Spencer Banks

Timeslip has gained a certain status amongst UK telefantasy fans, and with good reason. The production, although aimed at children, was never condescending or trite and despite its age - the show's now well into its third decade - it still stands up very well to repeated viewing. Better still, the release of the entire run of 26 episodes on DVD seems certain to further enhance its reputation as intelligent programming.
Timeslip lead actor Spencer Banks, who played time travelling Simon Randall along side Cheryl Burfield's Liz Skinner, remains very fond of the show as was prepared to crawl back through the hole in the fence one more time for Sci-Fi-Online...

Anthony Clark: Timeslip has come back to visit you again on numerous occasions and it's once again back in your life because of its release on DVD. Does this surprise you?

Spencer Banks: The first inkling we got that interest was still out there was something like 15 years ago when Cheryl and I were contacted to attend a convention up in Liverpool. At first, I have to confess, I thought it was some kind of wind-up. The people organising it had to phone me a couple of times to convince me that it wasn't.

When Cheryl and I got up there we were both astounded. There was a large group of people who seemed to know a lot more about us than we did! Over the years, as time as progressed, this level of interest has continued.

AC: The show has developed a life well beyond its expected sell-by date - something rare for something not a long-running series.

SB: It's unusual in so much as there was only ever one 26-episode strand. I can't think of many examples of one-offs that have endured quite the way Timeslip has which is a tribute to the programme in itself.

AC: And the fact that it didn't get a lot of repeats makes this even more surprising.

SB: Yes. It got one network repeat two or three years later - in 1972/73 - and then absolutely nothing. In fact, when ITC first released the whole series on VHS several years ago we were gob smacked because we'd been told resolutely, so many times, that when ATV died the tapes were wiped.

AC: Although it all survives there's only one episode in colour.

SB: Yes, sadly just the one in colour. The rest are black and white film recording that would have been used for overseas sales. It's a big disappointment as stories like The Icebox and Burn Up were terrifically colourful. There was also a technicians strike during the making of the show which meant that two episodes were originally only recorded in black and white. That cost us a US sales which impressed us no end!

AC: Was it ever intended that there'd be a follow-up?

SB: There was initially some talk about a second season. However, John Cooper, the producer, phoned us some months later to say that after initial discussions it had been decided that it wouldn't go forward after all. Obviously, being particularly new to the business, I was bitterly disappointed as I'd thoroughly enjoyed Timeslip, but perhaps with hindsight it was a wise decision. It's better for it to be fondly remembered than it continued, becoming stale.

AC: It's good to see Timeslip finally getting a DVD release. This will certainly help ensure the show's longevity.

SB: People have been asking about a DVD release for some time now and it looks as if Carlton's been listening. It'll be interesting to see how it's received. Let's hope it's purchased by the bucket-load.

AC: Thank you for your time.

With thanks to Yung Kha at Cathy Beck

Timeslip is available to buy on DVD from 19 July from Carlton Visual Entertainment

Order the DVD box set of Timeslip for £22.49 (RRP: £29.99) by clicking here.

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