"Play for Today" The Flipside of Dominick Hide (TV Episode 1980) Poster

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Such marvellous dialogue too...
geffers22 February 2004
After 24 years, you would expect a low budget play to show its age, but Flipside holds up very well. Of course the references to 1999 are now, thankfully, inaccurate. Large wall TV's, holographic projectors, video phones, a London Underground that shows which stop you are at - really not a bad effort at prediction.

But what really stands out is the great attempt to show the evolution of English after 100 years and more, clipping the sentences to a more precise style. And everything is perfect here, and different too - the editing for instance, where there is a gentle fade between Dominick and Ava as they talk, culminating in a merge of both faces. Even the saucer doesn't look too tacky considering budget constraints.

And to think that this was just one of a seemingly endless parade of new plays shown each week. Shame on the BBC for not promoting new drama, and new dramatists in this way any more.

There is something so nostalgic about the way the play unfolds, and the music is great too.
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A classic.
NEIL-21326 February 2006
Just watched this on bbc 4 and just have to say i thought it was great.The story was well written.The writers letting the story flow and not trying to speed it up with unwanted action.The acting was superb from Firth and the rest of the great cast,Patrick magee giving a good performance in his small but pivotal role.The music at the beginning and the end was very good.Although i have no doubt i am probably looking at this through rose coloured glasses,and that there was a fair share of trash on TV in the 80s.This really puts the TV programmes of today to shame.Given a choice what my TV license fee should be spent on it would be this kind of programme not reality TV.Anyway i do hope the sequel will be shown on TV soon.
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Science fiction as enchantment
e14iron7 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Every now and then something comes along that reminds us that science fiction is not all robots and lasers. Given a strong script, a sympathetic director and a perfectly selected cast it can be quite, quite enchanting. Like much top class SF, this is as much another genre as SF and in this case it is a remarkable love story.

The play - part of the BBC's sadly abandoned Play for Today strand - is now out of DVD along with its sequel Another Flip for Dominick and it has aged remarkably well, a testament to the intelligence of the storytelling and the excellence of the performers. A few small plot details have been overtaken by events and the pacing and dialogue are more formal that we are used to today (but very dynamic and witty by the standards of the time). £12.99 well spent.

***Here be spoilers***

Dominick Hide (Peter Firth) is a corro - a correspondent - whose job is to travel back from 2130 to 1980 to study transport.

Against regulations he lands his flying saucer, seeking out his ancestor, also call Dominick. But he meets and is enchanted by Jane (an achingly beautiful Caroline Langrishe). Her messy lifestyle and happy-go-lucky approach to life contrast with the staid and proper marriage of his own time.

He has an affair with Jane, yet this is not a story of betrayal. When he returns to his wife (a study in pained confusion by Pippa Guard) he is liberated and treats her with a passion that was entirely absent before his sojourn in 1980.

It is tempting to give away the wickedly clever twist, but that would be unfair on those who have yet to experience this terrific play for the first time. Bravo to the Beeb for putting it out.
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Ahead of its time
Timbo-1611 March 1999
When this film was shown as part of the BBC's 'Play for Today' season I had some French homework to do for school the following day.

The story which took time travel, a genre which was and always has been popular with science fiction writers, to a new level. Concentrating on the characters in the story (and an excellent story it is), rather than the sci-fi elements themselves made this compelling viewing. It actually made the science fiction elements appear to be more 'real'.

I'm sure if I were to see it again it would seem a little dated, but at the time (and a few years later when it was repeated as a prologue to the inferior, but nonetheless interesting and worth watching sequel 'Another Flip for Dominick') it was way ahead of anything else on the screen (small or large).

Needless to say, I failed to complete my French homework and received some extra work to do as a punishment - but it was worth it.
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Gentle drama, beautifully acted
Loose-Cannon24 May 2006
Like some of the other 2006 comments I just watched this on BBC4. I had seen it when it was first shown, and again when it was shown with "Another Flip" (which will be on in a few days as I write this), but as far as I know I haven't seen it since. However, it made enough of an impression that I remembered most of the plot. I watched it with some trepidation; I was 18 in 1980 and I'm a lot more critical now than I was then.

However, I found myself still drawn in. It's hard to say why exactly; the plot is not that original and is anyway fairly simple. Also it was obviously made on a shoestring, anyone expecting a Hollywood scifi blockbuster will be sadly disappointed. In the end it's just very well-written and well-acted, at least by the principles, some of the minor characters are a bit less believable. And there are lots of small touches, if you listen carefully to the dialogue and watch the background.

