stephen), Sammie Winmill (Carol), Elizabeth Adare (Liz), Dean Lawrence (Tyso), Mike Holoway (Mike) and the late Philip Gilbert.

The following year, Fantom Films released a second DVD discussing the 1990s series with writers Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro, entitled Re-inventing The Tomorrow People.




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Tomorrow_People" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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