On this day (10th January)

The first episode of Children of the Stones was broadcast on ITV in 1977.

ITV in general (and HTV in particular) were on something of roll when it came to spooky children’s television dramas during the 1970’s. Children of the Stones was a strong entry on that roll call, and is still remembered by many with a shudder of unease.

Written by Jeremy Burnham and Trevor Ray and with a cast including Gareth Thomas, Iain Cuthbertson and Freddie Jones, it stands up today very well. For a relatively obscure programme, it’s enjoyed something of a rebirth in recent years – there was a 2012 Radio 4 documentary, a reprint of the original novelisation as well as a new sequel book (also written by Burnham and Ray), audiobook readings by Gareth Thomas and a new audio adaptation in 2020, which is still available as a podcast.

The first episode of The Price was broadcast on Channel 4 in 1985.

A six part serial, featuring fine lead performances from Peter Barkworth and Harriet Walter, I’ve previously reviewed it here. For a short while a few years back, Simply Media dug into the Channel 4 archives and came up with a fair few items of interest – this being one.

The Firefly Cage, the first episode of Lovejoy, was broadcast on BBC1 in 1986.

Developed for television by Ian La Frenais from the novels by Jonathan Gash, the tv Lovejoy lacked the rough corners of the literary original – in the hands of Ian McShane, Lovejoy was simply a loveable rogue rather than being an underhand and unscrupulous one. I haven’t dipped into the series for a while, but when I do I tend to go for this first run (which although successful, wasn’t followed up for another five years).

The Firefly Cage is a decent set up episode, with all the regulars introduced effectively as well as an alluring performance from Kim Thomson as Nicola Paige, the first of many femme fatales to cross Lovejoy’s path.

Also debuting today – Nanny, The District Nurse, Charters and Caldicott (reviewed here) and Constant Hot Water. If Constant Hot Water is remembered at all, it’s only because it was Pat Phoenix’s last series (although her final transmitted television performance was in an episode Unnatural Causes). Maybe one day Constant Hot Water will resurface, hopefully so as I’d be curious to see how she worked with a studio audience.

4 thoughts on “On this day (10th January)

  1. Of more interest to your UK readers, but ‘The Price’ also has Derek Thompson from Casualty & also a very rare acting role from uk tv presenter / newsreader /journalist Susanna Reid(currently ITV’s Good Morning Britain) at the tender age of 16!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy the first series of Lovejoy. It seemed to be initially treated as a stand alone series as Series 2 didn’t surface until around 1991. The 1985 production of Lovejoy depicted it as a little more gritty and earthy in comparison to the later episodes which became more light hearted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Without digging into it, I’ve got a feeling that they would have made a follow-up series a good deal quicker but there was some issue (possibly McShane’s availability) that meant it had to be put on the back-burner for a few years.

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