1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
39 x 30 minute episodes
When her parents move abroad, Dora (Gillian Blake) – a lonely horsey teenage girl – goes to stay with her uncle, The Colonel (played by Desmond Llewellyn – Q in the Bond movies).
The eccentric Colonel is a horse lover who owns Follyfoot Farm, a sanctuary for distressed, neglected and rescued horses.
When Dora comes to stay he begins what he calls “The Dora collection”.
Early in her stay, Dora befriends Steve (Steve Hodson), who has been wrongfully sacked from his previous job at the Squire’s stables.
He joins her at Follyfoot, and throughout the series, there is a certain romantic chemistry between them.
The farm kitchen is run by a rough-and-ready old boxer named Slugger (Arthur English), who had been the Colonel’s batman during his army career. Also in the action is farmhand Ron Stryker (Christian Rodska), a layabout biker with a heart of gold beneath his abrasive exterior.
Based on the 1963 story Cobbler’s Dream by Monica Dickens (a great great grand-child of Charles Dickens no less) Follyfoot aired on Saturday mornings – originally after Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons.
In the farmyard stood a burnt-out tree, the victim of a lightning bolt. The Colonel believed it would bloom again if given enough attention, so everyone who passed it was required to throw a bucket of water onto its roots.
The tree became a good luck charm to the farm folk (and a symbol of hope for the worn-out horses).
Suffering ill health, the Colonel eventually makes Dora the “mistress of Follyfoot”
The Follyfoot series was made by Yorkshire Television and was filmed at the estate of Harewood House between Leeds and Harrogate.
The theme song Lightning Tree was sung by The Settlers and was a moderate hit in the UK in 1971.
Down in the meadow where the wind blows free
In the middle of a field stands the lightning tree
It’s limbs all torn from the day it was born
For the tree was born in a thunderstorm
Grow, grow, lightning tree
It’s never too late for you and me
Grow, grow, lightning tree
Never give in too easily
Dora | Steve | Gypsy | Shadow | One White Foot Charlie | The Charity Horse | Know All’s Nag | Moonstone | Stryker’s Good Deed | Mr She-Knows | The Standstill Horse | Birthday at Follyfoot | A Day in the Sun | Someone Somewhere | The Debt | Family of Strangers | A Present for Sandy | The Innocents | The £100 Horse | Poor Bald Head | The Prize | Treasure Hunt | Debt of Honour | Out of the Blue Horse | The Awakening | Fly Away Home | The Distant Voice | The Four-Legged Hat | Barney | Miss Him When He’s Gone | The Dream | The Challenge | The Letter | The Bridge Builder | Uncle Joe | The Helping Hand | Rain on Friday | Hazel | Walk in the Wood