1 9 7 2 (UK)
8 x 25 minute episodes
Sixteen-year-old Arnold Haithwaite (James Bate) is a sand pilot guiding parties of tourists over the sands at the Cumberland coastal village of Skirlston (filming took place around Ravenglass in Cumbria) while staying with Ernest Haithwaite (Jack Woolgar), a man he calls “father” even though he is not.
But Arnold’s quiet life is shattered when a stranger called Sonny (Milton Johns) – “the intruder” – turns up claiming to be the real Arnold Haithwaite.
Sonny arrives in Skirlston with the intention of converting it into a tourist-magnet holiday resort.
Although both his plan and his appearance (he wears a beret, an eye-patch and an old belted raincoat that looks as if he sleeps in it) seem ridiculous, the stranger is ruthlessly enthusiastic.
But he needs a base from which to build his empire and chooses Ernest’s home as his headquarters.
Life at Cottontree House changes dramatically for the young lad and Ernest when the stranger worms his way into their lives.
Dumped on a doorstep sixteen years previously, Arnold now begins a quest to discover his real identity but no one seems to have any sympathy for his predicament, except newcomers Peter (Simon Fisher-Turner) and Jane (Sheila Ruskin) Ellison – and even they are not sure he is not simply imagining the whole thing.
Things come to a head when Arnold finds himself fighting the sea itself in the midst of a raging storm, with the stranger at his heels and Jane trapped by the rising tide in the ruins of an old church.
The Stranger | Jane | Norma | Miss Binns | Peter | Jane Again | Mavis | Me