Home Television Kids TV Secret Garden, The

Secret Garden, The

1 9 6 0 (UK)
8 x 30 minute episodes

This 1960 BBC production of the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett starred Gillian Ferguson as ill-tempered young Mary Lennox who is sent to her uncle’s remote mansion in Yorkshire – Misselthwaite Manor – after being orphaned.

There she discovers an oppressive atmosphere of sadness, a hidden garden and a hypochondriac cousin called Colin (Peter Hempson). With the help of local village lad Dickon (Colin Spaull), Mary resurrects a neglected walled garden where Colin’s mother had died, a garden that lay at the heart of discontent at her uncle’s home.

The production used a greater amount of filmed location work than the original 1952 series but the production team had to overcome two areas of concern from Burnett’s book: the novel incorporated various animals and this problem was resolved thanks to Chessington Zoo, and the story started in mid-Winter and ended in late-Spring but filming took place in Winter at Penhurst Place in Kent.

The production team recreated Spring by planting daffodils and crocuses in the flower beds.

The BBC produced a seven-part colour version of the series in 1975.

Mary Lennox
Gillian Ferguson
Colin Spaull
Colin Craven
Peter Hempson
Mrs Medlock
Hilary Mason
Prunella Scales
Stuart Hutchison
Ben Weatherstaff
Fred Fairclough
Christopher Hodge
Barbara Mitchell
Mrs Sowerby
Noel Dyson
Dr Craven
Walter Horsbrugh
Archibald Craven
Frank Shelley
Judy Stephens