Back in the 1970s ATV Network made some memorable children’s dramas and two ‘cult’ serials are being released for the first time on DVD.
Escape Into The Night was a milestone in children’s television drama at the time of production. The series was adapted by Ruth Boswell (Timeslip, The Tomorrow People) from Catherine Storr’s novel Marianne Dreams the combination of Boswell’s taught scripts, Richard Bramall’s clever direction and Alan Coleman’s (The Young Doctors, Crossroads) production enabled the juvenile cast to give memorable and, sometimes, terrifying performances.
Network DVD say of the release: “[Escape Into The Night was] More experimental than most children’s drama series, Escape Into Night’s surreal, dark tone and eerie sense of unearthliness made an indelible impression on its viewing public and is still remembered, perhaps with a sense of unease, after nearly 40 years.”
The second ATV Children’s release is sci-fi drama The Jensen Code which has been described as a highly unusual children’s thriller series. This series, also directed by Alan Coleman, was written by Carey Harrison (author son of actor Rex Harrison), and starred David Bradley – more famous for his lead role in the BAFTA-winning movie Kes.
In The Jensen Code Bradley stars as Sixteen-year-old Terry Connor unwittingly taken on a terrifying space-age espionage project after arriving, with some of his pals at an Outward Bound Centre.
“On his first day at the centre Terry is taken pot-holing by the senior instructor, Alex. All goes well until, at 100 feet underground, Alex goes to search for the torchthat Terry has dropped.
Hours pass, and, to Terry’s astonishment, when Alex finally returns he has no recollection whatever of having been absent. Terry suspects something sinister is taking place – it is surely no coincidence that there is a secret Ministry of Defence establishment nearby. But just how deeply his curiosity will involve him in dangerous matters becomes clear when he learns the truth about the ‘Jensen Code’…” Network DVD state on the programme.
Originally made in colour, both programmes only exists today as black and white telerecordings made for overseas sales as the original ATV videotape was recycled many years ago. The series can be bought from Network DVD from May 18th onwards.