Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Witches and the Grinnygog (1983)

A miniseries based on the children's book of the same name (1981) by Dorothy Edwards. I've not read the book. I had, however, watched the series back in the 80s when it was first screened on British TV. Once the actual Grinnygog appeared onscreen the memories of that time came flooding back to me - almost literally, I felt like I'd been hit by a driving wave of forgotten salad days.

The Grinnygog is a horned, cheeky-faced stone statue about the size of an average garden gnome. The little guy doesn't actually do very much besides look cool, but the majority of the important events that subsequently occur in the lives of the main protagonists happen as a result of his sudden appearance. Without seeming to do so directly, he influences and twists the threads of fate so that the correct people are in the correct place at the correct time.

The witches appear later, and for a while their motivations are a mystery to the children that the story centres around most and, by extension, to the viewers.

There are five kids in all, four of whom are working together to create a museum of local history, a place where the town's past can be viewed and appreciated by everyone regardless of age. Their research not only educates them in the obvious manner but also proves useful in other ways.

It's both a fascinating and enjoyable exercise for me to look back at children's television from yesteryear and note how often the makers of the shows tried to scare the crap out of us and feed us compelling tales of Britain's pagan past.

TWatG doesn't tread the scary route but does take the other, and it does it in such a way that neither condescends nor elevates the importance of one individual belief system over the other. I feel that's an important point to stress because being a children's show means its target audience is typically more suggestible than viewers in some other genres, and kids should always respectfully be allowed the freedom to form their own opinion about such matters.

6 episodes, approx 25 minutes each.

3 of the wayside faith out of 5