Infinity Limited facts for kids
Infinity Limited is an Australian science education television series produced by the ABC in Melbourne between 1982 and 1984. Despite the show's short run, it proved popular with primary school kids around Australia. 37 episodes were made. Each episode was broadcast between 12 and 19 times from 1982 to 1991, with the exception of episode 83/9 "The Big Heater" which was only broadcast three times between 1982 and 1983.
The show initially starred Kim Trengove and Stefan Dennis as Kris (Kristal) and Rick who run a small business called Infinity Ltd. Dennis left the show after 20 episodes in late 1983 and was replaced by Mark Little as Rosco for the final 17 episodes. Infinity Ltd. were generally called upon to solve basic science-based problems for people. Their office was located above the basement/office of Vortex Ventures, a company who makes it their business to try and steal Infinity Ltd's customers, usually without success. Ross Williams starred as Valerian J. Vortex, the inept owner of Vortex Ventures, with Ian Scott as Arthur Plankton, his long suffering assistant who often showed signs that he was smarter than Vortex gave him credit for. Plankton is often made to perform tasks he is not happy with, such as climbing the air conditioning duct in order to eavesdrop on Infinity Ltd. Infinity Ltd. are aware of Vortex and Plankton and consider them a minor annoyance, rather than a serious threat to their business.
Kristal, known as Kris to most people is one half of Infinity Limited. Although it's a fairly even partnership, she seems to get the final say and leaves the more physical tasks to Rick. If she sees Rick on a break, she assumes he's been slacking off while she's been away. Despite this, Kris and Rick are good friends, maybe even lovers, but being a kids show, this is not explicitly mentioned or shown. Kris appears to be in her early 20s.
Rick is slightly more sceptical of new ideas, taking some convincing from Kris before he's fully on board. Although he is a hard worker, he also likes his leisure time which makes Kris sometimes think he doesn't pull his weight. He leaves for unexplained reasons and is replaced by Rosco. Rick appears to be in his early 20s.
Practical minded and handy at building things, Rosco doesn't come up with any scientific ideas, leaving that up to Kris. He replaces Rick as the other half of Infinity Limited. Rosco appears to be in his early 20s.
Valerian J. Vortex is the owner of Vortex Ventures, rival company to Infinity Limited. Vortex is greedy, lazy, ignorant, and unscrupulous, but not as stupid as he first appears. He can grasp scientific concepts but lacks the patience to understand a concept fully. He can also invent many different types of machine, most of which are at least partially successful before developing a fatal flaw. He is a self describe genius, and often ignores the advice from his assistant Plankton which is usually correct. Most episodes feature his latest poorly thought out but imaginative get rich quick scheme. He is almost always seen wearing a blue suit and tie. He has a moustache and a bald patch and his remaining hair is styled upwards, reminiscent of the horn-like hairdo of the Pointy-haired Boss from the comic strip Dilbert. Vortex appears to be in his early to late 30s.
Arthur Plankton is the long suffering assistant of Vortex. He is rarely called by his first name which is only mentioned in a couple of episodes. Where Vortex is intellectually lazy, Plankton is physically lazy, although his reluctant participation in the experimental phase of Vortex's plans could explain that. Plankton lacks Vortex's guile and generally wants to do right by people but is lead astray by Vortex. He is slightly smarter than Vortex and usually notices the flaws in Vortex's plans but is ignored by Vortex. Plankton usually wears blue jeans, a thin grey V-neck school jumper with yellow, maroon, yellow stripes around the neck, and a thin grey knee length jacket. Plankton appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s.
It is hinted that Kris and Rick might be romantically involved. Their office also appears to be a house and it's unknown where they live when they're not working. In "The Generation Gap", Kris's mum is supposed to be coming for dinner which suggests that the office is in their home. In "Melting Moments", Kris hugs Rick's arm when she introduces him to her old school friend Lucy which makes them look like a couple. Also in "Melting Moments", Miss Abernathy appears enamoured of Vortex, even calling him by his first name, at least until his latest invention fails to live up to his promises. In "The Generation Gap", Plankton notices the librarian and seems very interested in her but is interrupted by Vortex before he can chat her up.
Most episodes involve Infinity Limited being hired by a new client with a different problem. They will research several different methods and perform experiments to see which solutions work, and which solutions suit the client best. In about half of the episodes, Vortex will send Plankton to spy on Infinity Limited, usually by crawling up the air duct that connects their office in the basement with Infinity Limited's office upstairs. He will then try to sabotage Infinity Limited's plans while coming up with his own idea to present to the client. In the remainder of the episodes, Vortex will be doing something that just coincidentally is thematically related to the problem that Infinity Limited is solving. Vortex's plans inevitably fail in the end, and always by his own doing.
