Monday, 9 May 2011

The Tomorrow People: Hitler's Last Secret

As requested by Vic Mars and Piper Gates, here's some stills from 'Hitler's Last Secret', a 1977 story from 'The Tomorrow People', which reveal what I always suspected as a child: that Hitler was actually Nibor from the planet Vashir, a galactic shape changing psychopath.

Once again, the premise is interesting enough: apart from the old Hitler being a alien and all that, there's a group of perenially teenage Nazis in a bunker charged with protecting their Fuhrer's cryogenically frozen body, a youth cult of SS uniforms and attitudes (the 'Horst Wessel' song is in the charts!) and a British public genetically modified and pre-programmed to accept the return of Hitler forty years after his supposed death at the end of World War Two. The trouble is that all this good stuff is thrown away in a two part story utterly devoid of tension and full of the most terrible acting.

Mike Holloway is often singled out for criticism, and he is pretty unconvincing, but he's only a boy. Michael Sheard is a professionally trained actor of some experience and he's a lot worse. His Hitler is an utterly preposterous creation, a panto villain. We all know that Adolf was a passionate and animated orator, for instance, and that he used big, plain gestures and held stylised poses for effect, but did he ever really do an Oliver Hardy 'hmm' at the end of a big speech? No. No, he didn't. Because that would be stupid.

& yes, that is Rodney Trotter behind the camera. What a show it was!


  1. The idea of people being genetically programmed to support a dictator's a good one, the idea of Hitler being an alien is pretty dodgy, especially as he's treated as a standard cartoon enemy of the week. There's a thoroughly cringe-inducing bit at the end where John says something like 'Well, he won't be getting up to any more mischief' - a gobsmackingly inappropriate way of addressing the horrors of the Third Reich!

  2. See what you mean by the Oliver Hardy 'hmm' I like the bit when he says
    "there is a whole Uniiiiiiiiverse to conquer"

  3. "I'm going ahh'. Just ahhh'!"

    I must thank you for posting 'The Living Skins' the other day, U-W, as it spurred me on to getting this set, and I'm so glad I did. No irony at all, I love the combination of mad, ambitious ideas and dodgy acting, dialogue and effects. It's like watching a play written by nippers, performed by adults, using sets and props built by nippers. The extreme use of stock footage is also great. Turns it into a mad collage.

    I've watched series 2 and 3 before, and the biggest difference, over and above the sets, is their eating & drinking habits. They constantly had somethign going into their gobs, didn't they?

  4. The melting face scene terrified me. Still does.

  5. Awesome, in a week thats seen the passing of Pa Piper Gates this has cheered me up enormously. I can't overstate the genius of the commentaries on The Tomorrow People dvds. Also a big up for the Mud posts, their psychedelic singles are the equivalent of Mike Holloways awful acting: so bad they're good!

  6. Very sorry to hear that, Ian, glad to have helped in some small way. I'll have to look into the mind expanding work of Mud, it's passed me by so far and that can't be right!

  7. I think Michael Sheard must have played Hitler (and various assorted Nazi's) more times than any other actor. But as Mr Bronson in Grange Hill he really sent a shiver up my spine!