Re-Inventing The Tomorrow People

Starring: Lee Pressman, Grant Cathro, Tessa Vale and Deborah Vale
Cult Conversations
RRP: 9.99

Certificate: E
Available 06 November 2006

Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro have written some of the most memorable and highest rated programmes for Children's ITV. Their work includes
T-Bag, Spatz, Mike & Angelo and The Tomorrow People. This 70 minute interview explores their career and inspirations for their work as well as delving further into their part in the 1992 revival of Roger Price's The Tomorrow People...

Re-Inventing The Tomorrow People is an interesting release. The only question I have is "Why? Why release this now?" Sure it's entertaining, and will probably reveal a few insights into the re-inventing of the classic '70s TV series for those that are interested, but it's about ten years too late.

Maybe, as Big Finish's range of audio dramas is still going strong, it would have been a more interesting release if this DVD had examined The Tomorrow People in all its incarnations - interviewing various actors, directors and writers - to give a more in-depth look at the series as a whole. It's not as though those involved in the '70s show are hard to track down. Go to almost any sci-fi convention and at least a couple of members of the cast will be there. And I'm sure Big Finish would have been keen to push their new series. Or maybe I've totally missed the point of this release?

I originally interviewed both Pressman and Cathro for DreamWatch magazine back in 1995 as The Rameses Connection and The Living Stones were due to be screened on ITV. I didn't really learn anything new from this release - other than what the two of them have being doing for the last decade.

Anyone who has seen Pressman and Cathro's '90s incarnation will already know that it was leaps and bounds ahead of anything else on children's television at the time. The production values were impressive and some of the planet's best loved actors appeared - including Christopher Lee, the late Patricia Hayes, Connie Booth, William Hootkins and Danny John-Jules. But it was the writing that made the show stand out from all the other shows on TV. Here was a kid's show that never patronised it's audience, and could also be enjoyed just as much by adults.

For those who remember this short run series, this release will provide some interesting, and amusing tales on how Pressman and Cathro got involved, as well as proving more than a handful of amusing anecdotes.

There is also a mini interview (15 minutes) with Tessa and Deborah Vale who starred in The Culex Experiment. It would seem that they don't actually recall that much about their time on the show, as they get a little in a muddle over what their characters did. But then maybe they don't have the world's greatest memories - one of them admits to forgetting that she recently starred in a play her sister directed!

On a production point you should be aware that this is a DVD-R release - which means it probably won't play on most older DVD players. The sound was also all over the place. Sometimes it was terribly quiet, other times it was way too loud and the lip synch is not overly fantastic in quite a number of places. And finally on my DVD player the edge of the captions were missing at the start of the chapters. This meant that the DVD started off introducing the two writers as "ee Pressman & Grant Cathr". Additionally, on the Tessa and Deborah Vale interview I was amused to see the following appear on screen: "You always promote yourselves as twi" and "hat has been the highlight of your care".

Pressman and Cathro's writing on The Tomorrow People turned it into something far more than just a children's television series. There was something for everyone, and I for one welcome the chance to hear them once again talking about their involvement with a great TV series, as well as their despair at the state of Children's programming today. While this interview DVD-R could have been a lot better, it still provides a useful insight into the origins of the '90s reincarnation.

Darren Rea