For the Cult TV reviews I like to watch stuff that is almost forgotten to time. The Children of Green Knowe, Lucy Boston's time-slip novel, is exactly this. A series that is fondly remembered by those who saw it and forgotten to later generations. I only came to it by finding it in my recommendations after purchasing The Secret Garden BBC series on DVD (which I will be reviewing next) and thought to give it a try. Apparently faithful to the original source material the series is a story about a young boy, Tolly, who comes to live in an old country house with his grandmother. However the 17th century Stuart inhabitants of the old family house appear to young Tolly but remain elusively aloof. As time passes his grandmother tells him tales of horses, a gypsy curse and a creature that haunt the grounds. All young Tolly wants to do is meet and talk to the ancestors of the house and break the family curse but this is more difficult than it seems.
The role of Tolly is earnestly played by Alec Christie and that of his grandmother is wonderfully acted by Daphne Oxenford - who gives a warm performance. The pacing is deliberately slow and gentle and the characters are given time to develop and breathe, the relationship between the grandmother and her grandson is sweet and has the ring of truth.
Special mention must go to the beautiful music, composed by Peter Howell with the help of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (who also created the Dr Who theme), which complements the stunning scenery and wonderful cinematography. The interior shots of Peterborough Cathedral and the rousing music during this particular scene are a particular highlight.
In the 70s and 80s the BBC invested heavily in producing quality children's programming and it is often these series that have stood the test of time, some better than others. The atmosphere and charm that make it impossible to dislike this series and it is a shame that this gentle time-slip story has been almost forgotten. As someone who has never seen the show before I'd say that if you are looking for a gentle way to unwind for a couple of hours you couldn't go far wrong with The Children of Green Knowe.
Now "Make up a great blaze and I'll tell you a story!"