Vortex and Plankton's ignorance allows them to research the science behind the problem and explain it to each other, which is a device used to explain the scientific concept to the kids in the audience. This happens with Infinity Limited as well, with only one of the two characters understanding the concept and explaining it to the other, or alternatively, seeking expert advice where the expert explains it to both of them. Concepts are explained to other characters, not directly to the children in the audience, and later demonstrated on screen to make it engaging for the kids watching.
The series promotes critical thinking and demonstrates the difference between thorough investigation and leaping to conclusions. Many episodes discuss environmental issues as well as general scientific concepts.
|Ep. no.||Title||Science concept||Running time||Production number||Writer||Additional cast||Plot outline||Runs||First year||Last year||Notes|
|83/1||The Earth Speaks||Fossils||19'36"||325324||Hardy Stow||
|83/2||Thick as a Brick||Brickmaking||19'59"||325329||Hardy Stow||
||Infinity Limited investigates why the mudbricks a woman is making to build her house develop large cracks as they dry. Meanwhile, Vortex builds a mudbrick brickmaking machine powered by his assistant Plankton to sell bricks to the woman.||18||1983||1991|
|83/3||To Bee or Not to Bee||Bees and pollination||19'26"||325330||Bronwen Nicholls||
||Kris and Rick investigate why a beekeeper's bees have mostly died. Vortex's theory is that the music from a nearby music festival has chased them away and that the bees will return when the festival is over.||18||1983||1991|
|83/4||Don't Count Your Chickens||Egg incubation||19'50"||325328||Bronwen Nicholls||
||Kris and Rick investigate why some chicken eggs have failed to hatch in an incubator at a children's home. After getting the idea from a magazine Plankton was reading, Vortex decides to raise ostriches to sell ostrich eggs.||18||1983||1991||Copyright 1982|
|83/5||Veg's Revenge||Nutrition||19'56"||325312||Jim Burnett||
||Kris and Rick's friend Greg is working at a mine where all the miners are getting sick. Kris and Rick check out the food while Vortex is convinced it's an infectious disease.||16||1983||1991||Copyright 1982|
|83/6||The Case of the Terminated Trout||Water pollution||19'49"||325331||Ian McFadyen||
||A farmer comes to Kris and Rick to help prove that a tanker spill on a nearby highway was responsible for the dead fish in the stream on his property. Vortex blames the owner of a nearby factory, ignoring Plankton's attempts to stop him.||17||1983||1991|
|83/7||Good Vibrations||Noise pollution||19'56"||325333||Ian McFadyen||
||Kris's friend Greg's band, "World War III", is disturbing the sleep of a neighbour who works night shift. While Kris and Rick investigate sound proofing, Vortex demonstrates his latest invention to Plankton: the tin can telephone.||16||1983||1991|
|83/8||These Fuelish Things||Alternative energy sources||18'48"||325334||Unknown||
||A farmer asks Infinity Limited to help him reduce his energy bill by converting cow pats into methane. Kris and Rick investigate more workable sources of alternative energy while Vortex and Plankton build a methane machine.||16||1983||1991|
|83/9||The Big Heater||19'49"||325313||Ian McFadyen||
||3||1982||1983||This is the only episode not to be shown after 1983, being marked in TIS as "Removed" (to Melbourne) after its third run.|
|83/10||Thin Air||Wind energy/Wind resistance||19'41"||325314||Ian McFadyen||
||A delivery driver comes to Infinity Limited to discover who is stealing petrol from his van. After Plankton is blown across the street while wearing an advertising sign, Vortex decides to build a wind powered car.||17||1982||1991||Copyright 1982|
|83/11||Waste High||Waste disposal||19'55"||325332||Unknown||
||During a garbage strike there are protests outside a factory. Kris and Rick think of ways to safely dispose of the factory's waste paint which is diluted in hazardous solvent. Vortex plans to sell the waste at a profit.||17||1982||1991||Copyright 1983|
|83/12||Vision from Above||Flight||19'55"||325335||Ian McFadyen||
||A model plane enthusiast asks Infinity Limited why his plane crashed. Vortex decides to build a gigantic kite to take aerial photos with Plankton as the photographer.||18||1983||1991||The episode explains how an aeroplane flies using an incorrect explanation which is still commonly believed today.|
|83/13||An Air-Raising Experience||Balloons||19'52"||325323||Michael Harvey||
||A retiring civil servant asks Infinity Limited for advice about entering a $10,000 balloon race. Vortex gets Plankton to pretend to be a schoolkid in order to get a huge number of helium balloons for the same race.||18||1983||1991||Copyright 1983|
