‘TravelWise’ (VHS)

‘TRAVELWISE’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Be Wise To Travel

I love ‘TravelWise’! 🙂

I found this to be a great video drama, featuring Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Nicholas Courtney and Peter Miles! ‘TravelWise’ is a four-part educational video drama, which was released in 2000 by Take1 Productions. Released only on VHS, it was written and directed by Mark J. Thompson.

Mark J. Thompson wrote, produced and directed the ‘Soldiers of Love’ audio series. He’s also directed the first season of ‘Companion Chronicles’ in ‘Doctor Who’ for Big Finish. I found this video by chance via Amazon’s USA site, since there was a limited supply of ‘TravelWise’ VHSs being sold there.

Sadly, the drama was never released on DVD, which is annoying. I wanted to see ‘TravelWise’, but you could only see it on a US video player, as the copy I purchased was on an NTSC VHS. I was able to see ‘TravelWise’ as a production once my NTSC VHS was converted into a DVD for private viewing. 🙂

I wanted to see this video drama, since it has a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stars I’ve met at conventions in it. The cast includes ‘Doctor Who’ stars like Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Nicholas Courtney, Colin Baker and Peter Miles. I was so amazed to see Anna Karen (from ‘On The Buses’) in this video drama.

I’ve had my VHS cover of ‘TravelWise’ signed by Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker and Peter Miles at conventions. Sarah can’t remember being in ‘TravelWise’. It seems to be deleted from her memory. 😀 Nicola seems to recall ‘TravelWise’, Colin vaguely recalls it and Peter doesn’t recall it at all. 😀

‘TravelWise’ is a soap-opera style of video drama aimed for school audiences at Key Stages 2 and 3 back in 2000. It was produced for the Essex County Council and it was to be viewed in the school classroom, where pupils would discuss how to use transport wisely and to protect the environment.

It was surprising that I found this VHS sold on the US Amazon site, as this was made for the Essex County Council. I found out that the project never got used in the end for the Essex County Council, which is odd. What were the circumstances of the Essex County Council not using this project?

It was very nice to see Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Peter Miles and Nick Courtney from ‘Doctor Who’ in this educational video drama. It was very refreshing to see them in a soap-style drama compared to traditional sci-fi in ‘Doctor Who’ and they deliver lovely and superb performances here.

As with soap operas, there are families featured in this video drama. There’s Nicola Bryant as Laura, who has two young children named Jamie and Zoe (I wonder where those names came from! 😀 ) and she’s married to Bryan Lawrence as Paul. Anna Karen is Paul’s mother named Pam in the drama.

There’s Sarah Sutton as Sharon, who’s divorced and she has two children named Katie and Shaun. Nicholas Courtney is Alistair, Sharon’s father, who lives with his daughter and his grandchildren at their house. It was a lovely to see Sarah Sutton and Nick Courtney working together in this drama. 🙂

I’ve chatted to Sarah about ‘TravelWise’ at conventions in Sheffield, Eastleigh in Hampshire, and Bournemouth. I’m surprised Sarah doesn’t remember this drama, as she has a big part to play in it. She seems to remember Anna Karen though. Sarah was surprised that Colin Baker was in this drama. 😀

Sarah is excellent as Sharon in ‘TravelWise’. It was interesting to see Sarah in a new light as a divorced mother, which is quite different compared to her as Nyssa in ‘Doctor Who’. Sarah has some nice scenes with her children as well as Nick Courtney as her dad, which was so refreshing to watch.

The cliffhangers for this drama are pretty good to watch. Sarah Sutton as Sharon gets to have her own cliffhanger in ‘Episode 2’. It’d be great to see Sarah return to acting in something like ‘EastEnders’. Bonnie Langford has been in ‘EastEnders’. I’d like the same thing to happen for Sarah. 🙂

I’m glad I saw Nicola Bryant at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015 and chatted to her about ‘TravelWise’, as she surprisingly remembers it. She recalls lounging about and having sandwiches whilst making this drama. She also recalls working with Bryan Lawrence and Anna Karen.

Nicola is great as Laura in ‘TravelWise’. Laura is a snooty sort of mother who insists on driving her kids to school. She doesn’t like taking the bus and is a bit of a snob at times. But she has some nice moments when she’s being kind. Nicola balances the comedy and drama well when playing Laura.

Nicholas Courtney is fantastic as Alistair in ‘TravelWise’. I wish I could meet Nick at conventions and tell him how much I’ve enjoyed him in ‘TravelWise’. I’m glad I’ve been able to see Nick Courtney in another non-‘Doctor Who’-related drama, as he’s not with us anymore, having passed away in 2011.

Nick is very funny and charming as Alistair, especially when being Sarah Sutton/Sharon’s dad in this. Alistair is reluctant to sell his car when he and his family are cutting back on finances in using transport. He soon meets Marcia Ashton as Angela and forms a semi-romantic relationship with her.

I also saw Colin Baker in Bournemouth in 2015 and chatted to him about ‘TravelWise’. Like Sarah, Colin at first couldn’t remember being in this video drama either. Slowly it came back to him as we chatted. Colin delivers a good performance in ‘TravelWise’, since he’s funny and even mocks himself.

