Seven-year-old Gus (Robert Duncan) is a quiet and lonely but inquisitive young boy who has been an uncle all his life (courtesy of his sister, who is about twenty years older than him).
Derided by his peer group for being an uncle at such a young age and wanting to hide from their constant malicious chants of “Gus is an uncle, Gus is an uncle”, he retreats to his safe haven of an old abandoned house where he listens to music, drinks Tizer and talks to his budgerigar.
But when his quarrelsome, unmanageable nephew Tom (Christopher Ariss) – also seven – comes to spend the summer holidays with him, he finds the responsibilities of his position almost too hard to bear.
As events escalate throughout the long summer holidays, Gus contemplates birth, life and death.
Isolated from his playmates, he considers the nearby owner of a small sweet shop, Mr Ream (Maurice Denham), to be his best friend and is devastated when Mr Ream dies in his sleep of heart trouble.
The Uncle is a wonderfully nostalgic slice of childhood life in the 1960s with trips to the local sweet shop, cap gun and water pistol battles, playing outside and being dropped off by a parent on suburban street corners to play with your friends from sunrise until sunset and make your own way back home.
It’s a poignant reminder of the decline of civilization and the neurotic way children are treated today – suffocated with excessive pampering and attention, practically held prisoner in their houses and terrified of going into the street lest some unimaginable fate befalls them.
Shot on location in and around Plymouth (including Whitleigh, Honicknowle, Ernesettle and Manadon Vale Primary School), this gentle film – based on a novel of the same name by Margaret Abrams – was not considered commercial enough for a cinematic release in 1966.