Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Remembering 70s ITV series, "Children of the Stones"

While much about the 1970s was indisputably awful (orange nylon y-fronts, vinyl sofas etc) some things were remarkably cool and have surely stood the test of time.  A lot of drama was very well made and incredibly creative and exciting, we're going back to a time of course, before almost everything became somewhat formulaic, as it seems to be now.
"Children of the Stones" was a brilliantly written and directed, children's drama, set in the fictional village of Milbury, with its fascinating ancient stone circle.  Filmed at Avebury, Wilts, down the road from Stonehenge, the drama focussed around astrophysicist, Adam Brake (Gareth Thomas) and his teenage son Matthew (Peter Demin) who came to the village one summer to study the stones, and quickly established something very strange was going on with the locals.
Broadcast in 1977, and like previous iconic ITV children's series, "Ace of Wands" (1970-72), the drama had a genuinely sinister feel, and stood out as being quite radical for it's target audience.  It didn't patronise viewers, as many kids' shows did then and still do, instead it invited them to open up their minds and let their imagination run free and as a result was utterly compelling.  I'm sure  I wasn't the only 13 year old longing for a second series!
A second TV series never came, sadly, though a sequel novel "Return to the Stones" was published last year by Jeremy Burnham, which is a good read if you remember the original TV series with affection and fancy a trip down memory lane.
It would be wonderful if the sequel were filmed now, and being set some 30 years on, would be feasible for the original cast to play their parts once again, though I have no idea whatever became of Peter Demin or Katharine Levy (who played Sandra.)
Extract from "Children of the Stones", 1977,  starring Gareth Thomas and Peter Demin

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