- ...in 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.
…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
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.
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
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…
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…
"Egypt" (Issues 1.14
The time barrier takes the two children back to
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.
here for sample pages from the final installment.
(NB – Titles are the author's own as
no story titles were given in "Look-in".)
OTHER "LOOK-IN" APPEARANCES…
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.
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.
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!)
to see issue 2.11 artwork by Mike Noble
(With thanks to Shaqui for his input)
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