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Timeslip - Look-in


Timeslip - Look-in

When the ITV listings magazine TV Times launched it's junior version called "Look-in" in January 1971, they created a comic that was to become as much a part of seventies pop culture as space hoppers, chopper bikes and space dust. "Look-in" featured an eclectic mix of text articles on pop and TV stars of the time, posters, and comic strips based on current ITV favourites that over the years included the likes of Benny Hill, Space: 1999, Mind Your Language, The A-Team, Enid Blyton's Famous Five, The Bionic Woman and The Tomorrow People to name but seven…

As well as including the first part of a cut-out model of the Magpie TV studio, issue one (dated – week ending: 9.1.71) featured a comic strip devoted to the further adventures of Liz and Simon beyond the television series.

The stories were written, more often than not, by Angus P. Allan and illustrated at first by Michael Noble. Both had been stalwarts of the legendary TV Century 21 comic of the sixties. TV Century 21 was devoted to the TV shows of the producer Gerry Anderson and included strip versions of his many shows that included Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons. It was edited by one Alan Fennell who went to become the founding editor of "Look-in".

Angus P. Allan
…was TV Century 21's story editor. He also wrote several of the comic strips and adapted Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's script for the movie "Thunderbirds Are Go!" into a novel for Armada Books. Later on during the mid-seventies, he contributed stories and text to four Space: 1999 annuals for the children's book publisher World Distributors.
Michael Noble
…had drawn Fireball XL5, Zero X and Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons for TV Century 21. His dynamic, colourful, action-orientated style coupled with his ability to capture facial likenesses and movement well made him an ideal choice for the "Look-in" stable of comic strips. After Timeslip, he virtually remained with the comic until it's demise in the eighties applying his illustrative skills to such diverse TV series as The Adventures of Black Beauty, The Man from Atlantis and Enid Blyton's Famous Five. He came out of retirement to provide a selection of posters for the revived Thunderbirds comics being produced by Fleetway and edited by Fennell, during the early nineties.

The Timeslip strip began in issue 1.1 spread across the centre pages and in glorious colour. In it, Liz and Simon find themselves exiting the time barrier into a strange apparently prehistoric jungle whilst Liz's parents and a somewhat more benign Commander Traynor than appeared in the TV series, worried about them back in present day St. Oswald. The likeness of Cheryl Burfield and Spencer Banks were excellent. Noble used stills of the two actors taken on the sets of The Time of the Ice Box and hence the two characters retained the costumes from that serial (Simon, his off white jumper and Liz, her brown cardigan.) for the duration of the strip's run. The prehistoric world was eventually revealed to be a future version of Earth and the two children eventually found themselves tumbling to a new adventure halfway through episode five. Noble continiued to handle the art chores for twenty-six installments.

In issue 1.27, the strip shifted to make way for an adaptation of the popular series Follyfoot. Noble left Timeslip to draw this popular equine drama series leaving the Timeslip strip to less capable artists. Adding further insult, Timeslip was now in black and white. A series of outlandish adventures that moved further and further from the format of the television show ensued throughout the rest of 1971.

As the strip continued into 1972, so it became more and more divorced from the original television series. No longer was the time barrier located at St. Oswald but now had a bizzare habit of scooping Liz and Simon when they least expected it and allowing them to travel to other planets, meet mythical figures, encounter monsters and many other broader fantasy-based situations.

The strip ended in issue 2.50 with the conclusion of an off-the-wall two part adventure which even dispensed with the time barrier itself and saw Liz and Simon transported to a surreal Earth courtesy of a mysterious UFO.

A comic strip also appeared in the 1972 "Look-in" annual and saw the two children catapulted by the time barrier to a future world dominated by a bald headed super villain known only as "The Botanist" (!) Like the strip in the weekly comic, the annual story suggested that the time barrier and the Ministry field were located near the sea on the Cornish coast.

Click here for a sample page.

In 1973, to coincide with the TV serial's re-run on the ITV network, "Look-in" reprinted 'The Maid of Falmouth' colour Timeslip strip in black and white in it's Summer Special.

The Angus P. Alan / Michael Noble strips

1. "The Cavemen" (Issues 1.1 – 1.5 )
Simon and Liz stumble on a primitive world of cavemen and prehistoric creatures that they only later learn is a future Earth…

Click here for a sample page.
2. "Robot World" (Issues 1.5 – 1.14)
Simon and Liz find themselves again in the future but this time on an Earth ruled by robots…
3. "Egypt" (Issues 1.14 – 1.21)
The time barrier takes the two children back to ancient Egypt.

4. "The Maid of Falmouth" (Issues 1.21 – 1.26)
Liz and Simon head off through the time barrier on a mission to discover more about the sinking of a sailing ship for Commander Traynor and Liz's father. To their horror, they arrive in London in 1666 where they become cut off from the time barrier.

Click here for sample pages from the final installment.

(NB – Titles are the author's own as no story titles were given in "Look-in".)


Throughout the course of (and a little beyond) Timeslip's television run, "Look-in" provided the show with a number of specially commissioned publicity pieces through articles and posters.

Issue 1.9 saw Cheryl Burfield and Spencer Banks posing for photographs amongst the full size fibreglass dinosaurs of Crystal Palace. Both were out of their television costumes and wearing more "with it" gear. Spencer (minus his prop glasses) wore a cream jacket, yellow & orange patterned shirt and dark brown tie whilst Cheryl (minus pigtails!) wore a dark top with a lighter quarter length skirt. The accompanying interview revealed little and the piece was re-hashed into the 1972 "Look-in" annual.

(Click here for the text and pics from the "Look-in" annual.)

Issue 1.24 saw an interview with "cover girl" Cheryl Burfield principally about her large collection of international dolls.

Click here for cover.

Shortly into its first year, "Look-in" began a series of short comic strips under the umbrella title "Celebrity Choice". These were an anthology of non-TV based strips 'introduced' by various guest celebrities (or rather their photographic likenesses and a speech bubble!). Cheryl and Spencer took their turn with a 3 part strip story entitled Sabotage! running from issue 1.35 to 1.37. Shortly after, Peter Fairley, in his day job as ITN Science Correspondent, introduced a 4 part SF tale entitled Mystery of the Moondust! from issue 1.40 to 1.43.

Timeslip also featured on the covers of issues 2.11 (artwork by Mike Noble) and 2.27. (Issue 2.6 featured an artwork cover of Spencer Banks in his role as Martin in "Tightrope" with the background depicting Simon going through the time barrier!)

Click here to see issue 2.11 artwork by Mike Noble

(With thanks to Shaqui for his input)

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