|83/14||Things That Go Bump in the Night||The sky above||19'21"||325336||Unknown||
||A young UFOlogist asks Kris and Rick to prove that a strange light in the sky the night before is a UFO. Meanwhile, a prospector mistaking Vortex and Plankton for Infinity Ltd. asks them to investigate a loud bang and a hole on his land.||16||1983||1991||Copyright 1983|
|83/15||The Big Lift||Simple machines||19'55"||325337||Unknown||
||A strongman asks Infinity Limited to help him keep his job after he claims he can lift a baby elephant. Vortex and Plankton try to sell him a very long lever to do the job.||18||1983||1991||The strongman is played by Tommy Dysart, well known in Australia for his appearances in Yellow Pages ads where he's asking for parts for his Goggomobil.|
|83/16||The Generation Gap||Electricity generation||19'57"||325340||Unknown||
||When an earthquake in the Latrobe Valley knocks out all power to Melbourne, Vortex reluctantly turns to Infinity Limited to reassemble a generator that Plankton took apart in order to learn about electricity generation.||15||1983||1991||Earthquakes, especially ones large enough to cause damage, are rare in Victoria.|
||Kris and Rick are visiting Kris's friend Lucy at a fair. Lucy's ice sculpture is fast melting and it's up to Infinity Limited to save it. Vortex is trying to sell hot pies and cold ice cream out of the same container.||19||1983||1991||Copyright 1983|
|83/18||Gripping Yarns||Friction||19'42"||325338||Unknown||Unknown||Kris and Rick enter a competition for super fuel efficient vehicles. After discovering that golf buggy hire costs money and Plankton complains that the clubs are too heavy, Vortex designs his own buggy.||19||1983||1991|
|83/19||Compute the Loops||Computers||19'58"||325341||Unknown||
||When Kris and Rick go to the pet shop, they discover the owner in need of computer organisation. Vortex and Plankton enter a competition to guess how many Goopie Loops would fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground.||19||1983||1991||Copyright 1983. Since the ABC is a non-commercial station, they referenced the popular breakfast cereal Froot Loops by calling them Goopie Loops.|
|83/20||The Time Trap||Time||19'15"||325342||Unknown||
||Kris and Rick assist the police when their friend is accused of robbing a clock shop at 6 o'clock precisely. Vortex tries to build a new type of accurate clock for a $10 million prize.||19||1983||1991|
|83/21||Water, Water Everywhere||The properties of water||19'21"||325348||Unknown||
||17||1984||1991||This episode was broadcast after episode 83/22 which introduces Rosco.|
|83/22||Getting It Together||19'55"||325351||Unknown||
||13||1984||1991||This episode introduces Rosco after it's explained that Rick (Stefan Dennis) went overseas.|
|83/23||The Light Fantastic||Photography||19'58"||325349||Unknown||
||An army intelligence agent asks Kris and Rosco for their assistance in cracking a code on three slides. Vortex and Plankton follow the agent and Rosco to a secret base and decide to build a camera to track who is going in and out.||13||1984||1991|
|83/25||No episode 83/25 was produced.|
|83/26||Fangs For The Memory||Snakes||19'56"||325353||Unknown||
|83/27||Seeing Is Believing||The senses||19'56"||325350||Unknown||
|83/28||Night Moves||Animal tracks and traces||19'32"||325357||Unknown||
|83/29||No episode 83/29 was produced.|
|83/30||No episode 83/30 was produced.|
|83/31||Make Or Break||Electrical circuits||19'14"||325368||Unknown||
|83/33||The Missing Possums Bureau||Habitat||19'55"||325354||Unknown||
||A wealthy man asks Kris and Rosco to find out why there aren't any sugar gliders on his property anymore. Vortex decides to teach regular possums how to fly.||13||1984||1991|
|84/1||The Guitar Case||Sound and musical instruments||19'56"||325355||Unknown||
||16||1984||1991||This episode has the same episode number as the episode "That Which Never Rests".|
|84/1||That Which Never Rests||Perpetual motion||19'46"||325369||Unknown||
||13||1984||1991||This episode has the same episode number as the episode "The Guitar Case" and the same production number as the episode "Great Balls Of Pumpkin".|
|84/2||Great Balls Of Pumpkin||Plant nutrition||19'55"||325369||Unknown||
||13||1984||1991||This episode has the same production number as the episode "That Which Never Rests".|
|84/3||The Invisible Force||Air pressure||19'47"||325371||Unknown||
|84/4||Wheels Within Wheels||Expansion of metals||18'46"||325372||Unknown||Unknown||12||1984||1991|
|84/5||What's This Space||Measuring volume||20'00"||325373||Unknown||
|84/6||Bubble, Bubble, Toil And Trouble||Fermentation||18'12"||325374||Unknown||Unknown||12||1984||1991|
Infinity Limited Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.