Please feel free to comment on my review.
Be Wise To Travel
I love ‘TravelWise’! It’s great with Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Nicholas Courtney and Peter Miles in it!
‘TravelWise’ is a four-part educational drama that was released in 2000 by Take1 Productions. It was released on VHS and was written and directed by Mark J. Thompson who produced the ‘Soldiers of Love’ CD series and directed the first season of ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Chronicles for Big Finish.
I found this video by chance on the US version of Amazon, as there is a limited supply of these VHSs of ‘TravelWise’ being sold. Sadly this drama never got released on DVD which is annoying. I really wanted to see this, but you can only see it if you have an American video player as it is an NTSC VHS.
Fortunately I was able to see ‘TravelWise’ when I got it converted from VHS to DVD for private viewing. I wanted to see this drama, as it features a number of stars who I’ve met from ‘Doctor Who’.
The cast features stars from ‘Doctor Who’ including Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Nicholas Courtney, Colin Baker and Peter Miles. I was surprised to see Anna Karen (from ‘On The Buses’) in this drama.
I’ve had the VHS cover of ‘TravelWise’ signed by Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker and Peter Miles who I’ve met at conventions. Sarah can’t remember doing ‘TravelWise’, as it was 15 years ago and it has been deleted from her memory. Nicola seems to remember it; Colin vaguely remembers it and Peter doesn’t recall it at all when I chatted to them.
‘TravelWise’ is a soap-opera style of drama that was aimed for school audiences at Key Stages 2 and 3 back in 2000. It was produced for the Essex County Council and was to be viewed in the school classroom where pupils discuss on 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 for the Essex County Council in the end, which is odd.
It was very nice to see Sarah, Nicola, Colin, Peter Miles and Nick Courtney from ‘Doctor Who’ in this video drama. It was refreshing to see them in a soap-style drama and they give lovely and superb performances.
As with soap operas, there are families in this drama. There’s Nicola Bryant as Laura, who has two children named Jamie and Zoe (guess where that’s from?) and is married to Bryan Lawrence as Paul.
There’s also Sarah Sutton as Sharon, who’s divorced and has two children named Katie and Shaun. Nicholas Courtney plays Alistair, Sharon’s father, who lives with his daughter and his grandchildren at their house.
I was able to chat to Sarah about ‘TravelWise’ at conventions in Sheffield; Eastleigh, Hampshire and Bournemouth. I’m surprised Sarah has no memory of this drama, since she has a big part to play in it. Sarah does seem to remember Anna Karen and was surprised to find 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, that’s quite different compared to her as Nyssa in ‘Doctor Who’. Sarah has some nice scenes with Nick Courtney as her dad and her children, which was very refreshing and great to watch.
The cliff-hangers are pretty good and Sarah gets to have her own cliff-hanger in ‘Episode 2’. It would be great to see Sarah return to acting in ‘Eastenders’ like Bonnie Langford has done, which I hope will happen. 😀
I’m pleased I got to meet Nicola at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015 and chat to her about ‘TravelWise’, which she surprisingly does remember. She remembers lounging about and having sandwiches during the making of this drama and she remembers working with Bryan Lawrence and Anna Karen.
Nicola is great as Laura in ‘TravelWise’. Laura is a snooty sort of mum who insists on driving her kids to school; doesn’t like taking the bus and is a little bit of a snob at times. But she has some nice moments when she’s being kind. Nicola balances the comedy and drama superbly as Laura in this.
Nicholas Courtney is fantastic as Alistair in ‘TravelWise’. I wish I could meet Nick at conventions and tell him how much I’ve enjoyed watching him in ‘TravelWise’. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to see Nick in another non-‘Doctor Who’ related drama, since he’s no longer with us and passed away in 2011.
Nick is really funny and charming as Alistair, who is Sarah Sutton’s (Sharon’s) dad in this drama. Alistair is reluctant to sell his car when he and his family cut back on finances whilst using transport. He meets and forms a semi-romantic relationship with a kind woman, Marcia Ashton as Angela.
I also got to meet Colin Baker in Bournemouth and chat to him about ‘TravelWise’. At first, it seemed Colin couldn’t remember doing this drama like Sarah seemed to either. But it slowly started to come back to him. Colin delivers a very good performance in this drama, as he’s funny and mocks himself.
Colin plays Jonathan Pike, a manager at a business that Paul (Nicola Bryant as Laura’s husband) works for. Jonathan takes no exercise and lets himself go with too much food and gets heart attacks. Colin appears in ‘Episodes 2 and 3’ and dies very tragically, which was a shock for me when I saw this.
Peter Miles plays Mr Reise, an environmental activist in the neighbourhood where Sharon, Laura and Alistair live. I liked Peter in this, as he delivers an interesting and funny performance as Mr Reise. It was very interesting to see Peter Miles as a good guy compared to the villains he played in ‘Doctor Who’.
Mr Reise is the man you can look to for help when 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 to watch when people reluctantly try them out.
Anna Karen plays Pam, Paul’s mum and Laura’s mother-in-law. I was surprised to see Anna Karen in this drama. She looks different since doing ‘On The Buses’, but it was nice to see her. She still sounds the same as she was when playing Olive in ‘On The Buses’ and is funny to watch throughout.
It was funny to see Nicola Bryant as Laura not getting on with Anna Karen as Pam. Pam is the mother-in-law from hell for Laura, as she stays with her and her family whilst her flat gets repaired. Pam gets on Laura’s nerves as she disapproves of her, despite loving her children as a grandmother.
This four-part drama ends on a shocking cliff-hanger. This was deliberate as pupils in the school classroom were to discuss what happens next and come up with their own ‘Episode 5’. This annoyed me as it made the story anti-climactic and there wasn’t an ‘Episode 5’ to resolve the story in the end.
‘TravelWise’ has been fantastic to watch. I’m very lucky to have seen this with Sarah Sutton, Nicholas Courtney, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker and Peter Miles in it. I wish ‘TravelWise’ got its own DVD release for ‘Doctor Who’ fans to enjoy, as it’s interesting and refreshing to watch. It’s great to see the stars from ‘Doctor Who’ in a soap-style drama.
It would be nice for people to watch this drama today and see Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker, Peter Miles and Nick Courtney in it. I’m surprised this hasn’t been re-released for DVD since the recent revival of ‘Doctor Who’.
There is an excerpt of ‘TravelWise’ to watch on the MJTV website, if you’re interested.
‘TravelWise’ rating – 9/10
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