The Tomorrow People – tape 1687

Not, sadly, the endearingly clunky 70s original, but the almost slick 90s reboot here. We saw the first few episodes a few months back, but this looks like a new series. Firstly, I should deal with this credit:

Directed by Viviane Albertine

No, not Alan Horrox, but Viviane Albertine. That name rings a bell. It’s only Viv Albertine, punk pioneer and guitarist for The Slits. Turns out, after the Slits disbanded, she did a bit of directing.

This episode is called The Culex Experiment. You can’t go wrong with a title like ‘The XXXX Experiment’ – it always sounds exciting and Sci-Fi, and yet gives absolutely nothing about the story away.

70s TV comedy  stalwart Denise Coffey makes an appearance as Kevin’s aunt.

Denise Coffey

Kevin is rushing to meet Megabyte when a man in a white coat runs in front of him, being chased by something insecty. Two men in white suits arrive on a motorbike and sidecar, and take him away.

Scientists in a sidecar

Kevin gets to the station to meet Megabyte, and calls the police, but he’s also attacked by an insect.

When Insects Attack

The shifty men in white try to take him away, but Megabyte shoos them away, and Adam, the other Tomorrow Person, jaunts in to see what’s happening.

Adam’s taken to hospital, where his aunt briefly meets new cast member Naomie Harris, long before she co-starred in Skyfall. She’s replaced Kristen Ariza’s Lisa, presumably because the programme couldn’t cope with three lead actors having homophonic names.

Naomie Harris

Roger Sloman arrives, as an officious police officer.

Roger Sloman

Naomie Harris plays Ami, whose mother is in the same hospital as Kevin, and she mentally experiences what Kevin experienced, and tells the doctor that he’s been bitten.

Adam and Megabyte explain to her about being a Tomorrow Person, but naturally she doesn’t believe them.

Two identical women attack the doctor treating Kevin to stop him taking a blood sample – although he’s been in there for so long you’d wonder why they hadn’t already taken some.

The women take Kevin, and Ami senses it, so there’s a chase, but they get away with Kevin (in the sidecar again).

Then Adam and Megabyte take Ami to the spaceship[ buried under a south pacific island, and they use their powers to see what actually happened to Kevin.

These episodes are on CITV, and it appears that they’ve ditched their presenters, at least for the second episode, where all you get is trailers and adverts.

Int he next episode, Sloman interrogates the kids, but doesn’t get anything useful. They then do a ‘mind merge’ s that Ami can remember the registration of the motorbike, but when they bring this to Sloman, he just gets cross at them – you’d think he’d welcome new information. So Megabyte has to use the police computer to get the address for the bike, and only then does Sloman do something.

They arrive at the address, a big country house, and are greeted by two very similar looking women (which should raise alarm bells).

Identical women

The owner of the motorcycle is the great Jean Marsh as Professor Culex, who says the bike had been stolen. So it’s a dead end.

Jean Marsh

Back at Kavin’s Aunt’s, she’s been treating a dog which has the same symptoms as Kevin (she happens to be a vet), which was bitten up near the big house. She takes a blood sample and takes it to the doctor who was treating Kevin.

The doctor analyzes the sample, and phones Adam with the results. He doesn’t actually say what the results are, or what they mean, he just keeps saying how incredible and unbelievable the results are.

Meanwhile, someone is skulking around the aunt’s vet practice, and kidnaps the comatose dog, then grabs Ami when she goes to have a look.

And just as the doctor might be getting round to saying some actual facts about the blood, rather than just hyperbole, he also is grabbed.

Ami has been captured by Professor Culex, who explains her grand plan – to breed the greatest mosquito as ‘the ultimate predator’, and the cliffhanger has Ami menaced by one of the mosquitoes.

Before the next episode, there’s a ‘databurst’ – a bunch of short frames designed to be still-framed on video, with a bunch of frankly dull information, of which this is the most interesting.

Kay Mellor

In the next episode, Ami manages to teleport away from the threat. Culex and the twins prepare to clear the house out, and Adam and Megabyte hitchhike on their lorry, discovering Kevin in a box. Megabyte takes Kevin back to his aunt’s house while Adam stays with the lorry.

The lorry heads into London, and drops off one of the twins, doing some kind of miscoloured Mario cosplay.

Miscoloured Mario Cosplay

She heads to the headquarters when Megabyte’s dad, General Damon, works. He’s setting up security for a conference about a piece of hardware which, if it fell into the wrong hands, could cause a catastrophe. Vanilla Mario is pretending to be a window cleaner, and eavesdropping.

I hate the way everything in this show is generalities. They can’t even be bothered to invent what this dangerous machine might be, just that it’s top secret and dangerous.

The lorry arrives at its final destination, and as Adam is looking inside the building, the other twin drops a big barrel on him. Is this another Donkey Kong reference?

