Network on Air (studio)
25 June 2018 (released)
05 July 2018
SHADOWS, the hugely successful supernatural TV-series for children, was broadcast between 1975-1978 by ITV and with different opening credits for each of the three seasons. Now the complete series is available as a 3-Disc DVD set, containing twenty half-hour episodes - with adaptations for this anthology series from well-known writers as diverse as J.B. Priestley, Joan Aiken, PJ Hammond, and Fay Weldon.
Primarily the episodes focus on the supernatural, sometimes spooky, sometimes funny, sometimes magical and always entertaining. Viewers will of course have their own favourites though each of the three discs has standout episodes.
On Disc 1, the two standout episodes are THE WAITING ROOM (by Jon Watkins) and DUTCH SCHLITZ’S SHOES (by Trevor Preston). The former story is set in a waiting room in what seems to be an abandoned train station. The year is 1975 and two passengers, Sue and Gerry (Jenny Agutter and Paul Henley), have just missed their last bus home, hence they are now reliant on a train. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be another train until the wee morning hours and the siblings prepare themselves for a loooong and chilly night. Suddenly a train conductor appears and announces the arrival of a train. To Sue’s surprise this particular train isn’t even listed in the timetable. Of course it isn’t, because the train in question is a ghost train and Sue and Gerry are catapulted back to 1925 when they witness a train crash that seems to take hold of the present ... Quite a chilling and atmospheric episode this and no doubt a nod to Jenny Agutter’s role in THE RAILWAY CHILDREN.
In DUTCH SCHLITZ’S SHOES nasty magician Mr. Stabs (from ACE OF WANDS) makes a return and together with his bumbling sidekick Loko he steals the shoes of notorious Chicago gangster Dutch Schlitz from a private collection. Now that the shows are worn by Mr. Stabs he feels the urge to rob banks – with hilarious consequences! Although the character of Mr. Stabs is meant to be slightly sinister this episode is full of slapstick moments!
Disc 2 is no less interesting with THE DARK STREETS OF KIMBALL GREEN (by Joan Aiken) in which a young orphan girl living in a foster home has to fight against her nasty foster mother who disapproves of reading books, and against a gang of nasty boys who, purely for kicks, want to kill their beloved cat. Luckily both girl and cat are saved by a mysterious tramp with mysterious connections to an old Celtic Kingdom.
On Disc 3 it's the fairy tale THE SILVER APPLE (by Roy Russell) that will particularly delight very young audiences. This magical story about two Princes on a quest to become the next King (and there can be only one) is utterly charming in its old-fashioned way.
As for THE MAN WHO HATED CHILDREN (by Brian Patten), here George A. Cooper (who so brilliantly played Billy Liar’s short-tempered dad in the 70’s TV-series) is Mr. Higg - an old grudge who hates children. His plan is to vandalise the famour Peter Pan statue in London's Kensington Gardens and balme it on the ‘brats’. But Mr. Higg didn’t count on Peter Pan's fairies and he gets his just comeuppance…
A wonderful trip down memory lane and a delight for children of all ages…