A TRAVELLER IN TIME Ho-hum Histories
released OUT NOW! 1978 | PG | dVd Director dorothea Brooking Cast sophie Thompson, elizabeth Bradley, Gerald James
A Traveller In Time takes ’70s BBC children’s television to the middle-class max. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but this five-part serial is probably too demure for most viewers now.
Penelope is a city girl who goes to stay in the country with her uncle and aunt in their ancient farmhouse. Soon she’s transported back to the 16th century, where she meets a group of Catholics planning to save Mary Queen of Scots.
Even more so than early Doctor Who, the “history lesson” remit is amusingly blatant (Aunt Tissie to Uncle Barnabas: “Penelope wants to know about Mary Queen of Scots, why she was executed”, so Uncle Barnabas puts down his paper and begins...).
Penelope somehow flits back and forth between time zones throughout the serial, although the main distraction is the constant switching between film and video, a common feature of TV of the period.
While not without some charm, it’s exceedingly mild and a bit am-dram. Episodes have the most undramatic climaxes imaginable; one is titled “The Kitchen”. If only the Fourth Doctor showed up!
Extras None. Russell Lewin
The serial is based on a 1939 book by Alison Uttley, best known for creating the character of Little Grey Rabbit.
Take this picture to your hairdresser.
The Great British Bake Off: the animated version.