I'm not ticking the spoiler box so I won't give the plot away, although this isn't really something for which spoilers are relevant, the pleasure is in the details. Suffice to say that it's basically a somewhat unusual love story, with a lot of humour and some science-fiction elements. As a film it would probably attract the "chick flick" label, but I'm a man and I still like it :)

I've given it 8/10 only because, in the end, there isn't that much depth to it, but on its own terms it would rate 10/10.
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Haunting - well worth the wait
Terry-30320 May 2006
I've waited 20 years to watch this again. I couldn't remember the title, or details of the plot.. Something about a time-traveller, an enchanting setting and an important philosophical story. I was about 10 at the time and I only remembered that it (and it's sequel shown a couple of years later) had a great effect on me as a child. I dreamed about it for years and would smile in fond remembrance.

Fast forward 20 years and watching it again on BBC4, I was at first disappointed because it had aged so badly, I thought. But eventually this charming story of a man chasing his goals, fighting authority and finding love reminded me exactly why I fell in love with this play for today.

It's charm lies not in the sci-fi effects,(blue peter anyone?) but in a very effective, and beautiful acted story. Thank you BBC...
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30 years on
Simon Anthony11 August 2010
I helped make the first of these two splendid TV programs. I was a video tape operator/engineer on the pub / party scenes in part one. I had the chance to read the script before the recording. It read well and they acted it wonderfully. I am delighted that these programs survived the pillage of the VT library that killed so many other programs, but this one would still stand out as superlative even if all the rest made it to the 21st century.

I watched it just now on an 'old' digital PVR and online (for part 2). The machine I recorded it on from the studio at the BBC shares none of that technology. We have come further in these 30 years in many technical and social areas than is shown in the future view of 2130 that we see in these flips and yet this double past somehow still feels alive and vibrant. If we can see and hear the past, it's still there. I would never have 'clean wiped' that tape.
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Excellent Sci-fi classic, great plot & decor. This should be re-released.
Keith McCoy1 November 2001
What an excellent BBC Screen Two - Play for Today production.

This should be re-released, I can still remember watching this program, which won great praise? Why it has not been re-released who knows? It should be.

There is a campaign to re-release this onto DVD.

Set in the year 2030, excellent play, with elements of time travel, UFO's, great decor.
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Historical researcher from the future lands in 1980's London
antog18 June 2005
I've just watched this play, on DVD, for the first time in over twenty years. I enjoyed it the first time round but expected it to be dated and a bit staid after so many years had passed. But I could not have been more wrong, for sure it is of its time but it is still as touching, funny and compelling as it was then. Often Sci Fi is more a mirror of the time that it was made than a projection of the future, just look at the original Star Trek and you can see a future looking very nineteen sixties. However The Domanick Hide plays manage to depict a future which is more than just an extension of the Eighties. The exception being a computer keyboard that looked as though it was taken from a Comodore C84 or similar, hardly surprising given the limited budget of these plays. What is surprising is that, limited budget or not, when Domanick is in his own time you feel that he really is in the future. Sorry no car chases, aliens, ray guns or violence just a just a really good story with some good music and a few laughs thrown in. Definitely worth the cover price
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A memorable play for today
geoff b9 August 1999
Quite agree with the comments posted, a very entertaining concept. Not so sure it would be dated now. Managed to record both episodes on the re-run but sadly misplaced the tape some years ago. Still makes me smile when someone bumps into live musicians in the pub - still waiting for holographic performers to be available!
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Charming exploration of a popular Sci-Fi theme
ella-4815 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I don't wish to go into great detail about this lovely piece, save to say that I loved it when it was first broadcast, and having seen it again recently, I find it no less delightful.

The "time traveller becomes his own ancestor" theme is a popular one in Sci-Fi - common, even - but few re-workings of the idea have the lightness of touch and simple charm you will find here. It's a joy.

To a modern viewer, a few things may seem anachronistic. In terms of sexual politics, its attitudes are a bit old-fashioned, even for 1980: both of the women in Dominick's life are essentially passive characters. Also, it suffers technically from the side-effects of low budget BBC drama production (some of the studio interior scenes have rather noticeable background noise: you can hear the cameras moving about). However, none of these factors is sufficiently serious to spoil one's enjoyment.

Finally, let me add a curious personal observation: given the other main theme of the piece (a man having to cope with juggling two simultaneous sexual relationships in different eras), I can't help feeling that "The Flipside" and its sequel "Another Flip For Dominick" must have been in some respect influential on the writers of the excellent British 1990s sitcom "Goodnight Sweetheart", in which a modern day TV repair man accidentally finds a doorway to the 1940s through which he can come and go at will, and ends up having to deal with the stresses of being married to two women, fifty years apart.
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Would make a great movie
waller221 May 2006
Marvellous piece of entertainment. It would make a great Hollywood movie with perhaps Jim Carey as Dominick? Any other suggestions? It is a well written piece which, although showing signs of age, still holds up as a feel good drama. Peter Firth is now an overweight ageing actor but then again are'nt we all! With some of the dross re makes on the go recently this would make an excellent rom com with a bit of sci fi thrown in; an excellent winning combination surely. It does seem a shame that in this age of crash bang wallop sci fi we do not make thoughtful pieces such as this any more. Play for Today was a great idea but unfortunately todays audience is not willing to invest 90 minutes in watching something that may or may not be good. Is there any way of suggesting movie re makes to Hollywood moguls or do we just have to live in hope?
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Don't make a film
ColinBaker5 June 2009
This was a delightful time travel play from 1980, beautifully played by the main actors, and including clever references, and even a sly note about attitudes to homosexuality.

