‘The Year of the Burn Up’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Getting Hotter with Liz and Simon

The third story of the ‘Timeslip’ series is ‘The Year of the Burn Up’. This time, it’s an eight-part story by Bruce Stewart and Victor Pemberton. It had two directors for it – Ron Francis and Peter Jeffries. 🙂

Yeah, this is where it gets a bit confusing. You see, the first seven episodes of ‘The Year of the Burn Up’ are credited as being by Bruce Stewart whilst the last episode of the tale is by Victor Pemberton.

Many ‘Doctor Who’ fans will know Victor Pemberton for being ‘Doctor Who’s script editor during Season 5 with Patrick Troughton and he wrote ‘Fury From The Deep’. Victor did ‘Timeslip’ after that.

As I understand it, Bruce Stewart felt the pressure of other work which meant he couldn’t write any more ‘Timeslip’ episodes and had to move on. Victor Pemberton took over and wrote the final story.

He also wrote the ‘Episode Eight’ of ‘The Year of the Burn Up’ to act as a bridge into ‘The Day of the Clone’ next. Hence, why the story ends on a cliff-hanger with Liz kidnapped by Commander Traynor!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story begins with Cheryl Burfield as Liz and Spencer Banks as Simon returning to 1970 following the events of ‘The Time of the Ice Box’. Glad they got back safely!

Incidentally, Ron Francis directed ‘Episodes One and Eight’ of this story whilst Peter Jefferies directed ‘Episodes Two to Seven’. Despite having two directors, the story appears to be consistent. 🙂

When Simon meets up with Denis Quilley as Commander Traynor, he’s told not to enter the ‘time barrier’ again. Simon decides to go back into the time barrier to prevent the Ice Box future occurring.

Liz joins Simon and once again they arrive in 1990, but in an alternate future of it. There, they find England covered in a tropical rainforest, making the mistake believing they’re in Africa or something.

They meet Liz’s future self again – Mary Preston as Beth, but she’s not the cold scientist that Liz knew in the Ice Box. This Beth is friendlier as she opposes the technocracy of this alternate future. 🙂

She’s a hippy Earth mother you might say who lives in a primitive village with similar ‘misfits’. Simon also meets his future self who happens to be a technocrat – David Graham as Controller 2957. Wow!

David Graham is well-known for voicing the Daleks in the early 1960s stories of ‘Doctor Who’ and he has voiced Brains and Gordon Tracy in ‘Thunderbirds’. I enjoyed David Graham’s performance here.

It was interesting to see the interaction between young Simon and future Simon/2957 as well as young Liz and future Liz/Beth. Mostly, they are of equal minds rather than opposing each other here.

With that said, I don’t think this story is as exciting as the first two stories of the TV series. Eight episodes is stretching it compared to a six-parter. This story can’t match to how ‘The Invasion’ did it.

I like the idea of Liz and Simon being in a future where the Earth was on the brink of burning up. I just wish we could’ve seen the Earth burning up and our heroes being in jeopardy, like in ‘Inferno’. 😐

Simon and Liz also encounter an older Traynor who is behind the ‘master plan’ to reshape the world by burning it up. It seems clear here that Traynor has become a villain with his greed of the future. 😦

It was surreal to see Traynor looking older with white hair and a white beard. He also looks worse for wear. He also doesn’t realise that the clones of this future can easily be weakened by bright light. 😐

The story also has Ian Fairbairn as Alpha 4, one of the clones who suspects older Simon/2957. Ian’s done ‘Doctor Who’ stories like ‘The Macra Terror’, ‘The Invasion’, ‘Inferno’ and ‘The Seeds of Doom’.

I remember Ian Fairbairn fondly for playing Gregory in ‘The Invasion’. 😀 It was intriguing to see Liz and Simon’s friendship develop here since they grow from resenting each other to liking each other.

The story also showcases how Liz and Simon are different to each other, especially with Liz being ‘D-‘ graded whilst Simon is ‘A+’ graded. Despite their differences, the two teens are fond of each other. 🙂

At this point, I’m curious about where the series will go next and what will happen to Liz once she’s been kidnapped by Traynor. Will Simon be able to find Liz and save her? Will the future be saved? 😐

‘The Year of the Burn Up’ rating – 7/10

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