Next episode, Megabyte keeps trying to ask his dad for help, but they keep having pointless arguments and not actually telling each other anything that would help them. It’s all artificial drama.

Connie Booth at last turns up as another scientist, the one with the very important top secret device that General Damon was talking about.

Connie Booth

She’s travelled with her son – I wonder if he’ll turn out to be a Tomorrow Person.

Culex poses as a limo driver to trap another scientist, but Megabyte is hiding in the boot. Somehow, when someone tosses a metal box into the boot, it manages to knock him unconscious while he’s hiding under a blanket, so Culex can steal the scientist’s palmprint, then pretend to be the scientist and visit General Damon, then get all the security arrangements.

In the car park, a security man finds the unconscious scientist in the back of the limo, then looks in the boot and finds megabyte. For some reason, he looks sheepish – I don’t know why he doesn’t immediately say that Culex kidnapped him.

The 11th World Scientist Convention kicks off, and it’s a packed event.

World Scientist Convention

Connie Booth presents her breakthrough. It’s the duplication of organic matter. “I have here a single grain of rice.” She puts it into her machine, which then starts spraying out loads of (dried) rice. I half expected her to say “Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can imagine, this will revolutionise the business of celebrating newlyweds.”

Then, Booth’s son is kidnapped while playing Quasar, and Culex wants the machine.

In the next episode, Kevon’s aunt, analyzing the blood sample, is getting a bit morose. “We’ve become too clever, you see. When we take on Mother Nature and win, like this, there’s no place left for us in the universe.”

General Damon and Professor Connie Booth, along with Megabyte and Adam, are discussing Culex. She needs the machine because each mosquito takes months of work to produce. I guess we’re supposed to imagine that she manufactures each mosquito by hand, rather than, I don’t know, breeding them.

The twins are stilllurking around pretending to be chambermaids now, and being let into rooms by secret servicemen. Haven’t these people been briefed about twin women?

They want the machine, and Professor Connie thinks she might be able to fool Culex by handing over the machine but with the wrong activation code. The kids steal the machine for her to help her with the plan.

But she ditches the kids and takes the device to Culex. Then, to get the correct code, Culex offers her the antidote to the poison he’s been afflicted with.

Culex uses the machine to make lots of her mosquitoes, just as General Damon arrives, but luckily the kids know how to deal with the insects, freezing them with fire extinguishers.

Pesky Insects

But Culex still has the antidote, and almost destorys it when she falls from a great height (as all villains must), but Adam catches the vial. Hooray, a happy ending.

Now, regular readers might have noticed how Kevin, a main character in the first story, was comatose for this whole story. I suspect that the makers realised he wasn’t the greatest actor in the vast, and had to sideline him.

There’s another story after this, Monsoon Man. New character Lucy Allen (Laurence Bouvard) is a reporter who Adam bumps into outside a club and finds her travelcard.

Laurence Bouvard

She witnessed a strange event – a burglar who activated some strange device in a house was thrown onto the street, and was mysteriously frozen. So she decides to investigate the story.

When she disappears, and her house is suddenly occupied by an old couple who claim they’ve lived there for years, Adam  is worried. He and Megabyte track her to the house, and they’re both captured by the bad guys.

Before the next episode, I think someone on the CITV team really didn’t like Mike and Angelo. Or maybe the ‘See You Next Tuesday’ caption is entirely coincidental.

See You Next Tuesday

Ami rescues the boys from their predicament, and at the same time persuades her mother that she should be allowed to use her powers to make a difference.

The bad guys have to tell their boss they lost the boys. Boss is played by William Hootkins, doing the kind of over the top southern accent that only exists in British TV programmes that desperately hope to get a US sale.

William Hootkins

The bad guys clear out of the house, so that when the three heroes turn up again, they find another old person living there, apparently for many years. Well, I guess if you have an effective Modus Operandi, you stick to it.

This time the resident in question is Peggy Mount.

Peggy Mount

They decide to follow Mount when she leaves the house to see where she goes, and they follow her to her casting agent, played by Ian McNeice.

Ian McNeice

The bad guys want the photos that Lucy took, so they go after her editor, who’s on holiday, and they use their machine, which can control the weather. Adam arrives in the nick of time.

Next episode, and they rescue the editor, get the photos processed, but the bad guy hides a bomb in his office. They hide in a cupboard to survive the blast.

Lucy escapes from the bad guys, and Ami works out that the company behind everything is the Cobb Cereal Corporation.

Megabyte and Ami go to Florida to investigate, and find their way into Hootkin’s private office. Then he gasses them in a lift, and the episode’s over/ Sorry for the cliffhanger…

After this episode, there’s the start of an episode of Home and Away, and then the tape ends.

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One comment

  1. Viv Albertine discusses her TV directing career in her autobiography, apparently there were backstage shenanigans going on she wasn’t happy with. Read her book, though, it’s fantastic.

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