Lost Stories

[posted 8:00 am, 13 March 2015]

Brief notes on stories that don’t have commentaries because they were never made or have since been lost. This is the last in the present series. We might be back with something in the autumn, or we might not. In the meantime, no awful protest records please. I don’t care how strongly Justin Hayward or Sally Thomsett might feel about it.

The Volcano People

This story was cancelled during pre-production in early 1976, and the script has since been lost. The title suggests it was about some people who lived in or near a volcano. The production team is known to have been scouting for locations in the Peak District.

Jungle of Death

Sarah and Gemma appear in a flash on a mysterious planet covered by an exotic jungle. They get caught in the middle of a conflict between a military mission led by Steve Ledge and a maverick explorer played by Glyn Owen. Then everyone spends the rest of the story being attacked by invisible monsters. The cast was transferred to “Terror from the Deep” after a strike at the studios made it impossible to finish this story.

The Plague of Fear

This story was broadcast in 1976 but all episodes are now missing. If it could be summed up in two words, they would be “Quatermass” and “Experiment”. Alright, three words including “The” if you’re a pedant. Sarah and Gemma return to the Zarkulos IV base in the future and find it run by a Will Hay threesome: the old curmudgeonly one, the young naive one, and the exasperated middle one. They await the return of a space probe but can’t contact the crew. When it lands, they find three empty space suits, which start walking around and infecting people with a deadly fungus. In the end, Sarah uses her empathy to persuade the fungus to kill itself. David Maloney is generally believed to have made it look a lot better than it sounds.

Death at Dawn

Time Girls rode the crest of a wave with this very 1980s interpretation of the First World War. Where Blackadder Goes Forth exaggerated for comic effect, “Death at Dawn” made similar exaggerations with po-faced seriousness, falling flat on its face even before it was undermined by the appearance of a ridiculous mud monster.

Revenge of the Manturoids

Although this unmade script is missing, we know that it was to feature the “iconic” monsters returning to invade Slough. And to make matters worse, it was all to be shot on OB video.

Arcasia

Nobody knows what this story was going to be about, which has only encouraged fans to speculate. Writer Colin Smith was given the title and some criteria (all interior scenes, no monsters) by the script editor, but later admitted that he had writer’s block and had not even begun the first draft when production of the second series was cancelled. There have been several fan-made reconstructions, both animations and audio dramas, which have little in common other than not being very good. After her death, it was discovered that Mary Whitehouse had already written letters of complaint about this story, based on nothing more than a press release announcing the names of every story in the new series. As well as imagining that it would be too violent and frightening for children, she claimed that the title was a drug reference. It is said that on the internet, you are never more than four clicks away from a Time Girls fan asking, “when is the real Arcasia coming out?”.

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