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Poison Island

1 9 6 5 (UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes

Mystery, adventure and buried treasure were the prime ingredients in this fast-moving, intricate tale of a boy in early 19th-century Cornwall.

The boy hero, Harry Brooks, was played by Kit Williams and his father, a blinded Peninsular War veteran, by David Phethean. The old sea dog, Captain Coffin – who initiated the treasure hunt – was played by veteran music hall artist Billy Russell (“on behalf of the workers”).

Harry first met Captain Coffin after arriving at his first school, Mr Stimcoe’s Academy for Backward Boys at Falmouth.

In the streets of Falmouth, Harry came upon the poor, drunken old captain being attacked by local bullies and sprang to his defence. The old man was duly grateful and so Harry heard the first hints of the treasure which lay on Poison Island.

This BBC1 serial was based on a novel of the same name published in 1907 by a novelist and academic who was also the most wholehearted of Cornishmen. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (he pronounced the name ‘Cooch’ and would remind offenders that he had “no connection with sofas”) was universally and affectionately known as ‘Q’ and spent much of his long life (1863 – 1944) as a literary critic and university teacher.

Harry Brooks
Kit Williams
George Goodfellow
John Bown
Miss Plinlimmon
Rosamund Greenwood
Captain Branscombe
Michael Gwynn
Jack Rogers
Terence Alexander
Captain Coffin
Billy Russell
Major Brooks
David Phethean
Miss Belcher
Pat Nye
Dr Beauregard
Austin Trevor
Aaron Glass
Jack Rodney
Mr Stimcoe
Carl Bernard
Mrs Stimcoe
Daphne Heard
Sally
Meg Ritchie
Doggy Bates
Paul Waller