Colin plays Jonathan Pike, a manager at a business Paul (Nicola Bryant/Laura’s husband) works for. Jonathan takes no exercise. He lets himself go with too much food and he gets heart attacks. Colin appears in ‘Episodes 2 and 3’ of this story and dies tragically. I found it very shocking when I saw this.

Peter Miles plays Mr. Reise, an environmental activist in the neighbourhood where Sharon, Laura and Alistair live. I liked Peter Miles in this. He delivers an interesting and funny performance as Mr. Reise. It was so interesting to see Peter Miles as a good guy compared to being ‘Doctor Who’ villains.

Mr. Reise is the man to look to for help when being concerned about the environment, such as saving money on using transport and how to cycle safely into town. Mr. Reise has homemade recipes such as ‘raspberry and chocolate tea’, which was funny, as people reluctantly tried them out.

Anna Karen is Pam, Paul’s mum and Laura’s mother-in-law. I was very surprised to see Anna Karen in this video drama. She looks different from doing ‘On The Buses’, but it was nice to see her. She still sounds the same from when she played Olive in ‘On The Buses’ and is funny to watch throughout. 😀

It was funny to see Nicola Bryant as Laura not getting on well with Anna Karen as Pam. Pam is the mother-in-law from hell for Laura, since she stays with her and her family whilst her flat is being repaired. Pam gets on Laura’s nerves, since she disapproves of her, despite loving her grandchildren.

Judith Jacob (of ‘EastEnders’ fame) plays Marina, Laura’s friend. Marina moves into Laura’s neighbourhood with her daughter Antonia. It was very intriguing to see the conditions of living in a town compared to living in a suburban neighbourhood being depicted in the educational video drama.

The cast of kids in this video drama include Adam Webb as Jamie and Ruby O’Bryne as Zoe who are with Laura, Paul and Pam. There’s Carey Crankson as Shaun and Kylie Williams as Katie who are with Sharon and Alistair. And there’s Tonatha Davis-Belgrave as Antonia, who’s with Marina in the drama.

This four-part video drama ends on a shocking cliff-hanger. This was deliberate, as pupils in the school classroom were meant to discuss what happened next and come up with their own ‘Episode 5’. This annoys me, as there isn’t an ‘Episode 5’ to resolve what happened and it feels anti-climactic.

‘TravelWise’ has been fantastic to watch! I’m lucky to have seen it with Sarah Sutton, Nicholas Courtney, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker and Peter Miles. I wish ‘TravelWise’ had its own DVD release for ‘Doctor Who’ fans to enjoy. It’s been very interesting and refreshing to watch this soap-styled drama.

As of 2022, I’m glad ‘TravelWise’ is available to watch on YouTube, thanks to Critical Penguin. I’m glad that people can check out this video drama on YouTube, so that they can see Sarah Sutton, Nick Courtney, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker and Peter Miles appearing in something other than ‘Doctor Who’.

‘TravelWise’ rating – 9/10


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2 thoughts on “‘TravelWise’ (VHS)

  1. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I enjoyed checking out ‘Travelwise’. It was surreal to watch Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Nicholas Courtney and Peter Miles in it. A shame Anna Karen passed away recently. The characters were great in the drama. I though Angela was a bit rude at first, but I felt she got better and seemed nice as the drama progressed. Mr. Reise was one of my favourite characters, and I laughed when he poured Paul another cup of tea after he threw his away.

    The drama was quite dark at points, especially with Jonathan Pike dying, offscreen anyway, and the cliff-hanger at the end of part 4. Maybe you should write a part 5 since that was the original VHS’s intention. It is weird to know that the drama was actually never used in the end.

    It’s funny to hear that Nicola Bryant recalls lounging around and eating sandwiches whilst making ‘Travelwise’. I’d probably have done the same. 😀

    P.s. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my ‘Shada’ review.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92.

      Glad you enjoyed ‘TravelWise’. I’m very pleased it’s available on YouTube for people to see. It’s always a pleasure to see Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Nicholas Courtney and Peter Miles in it. Yeah, it’s a shame about Anna Karen. I always enjoy seeing her in ‘TravelWise’ as well as ‘On the Buses’. 🙂 Yeah it’s good that Angela became a nicer character as the story progressed. I’m pleased Mr. Reise is one of your favourite characters in the story. It was funny when he poured another cup of tea for Paul. 😀

      Yeah I suppose it was a bit dark that Jonathan Pike died in the story, but Colin Baker delivers a great performance as the character and he’s so funny throughout. Yeah, the cliffhanger ending in ‘Episode 4’ was a shock and quite disappointing. We never knew what happened and why the police came. Was Paul injured? Did Katie have an accident? Was Shaun run over? Hmm. Me write ‘Episode 5’. I suppose I could. I’m not sure how I would follow it up in a satisfactory manner as well as write in line with the educational values the drama had.

      I’m amazed Nicola could remember the making of ‘TravelWise’ whereas Sarah, Colin and Peter couldn’t. I suppose because ‘TravelWise’ didn’t have much coverage back then; it was an educational project for the Essex County Council; and the fact that the project never got used, it doesn’t/didn’t stick in their memories for long enough. I hope to tell Sarah that ‘TravelWise’ is now on YouTube when I see her next time in Newcastle.

      Many thanks for your comments. Off to check out your ‘Shada’ review. 🙂

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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