1 9 7 4 (UK)
6 x 50 minute episodes
This BBC2 Sunday night series of 50-minute dramas presented modern-day interpretations of classic fairy tales with a darker, contemporary twist. The series aired from 3 March to 7 April 1974.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alan Plater – had Charles Lloyd Pack as the narrator and told the story of the Three Burrs, a highly successful family of Welfare State con merchants who demonstrated that education is an unnecessary evil to be avoided whenever possible. Fine stuff from Bryan Pringle and Rosemary Leach as Arthur and Ivy Burr.
A series of social workers have visited the misfit Burr family looking for the opportunity to evict them. The last one had ended up in hospital with a broken leg. The most recent one, the earnest Miss Goldie (Angharad Rees), narrowly escapes to her green mini and returns to the office in tears, waving her resignation.
Mr Arthur Burr
Mrs Ivy Burr
Charles Lloyd Pack
The Water Maiden (by Andrew Davies) starred Jeff Rawle as Colin, a young man who works in a garage by the canal. He meets the beautiful Marianne (Lisa Harrow) – the Water Maiden – who lives on a canal barge with two men as footloose as herself and falls hopelessly in love with her. She is reluctant to leave her home, though, but Colin eventually wears her down with his sincerity and love
Sleeping Beauty was written by Julian Bond. Claire Rawley (Ciaran Madden) has lived in a state of total withdrawal – alone in a small flat at the top of Rawley Hall, a stately home formerly owned by her family (and now a public museum) – since a nervous breakdown on her 18th birthday. A series of flashbacks show the events which lead to this state of affairs. Adrienne Corri, Esmond Knight, Kathleen Michael and Richard Morant also starred.
Jack and the Beanstalk was written by Quatermass author Nigel Kneale. In this version, the giant is the memory of a now-dead father who once towered over the young boy, frightening him and filling him with guilt. To rid himself of his own complexes, the child – now a young man in late adolescence – has to return to that childhood world and discover what kind of man his father really was.
Thomas Ellice (as Martin C Thurley)
Hansel and Gretel (by Louis Marks) starred Raymond Francis as elderly lollipop man Harry and Brenda Bruce as his sister, Gertie, whose lives have been dominated by the awful events of their poverty-stricken childhood. Unable to face reality, they are condemned to live in a make-believe world of witches, puppet shows and children’s games. Also starred Gwen Watford.
In The Snow Queen by John Bowen, Gerda (Veronica Roberts) and Kay (Peter Turner) are youthful and naive members of the Salvation Army. Tempted by Monica the Snow Queen (a nice performance from Lesley-Anne Down) to follow her to her ‘frozen kingdom’ (London), Kay becomes involved with an anarchist group who set out to persuade people to use social services to their fullest extent, causing the eventual breakdown of society under the pressure.
To make money, the group steal paperbacks and sell them at half price on a street market. Kay is finally reclaimed by Gerda and the Salvation Army, and they all live happily ever after. Or do they?
Goldilocks and the Three Bears | The Water Maiden | Sleeping Beauty | Jack and the Beanstalk | Hansel and Gretel | The Snow Queen