Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Children of the Stones

I have just spent a pleasant couple of nights re-watching the classic '70s serial Children of the Stones. It must have been rerun in the '80s, as I vaguely remembered it from my childhood.

It is a tale about a father and son who visit a village lying within the bounds of a circle of megaliths. The pair rapidly realise that the natives are unusual and there are strange forces at work. Warnings are issued by village idiots, there are old tales of mysterious deaths and a dusty painting hints at a cosmic explanation. This tale is made very believable by a cast of TV stalwarts including the great Freddie Jones and Gareth Thomas (of Blake's 7 fame)

Although nominally aimed at children, the story is complex and the series at times quite disturbing. This disquiet is admirably amplified by the choral chant and wailing that forms the soundtrack. Much of the series was filmed on location in Avebury and the studio sets evoke a chilly, rural atmosphere (in fact, the interiors remind me of places I stayed as a child!)

With its hints of ancient evil, historical clues and a sinister lord of the manor, the series reminds me a lot of the work of the great British sci-fi TV screenwriter Nigel Kneale. It is very much 'of its time' with its preoccupation with folklore and shares DNA with Kneale's The Stone Tape and Quatermass and the Pit.

A cheeky monkey has diligently uploaded all the episodes so click on over to dailymotion to have a watch.

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