11-year-old London schoolgirl Anna Madden (Charlotte Burke) is suffering from glandular fever at home. Bored and lonely, she draws an imaginary house – and is subsequently transported there in her dreams.
She draws a face in the window of the house and in her next dream she finds a boy called Marc (Elliott Spiers) living in the house. Marc can’t walk because Anna didn’t draw him any legs.
Anna subsequently learns from her doctor that Marc is a real person and that he suffers from muscular dystrophy.
Anna then sketches her father into her drawing (so that he can help carry Marc away) but inadvertently gives him an angry expression which she then crosses out, and he appears in the dream as a furious, blinded ogre.
Anna and Marc defeat the monster and shortly afterwards Anna recovers. But the doctor reveals that Marc’s condition is deteriorating.
Anna and her family take a holiday by the sea, where Anna discovers an epilogue to her dream.
The source novel, Marianne Dreams (1958) by Catherine Storr, had previously been produced as a six-part television series from ATV called Escape Into Night in 1972.
Elliott Spiers died shortly after the production of Paperhouse. He suffered a negative reaction to an anti-malaria medication that left him gravely ill. Sadly, he never recovered and died at the Royal Free Hospital in London on 15 January 1994, aged 20.
Dr Sarah Nicols