What a difference one year can make. Jimmy Saville died in October 2011 and the nation mourned the loss of a tireless charity worker and genuinely eccentric broadcaster. Now his family have had to destroy his gravestone in the light of paedophile allegations. Commenting on the case, some have gone ludicrously over the top, such as Charles Shaar Murray, who wrote in last Sunday's 'Observer' that 'young girls, older men, it was a common theme of 70's pop, but it was still wrong'. It is also wrong to try and shift the blame away from Saviile himself and onto the era he existed in. I'm fairly sure he did not take up paedophilia ( if he was guilty of it ) by listening repeatedly to 'Save Your Kisses For Me' by The Brotherhood Of Man.
Let's move off the subject. 'A Rift In Time', the second story of Season 2 of Roger Price's fondly remembered '70's children's sci-fi serial about teenage telepaths, is one of the best the show produced. 'Stephen' ( Peter Vaughan Clarke ) begins having strange dreams about 'Peter' ( Richard Speight, son of Johnny ), the boy from the future he met the year before in 'The Medusa Strain'. 'John' ( Nicholas Young ) is having them too. They think he might be trying to get a message to them. Stephen sets out to borrow the Roman Vase in the dream from its owner, the eccentric 'Professor Freda Garner' ( the delightful Sylvia Coleridge ). To get it, Stephen submits willingly to the psychic experiments of 'Professor Cawston' ( Bryan Stanion ). He holds the vase but nothing happens, so he grabs the lid and jaunts back to the lab. There is a Latin inscription on it, so a copy is made. Everyone touches it, beginning with 'Chris' ( Christopher Chittell ). But when Stephen puts a hand on the artifact, there is a flash and suddenly he is gone. Where to we would have to wait a week to find out.
'Rift' threw out some unusually thought-provoking ideas for a children's show, including the Roman Empire never having ended, but going on to develop space travel and conquer most of the galaxy. Forget the cheap-looking sets and S.F.X., the show does not deserve to be judged on those things alone. By this time, Elisabeth Adare was firmly established as the new girl - schoolteacher 'Elisabeth M'Bondo'. People who constantly denigrate the '70's as an era of racist television are obviously unaware that in 1974, a black actress in her early twenties could be seen in a major role in a hit I.T.V. kids' show. Sammie Winmill, whom Adare replaced, is seen briefly in a flashback to 'The Medusa Strain'.
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