One person mentioned about making this a film with Jim Carrey. I think that would be a dreadful mistake. For one thing, Peter Firth's Dominick is a bit odd in 1980, rather than the madcap zany character in many of Carrey's roles. Secondly, the whole production is understated, the only music being Beatles music played by a futuristic hologrammatic trio, and an undistinguished theme song.

Appropriately, this, together with its less successful follow up, Another Flip for Dominick, is definitely "of its time", and should be left alone, but the BBC should repeat both, and on a mainstream channel rather than BBC4, on which they were recently shown.
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Cool movie, Sci-Fi at it´s best.
podin21 April 2003
Just waiting for a release on DVD! Maybe with the sequel?! Let all Sci-Fi fans out there get the possibility to watch this good movie and us who seen it, the possibility to place it on a pedestal or in the bookshelf!
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lesleymwilliams16 May 2016
This (These) were brill. I remember taping (steampower) the second one before we went to my mother-in-laws!!!!!! Re-watching Spooks (another good series)reminded me of this/these.

'are there somewhere islands....' Really ought to be repeated. They were a bit more than Sci Fi.

I am going to try to track these down. One day I will go back to HEARNE Bay. Anyhow.....take my advice BOTH are well worth watching. Its even spookier now Hydes older!!!!! Again...not going to spoil the plot....but well worth watching. I also LOVED the song introducing the first one.
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Brilliant play reflecting lack of drama today
playvoxx9 April 2015
Ahead of its time. To many accountants at the BBC for a program like this to be made today which is VERY sad. What happened at the BBC for plays like this never to stumble on to TV which I can remember 30 years later??? WAKE UP BBC you are about to die with to many headless chickens charging you for useless advice! This play along with others could be uninteresting to some but also a play that would be remembered 20-30 years later in life!! The BBC never does plays like this on TV and it is much poorer for it. It captures the local environment at the time (which has now gone) but its story is timeless as regards to what people search for. I wish we had more drama like this rather than what the BBC sees as important today!
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Oh dear,this was dated even for 1980...
MrSqwubbsy21 August 2007
"Are there somewhere places...?" If you could get past the appalling (and relentlessly repeated) signature song by the deservedly obscure Meal Ticket, you'd be entering a place that truly had travelled in time. This timeslip drama unaccountably has 1980 stamped on the base. You remember 1980? Yep, it was nothing like the society depicted here, of vaguely-political, pint-glugging, chirpy Notting-Hillers. Ferchrissakes, setting it in Portobello says it all.The place was a living museum to the early '70s back then and has only recently dragged itself into the,ooh, early '90s. Dominic Hide's's naif rapidly loses his charm and his stoner persona combined with the look, attitudes and stylings of the supporting cast had me in mind of the early '70s, certainly not the hard-nosed era of Thatcher and 3 million unemployed! Truly just how irksome is Firth and how inexplicable that even 200 years hence such a hippy-dippy twerp could be charged with such an important task as travelling back in time (and potentially upsetting history). Once there he predictably starts messing around and his canoodling with Langrishe whilst happily spliced in his own time (without seemingly much in the way of moral dilemmas) might ring true when seen through the prism of those long-gone late '60s/early '70s mores (free-love, "if it feels good do it" etc) but it should have struck a dull note to a reasonably progressive 1980s audience and by 2007 seems utterly anachronistic. And this feller's from the 22nd century,remember! I'll let you into a secret here - I saw this on telly on its first repeat in the early 1980s and loved it. I was an incurable romantic back then and I guess that on rewatching it today,I was hoping to be swept back to happier times. But I found I just could not buy its sloppy idealism. To compound matters I began watching the 1982 sequel but at the point where the (male) babysitter entered the story, looking like the bloke from The Joy of Sex and with all the patchouli-scented charm of Sher's History Man, nausea overcame me and then when an even sillier time-traveller (Pyrus Bonnington) began flirting with the Spanish au-pair, Alice was duly summoned with the sick-bag. Just how has this tripe acquired the status of a classic?? Or am I simply an old curmudgeon?
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Plot summary
Mark-11516 March 1999
A young man from the future arrives by flying saucer in 1980s London, and finds it an interesting experience. This is enjoyable and interesting drama, rather than mainstream science fiction.
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