Waxing Nostalgic: British Science Fiction TV for Kids

  I’ve been thinking recently about my introduction to science fiction. There were some books I           remember but, for the most part, British television served as my gateway to the wonderful world  of science fiction novels, short stories and series.

One of the earliest I remember is The Tomorrow People (1973-1979). In this program a bunch of  kids has evolved to the next stage of human evolution, including telepathic powers and the ability  to teleport. I was hooked. And I still wish I had the power to “jaunt.”

Another one (that scared the crap out of me, incidentally) was The Changes (1975). In this one the  whole world has gone nuts and destroyed all technology, launching them back into a pre-industrial society. A young girl wanders through this post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for her parents and trying to figure out what has happened. *shudder* It was great!

Sapphire and Steele (1979-1982) was another one. A pair of beautiful and mysterious inter-dimensional agents tries to heal ruptures in the fabric of Time. It was atmospheric, creepy and totally confusing. I loved it, but never really did figure out what was going on.

Blake’s 7 (1978-1981) remains a huge influence on me to this day. In this series a bunch of political exiles and criminals capture a glorious spaceship and throw themselves into revolt against the evil Terran Federation.  I still watch this series from time to time. Big love!

And during this whole time, of course, Dr Who (1963-1989) continued its phenomenal run. “My” doctors were Pertwee and Baker.  I can still hum the theme song and intone “we will exterminate you” in a Dalek voice. My kids don’t get it, but they’ve accepted the fact that mommy is weird.

These shows are the reason I delved into science fiction reading. They were a terrific introduction, despite the cardboard sets and laughable special effects that were part and parcel of  British television in those days. What about you? Any particular TV shows that fed your appetite? I haven’t even mentioned the American shows that were shown on British TV.  I’ll keep them for another post!

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11 comments

  1. I love British TV, but most of hese are new to me. I’ll have to look them up. Thanks for sharing these!

    1. Prepare yourself for really bad special effects. And I mean, REALLY bad.

  2. Dave · · Reply

    I’ve watched every show you mentioned. Talk about a trip down memory lane. Doctor Who is my favourite. Tom Baker was my Doctor too. I loved Sapphire and Steel andd in fact I have the complete series on dvd.

    1. Were you as confused as I was? It doesn’t really matter that I didn’t understand most of what was going on. I still couldn’t stop watching.

  3. I must admit, I don’t know a lot of these either, but Tom Baker as Doctor Who was highly influential for me as a kid. And I have a Dalek voice on my GPS… it’s always threatening to exterminate me 🙂

    1. Those dang Daleks are everywhere *grin*

  4. I know I watched Dr Who as a kid because my dad did, but I sadly didn’t get into it. I did, however, get into his SF bookshelf, so all was not lost!
    I haven’t watched any of the others. My SF shows as a kid ran towards the Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman. Good times!

    1. I watched all of those too!

  5. Isn’t Space1999 British as well? I lived in France and Italy, so all I got from the aforementioned series is Tom Baker’s DrWho and Sapphire&Steel… But I saw Space 1999 in both Italian and French (and English when I bought one DVD in the new millennium, haha!)…

    1. Yes, it was British, but had American actors. That confused me as a kid. It felt American in style to me more than quirky Brit TV. Good show, though!

  6. […] Waxing Nostalgic: British Science Fiction TV for Kids […]

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