The Tomorrow People is about the next stage of human evolution, people (usually young people) who learn that they have special gifts including telepathy, telekinesis and the ability to transport themselves in the blink of an eye to where they want to go.
The series begins with a five part story where we meet Stephen Jameson, an ordinary boy, in a ordinary comprehensive school who, suddenly becomes very ill, and is besieged by voices that only he can hear and he is a bad way by all accounts and nobody seems to know, or to work out what is going on with him. This is calling “breaking out” and is what all new Tomorrow People have to go through.
In the middle of this there are three other Tomorrow People, who have become aware of, and are wanting to help Stephen, and there is also a man named Jedikiah, who seems to want to kidnap Stephen, so poor Stephen is wanted by two different sets of people one who want to help him, and the others who don’t want to help him so much as help themselves.
In the end Jedikiah turns out to be a shape changing robot who is working for an alien creature, the Cyclops, trapped on earth who needs telepaths to operate his ship, hence Jedikiah’s interest and his pursuing of Stephen and at the stories climax he goes a little bit mad and they have to eject him into hyperspace, which was really the only place for him to go, otherwise that would have been the series over and done with after five episodes if he hadn’t of been disposed of.
This first adventure introduces the concept of the Tomorrow People well enough and we have the three original Tomorrow People: John, Carol and Kenny, and learn about how people become Tomorrow People with Stephen, and it ain’t pretty at all and they don’t skirt around it either; it is quite brutal, but there is the upside of having special powers after it all.
John is apparently only 17 but that is hard to believe and not just because Nicholas Young was about 23 at the time but because the character just doesn’t strike you as that young.
Carol could be any age as it was never really mentioned but she, like John, is a much more mature character, and is there to help Stephen cope with his new life, as she is much more personable than John, who always seems to be a little aloof, and sometimes sees himself as superior to others, which he kinds of it, but not more so than the other Tomorrow People, which you do get the impression that he thinks he is, probably because he is the eldest.
The other Tomorrow Person is Kenny who is much younger than John and Carol and is even younger than Stephen. Kenny is just there really and get the odd line here and there but doesn’t really do a great deal and is pretty much in the way for the most of the story.
Jedikiah is played by Francis de Woolf who gives a suitable over the top performance. The two bikers who Jedikiah employs are Ginge and Lefty who, are rather comical characters, and not really that believable as bikers, as they don’t seem to be very threatening, even when they are trying to kidnap Stephen, so he doesn’t really seem to be in any danger.
Of course this is speaking as an adult watching this. If I was a child watching this then I would more than likely feel that Stephen was in real danger when Lefty and Ginge tried to kidnap him which is really who the show was aimed at.
It is maintained early on that the lab where they were based was in a disused tube station which was, both quite handy and also quite likely, as there were plenty of closed down tube stations in London.
We also find out that they are helped by a computer named Tim whom they can communicate with no matter where they are. John appears to have been the first Tomorrow Person to break out and he is most definitely the defacto leader of the team. It also appears to be John who built Tim, and kitted out the lab, but that seems unlikely that John would possess such knowledge as that consider he was, at least sometime, an ordinary person.
Stephen is the main audience identifier and does a decent enough job of it and at the time he certainly would have been the one I would have identified with; not Carol as she was a girl; not Kenny as he was a bit wet and not John either due to his tendancy to be a bit authoritarian which no kid likes.
Michael Standing and Derek Crewe as Ginge and Left are more comical than anything else, but do prove useful in the story as far as the plot goes, if nothing else.
If I were 10 years older than I am then I would have been the perfect age for this show and I think that I would have loved it and would have forgiven the often shoddy production values and some of the acting. But then again you have to take into consideration the time that this series was made and that the cast was mostly populated with child actors, some of whom are very and good and some of whom are not so good.
For all of that it is still enjoyable stuff, as the characters are engaging and the concepts are interesting, even if the story isn’t really long enough to cover the five parts of the running time, and every episode has at least a minute or two reprise much like Doctor Who of the day, and that the shows often looks like it has the budget of about 50 per episode.