The Best Things About Time Travel

There are some major perks to having your own private gateway to another time period. Just ask Goodnight Sweetheart's Gary Sparrow.

Goodnight Sweetheart


Being a genius is like being incredibly good looking or incredibly witty. You either are or you aren't. You can't bluff it. Unless of course you have a magical time portal to the past, in which case you can bluff away to your heart's content. Just pick up some knowledge from your own time, pop back into the past, spread said knowledge and hey presto: you're a genius. In Gary's case, his ability to belt out hits by the likes of the Beatles and Elton John meant his mates in the 1940s regarded him as a bona fide musical prodigy. It's just too bad he didn't become a famous songwriter, or we might have been treated to Dame Vera Lynn doing I am the Walrus.


It's hard to get your own enterprise off the ground. Never mind all the investment and hours you need to put in - there's also the small matter of having a winning business idea. Well, not only did Gary's time-travelling ways open up an exciting new world to him, but it also gave him a shortcut to becoming a sort of sci-fi Lovejoy. All he had to do was pick up lots of stuff from the 1940s and then sell them on as antiques in his own era. Adding a brilliantly clever name ("Blitz and Pieces"), Gary was soon in business, even if Yvonne was a bit bemused by his sudden obsession with all things WW2. Oddest mid-life crisis ever?


Cheating is wrong. We can all agree on that. But does it count as cheating if your other lover exists in a different temporal dimension to you? Well, it certainly makes it a lot easier to excuse in your own mind, as Gary very quickly realized when he started seeing Phoebe and Yvonne at the same time. Slipping through a time portal, donning the clothes of a past era and canoodling with someone who was born at around the same time as your grandmother makes it all OK, somewhat. Also, time-travelling bigamy is a lot trickier to prosecute than ordinary bigamy. So that's a plus.


Let's face it, celebrities from the distant past are far more interesting than today's famous folk. Not necessarily because they were any better, mind you. It's simply the fact that they lived in black-and-white times, which gives them an almost magical aura, never to be replicated in the age of relentless paparazzi attention. Gary found himself hob-nobbing with some marvelously nostalgia-making celebs, including iconic music hall entertainer George Formby as well as the silver-tongued writer and actor Noel Coward, who even gave elocution lessons to Phoebe. What a gent.


Turning back the clock is something we all wish we could do at some point or other. And it's a good thing we can't, as most of us would probably end up abusing the service to amass a huge fortune and take over the world. To give Gary some credit, he didn't go quite that far, but he did reap the benefits of being able to alter the past after he bumped into his aging, broke, ex-con son in the 1990s. A quick jaunt back to the 40s let him set up a trust fund in his son's name, setting the younger Sparrow on a far more pleasant path in life. See, he is a caring person. Apart from the bigamy.


Ultimately, the single best thing about time travel is this: it's fun. Before he discovered the time portal, Gary Sparrow was a lowly repairman stuck on the trundling treadmill of ordinary life, with only the next Arsenal match to look forward to. Thanks to the portal, he was transformed into a womanizing adventurer with a Bogart trenchcoat and the reputation of a musically gifted secret agent. Certainly beats fixing tellies for a living, eh?