Nov 19, 2016

The Tomorrow People

During the "British invasion" of the 1970s, I got a taste of British science fiction on PBS: Doctor Who, The Tripods, Timeslip, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Space: 1999, UFO, and The Prisoner.  One of my favorites was The Tomorrow People (1973-79), about children who are different.  Like the X-Men in comics, they are the next stage of human evolution, with telekinetic, teleportation, and telepathic powers (which allows them to communicate with aliens from all over the galaxy).  They work out of the Lab, in an abandoned London underground station, where they hide from the baddies who want to hurt them, fight various threats, and keep a watch for other Tomorrow People who are "breaking out" (recognizing their identity).

The gay symbolism is obvious: children realize that they are different, but must keep their identity a secret.

During Season One (1973-74), the three main Tomorrow People were Kenny (15-year old Stephen Salmon), John (24-year old Nicholas Young, left), and Carol (Sammie Winmill). But then Stephen (16-year old Peter Vaughan-Clarke, right) "broke out" and quickly became the central character.  He established a strong bond with John.

Stephen and John remained paired through Season Four (1975-76), as other Tomorrow People came and went with the frequency of Doctor Who's mortal companions.

There were also lots of other kinds of "different" kids.  Robert (Jason Kemp), for instance, belonged to the alien Denagelee race, who hatch from eggs, releasing enormous energy (last time they hatched, the Roman Empire fell).

15-year old Mike Holoway (right), well known in Britain as the drummer of the teen group Flintlock, joined the series in 1975, playing muscular rocker Mike.  His popularity led to the dismissal of Peter Vaughan-Clark; when Season Five began, Stephen was absent without explanation.

Mike frequently expressed heterosexual interest, but his constant shirtless, swimsuit, and underwear shots made up for it. He remained the central character until the series ended in 1979. (It was revived with new casts in 1992-95 and 2001-2007).

Mike Holoway is still a recording artist, and his numerous musical stage roles, such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Godspell, provide substantial beefcake.

The American version (1992-1995) starred Christian Tessier.


  1. John was a good deal older than Stephen. Was their bond romantic, or was it like father and son?

    1. My rule of thumb is: preteens can only have homoromantic bonds with other preteens. But teens can bond with either other teens or adults. It's not hard to determine whether the adult-teen pair are behaving like surrogate father and son or like permanent, exclusive, passionate partners.

    2. In the show, John is supposed to be 17yo (with Stephen being 14yo, I believe). So the characters ARE both teens when the show starts.

      My best friend and I rewatched these when we were about 12yo ourselves (I was 8yo when it first aired on our PBS station; turned her onto it when it returned), and we would take notice of the gay/lesbian vibes constantly on this show. Just vibes, tho. We believed it was more for the audience (break out/coming out). We took it to be very positive, quite frankly. (Early 80s)

  2. I never saw this show, but I know it was created by television producer Roger Price who also created 'You Can't Do That on Televion'. With all the homoerotic scenarios on YCDTOTV and what I'm seeing here, I'm beginning to think Price must have had some sort of latent fixation for sexualizing adolescent boys (and no, I'm not judging). I have this series on DVD (buried somewhere in a box), but I never got around to watching it. After seeing this post I'm thinking I should probably dig it out and try watching sometime.

  3. Looks like some substantial bulges. Can you get the series on DVD in the United States?

  4. if i remember correctly, the (current) 1st pic is from an episode that could be described as "planet of the (young) teenaged slaveboys in loincloths & bondage"; with enough butt-cheek shots to qualify as junior chippendale dancers... xD

    the episode even ends with a hottub scene, in a very small, shallow, obviously hacked together on set low-budget mini swimming pool.

    i liked roger price's stuff. brilliant guy. no idea abt his sexuality. his shows featured girls too. maybe he was/is(?) just sexual-revolution era uninhibited? btw; before he came to canada, he did a very short-lived brit variety show series (maybe 6 episodes) that is very much a proto-ycdtot(v).

    *errata* the link for "Christian Tessier" doesn't work (on my end anyway)

  5. Don't know about all this stuff, just know Stephen was my hero and ran home from school so wouldn't miss an episode


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