Sunday teatime series aimed at children and no doubt inspired by the success of the previous year's Timeslip, Jamie was yet another variation on the time travel theme with, in this case, the hero being transported from era to era on a magic carpet.
Young Jamie Dodger (not to be confused with Jammie Dodgers), as played by Garry Miller, is an imaginative, intelligent and curious thirteen-year-old boy who lives in a remote village called Five-Mile Fork, so-called because it is five miles from nowhere. One day Jamie enters what might be described as an old curiosity shop, selling all sorts of bric-a-brac, and owned by the mysterious Mr Zed (Aubrey Morris). Whilst there Jamie discovers a carpet, which Mr Zed encourages him to buy as it is of no use to him. But the carpet has certain magical properties and allows Jamie to fly near and far through time itself.
Encouraged by Mr Zed, Jamie and his friend Tink (Nigel Chivers), the poacher’s son, take flight into all sorts of adventures. But everywhere they go Mr Zed is there, too. Not always in the same guise; sometimes appearing younger and sometimes incredibly older. One thing is certain, Mr Zed is no ordinary shopkeeper - he may not be of this world, he is most certainly not of this time.
The one warning that Mr Zed gives Jamie is that whatever else he can do, he cannot alter the course of history, even when encouraged to do so. As a result, attempts to stop the Great Fire of London or warn the gunpowder plot conspirators of treachery are doomed to failure. Jamie even meets his own father when he was Jamie's age and they have an adventure together, but when Jamie returns to his own time his dad has no recollection of the meeting.
On their journey Jamie and Tink encounter famous figures from British history such as Robert the Bruce, Guy Fawkes and Horatio Nelson. There's something of a Doctor Who meets Mr Benn similarity in this series which plays out history in a much more entertaining way than perhaps history lessons at school were doing at that time and adheres more to Sydney Newman'soriginal notion for the former; to educate in an entertaining way. However, there was only a single series of thirteen episodes of Jamie so perhaps the direction that Verity Lambert took 'Who' in, despite Newman's objections, is the reason it has endured so long, whereas Jamie appears to be (ironically) consigned to television history.
Published on April 12th, 2020. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.