The Tomorrow People: CW remake cult British 1970s sci-fi series

Posted Nov 14, 2012 by Mathew Wace Peck
The people behind Arrow and The Vampire Diaries are to remake the British cult seventies science-fiction drama series, The Tomorrow People.
The Tomorrow People: A Rift in Time DVD cover
The Tomorrow People: A Rift in Time DVD cover
Greg Berlanti and Julie Plec will act as executive producers on the show, which will be written by Phil Klemmer (Chuck).
According to Deadline, the pair “have been chasing the rights to The Tomorrow People for more than a decade, finally tracking them down to FremantleMedia, which rarely licenses its formats to other studios”.
However, Deadline claims, Freemantle were impressed by “ [them and their] passion for the project [making] an exception”. Deadline says that Freemantle will act in a co-producing capacity on the show.
The Tomorrow People was originally created by Roger Price in the early 1970s for Thames Television, as ITV’s response to Doctor Who, the BBC science-fiction drama series. It launched in 1973, during Doctor Who’s tenth anniversary year.
Predating the ideas in Alphas – the Syfy science-fiction drama series starring David Strathairn as Dr Lee Rosen – The Tomorrow People features evolved human beings – or Homo superior – who have special psychic powers, use advanced “biotronic” (biological) technology, and can teleport (or “jaunt” in TP-speak). The rest of humankind were referred to by the Tomorrow People (or “TPs”) as “Saps”, as in “Homo sapiens”.
Pretty humans
The term “Homo superior” was developed during a conversation between Price and David Bowie. Bowie wrote the term into his song “Oh! You Pretty Things”: “Let me make it plain. You gotta make way for the Homo superior.”
Throughout the stories, the TPs would always be on the lookout for new TPs “breaking out”, helping them through the difficult process. They are connected to the so-called Galactic Federation, which oversees the welfare of telepathic species throughout the galaxy.
At the series start, existing TPs John (their leader), Carol (Sammie Winmill), and Kenny (Stephen Salmon) help Stephen (Peter Vaughan-Clarke), a schoolboy just starting to “break out”. Their base – known as “the lab” – is a disused station in the London Underground that includes their biotronic computer TIM, voiced by Philip Gilbert.
The make-up of the Tomorrow People team changed during its six-year run – though the characters played by Young and Gilbert remained throughout. Other TPs included Elizabeth (Elizabeth Adare), Mike (Mike Holloway), Tyso (Dean Lawrence), Hsui Tai (Misako Koba), Andrew (Nigel Rhodes).
The Tomorrow People was re-imagined in 1992 – now featuring Adam (Kristian Schmid), Megabyte (Christian Tessier), Kevin (Adam Pearce), Lisa (Kristen Ariza), Ami (Naomie Harris) and Jade (Alexandra Milman). Prior to this update, Schmid played ToddLanders in the long-running Australian soap opera, Neighbours. Harris, meanwhile, can currently be seen playing Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall, the latest Jame Bond movie starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Medes.
However, and despite being produced by Price, this update was not as successful, fans complaining that it bore little resemblance to the original Tomorrow People concept.
Tomorrow's finish
A third incarnation of the show was realized in by Big Finish in the early 2000s – this time as an audio-only series but, crucially, returning to the show’s roots. As well as the creation of new characters, Elena and Paul – played by Helen Goldwyn and Daniel Wilson, respectively – John and Tim returned, once again played by Nicholas Young and Philip Gilbert. Trevor Littledale later took over the voice of TIM following Gilbert’s death. Other former cast members made return appearances, too, notably Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Stephen), Elizabeth Adare (Elizabeth) and Mike Holoway (Mike).
Many of the writers of the audio series are well known to Doctor Who universe, including Gary Russell (The Sarah Jane Adventures), Joseph Lidster (Torchwood) and Gareth Roberts (Doctor Who).
Team Tomorrow
Berlanti is the co-creator of The CW’s action-adventure TV series Arrow, which premiered on the channel last month. Arrow stars Stephen Amell (Dante’s Cove) in the titular role, Katie Cassidy (daughter of The Partridge Family star, David Cassidy) and Doctor Who/Torchwood regular John Barrowman.
Plec, meanwhile, is an executive producer and head writer of the channel’s supernatural drama series, The Vampire Diaries, which has been running since 2009.
The CW launched in 2006. It is a joint venture between CBS and Warner Bros., deriving its name from the initial initials of those two organisations.
Other fantasy/science-fiction dramas broadcast by the station include the long-running series Supernatural, Nikita – which began in 2010 – and the 2012 update of Beauty and the Beast.