‘The Time of the Ice Box’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Ice Box with Liz and Simon

The second story of the ‘Timeslip’ series is ‘The Time of the Ice Box’! It’s a six-part story by Bruce Stewart and was directed by Peter Jefferies. Like ‘The Wrong End of Time’, I found this compelling. 🙂

Something I forgot to mention was that the first two stories of the ‘Timeslip’ TV series are introduced by Peter Fairley. He gives viewers scientific expertise as well as an overview of the series.

Another interesting fact to mention is whilst the first five episodes of the Ice Box story are in black-and-white; ‘Episode Six’ is in colour. That makes it the only episode of the TV series to exist in colour.

In the second story of the series, we continue where we left off at the end of ‘The Wrong End of Time’ where Liz and Simon found themselves in an icy wilderness. It happens to be Antarctica, 1990.

This was an interesting direction to have the next story of the ‘Timeslip’ series set in the future as opposed to having it in the past for the first story. If only ‘The Time Tunnel’ series took the initiative.

Cheryl Burfield as Liz and Spencer Banks as Simon get rescued from the ice outside and are brought into a research base called the Ice Box. It’s also the International Institute for Biological Research. 😀

The head of the Ice Box is John Barron as Morgan C. Devereaux. I was pleased to see John Barron in this ‘Timeslip’ story, having seen him play the Dean in the BBC sitcom TV series ‘All Gas and Gaiters’.

He’s also appeared in some radio episodes of ‘Dad’s Army’. I enjoyed his performance as Devereaux in this story. Even when he does go over-the-top in a villainous fashion, I still found him entertaining.

Liz and Simon are in the Ice Box for ‘Episode One’ before they manage to make a return to 1970 in ‘Episode Two’. They’re reunited with Liz’s parents as well as Denis Quilley as Commander Traynor. 🙂

Traynor is intrigued to learn of Devereaux’s presence in the future, having been a student of Devereaux once and he believed he had died in 1969. He persuades Simon and Liz to return to 1990.

This is where we get to see Traynor being manipulative in using the kids to time-travel to the future to get more knowledge. This is because Traynor’s fascinated by a drug that can provide longer life. 😐

Liz has her own reasons for wanting to go back to the Ice Box in 1990. Before she left, she encountered her mother, Iris Russell as Jean. She’s curious about why her mummy ended up here. 😐

As well as meeting her mum in the future, Liz also meets her future self, Mary Preston as Beth, who happens to be a cold, emotionless scientist. Beth clearly despises meeting her past self in Liz in 1990.

Liz also hates Beth as she can’t believe she’d end up being like her. I wondered whether Beth wasn’t really a future version of Liz but an imposter, as she’s very different from Liz. But that is not the case.

The story also features Peggy Thorpe-Bates as Dr. Edith Joynton, John Barcroff as Dr. Bukov and Robert Oates as Larry. Most of the Ice Box crew are quite friendly when Liz and Simon meet them. 🙂

I also like how the interaction between Simon and Liz is developing. They still quarrel with each other and there’s tension between them, but I’d like to think the two are really fond of each other. 🙂

Simon does come across as a more practical and thorough-thinking person whereas Liz is rather emotional and reactionary to things. It’ll be interesting to see how their friendship develops later on.

Liz also discovers her father Derek Benfield as Frank Skinner in the future when he’s been buried under the ice for ten years as part of an experiment. The revelations of Liz’s future are so disturbing.

The way ‘future 1990’ gets presented is intriguing, especially with fantasy rooms and people dressed up in boiler suits. Director Devereaux is also determined to never be wrong. He relies on a computer.

In the end, when Devereaux’s efforts go too far, the computer fails and people have to use the anti-freeze to survive. As Liz and Simon leave 1990, they discover Devereaux’s frozen body within the ice!

It’s quite surprising the story ends on that note and we don’t see our heroes go through the ‘time barrier’ for the next adventure. Overall, ‘The Time of the Ice Box’ has been a gripping story to watch.

The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 2 of the ‘Timeslip’ DVD box set; there are PDFs of the only production material known to exist, which includes scripts and production documents.

‘The Time of the Ice Box’ rating – 8/10

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