Home Television Kids TV James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach

1 9 7 6 (UK)
1 x 45 minute episode

James Henry Trotter (Simon Bell) is a desperately unhappy orphan left in the care of his two cruel aunts, Spiker (Anna Quayle) and Sponge (Ann Beach), who treat him like a slave.

One day he encounters a mysterious old man at the bottom of the garden (Arthur Hewlett) who hands James a bag containing hundreds of magic organisms. James is told to be wary and never let the bag drop from his hand or someone else will benefit from their powers.

In his excitement, James drops the bag at the base of an old peach tree and, very shortly, the tree is sporting a plump peach on its top branch.

The peach grows in size until it is far bigger than a person and, when James finds a hole in the side of the huge fruit, he crawls inside. There he finds a variety of oversized insects and worms, all recipients of the magic power.

Severing the peach from the tree, they set out on an amazing adventure by sea and in the air, coming to rest atop the Empire State Building in New York.

This fascinating play didn’t take itself particularly seriously and seemed more of an offering for the panto season (it aired on 28 December 1976).

Produced on a minimal budget, it was taped entirely in the studio and utilised simple, two-dimensional storybook backdrops akin to those seen on Rainbow or Play School.

James Henry Trotter
Simon Bell
Aunt Spiker
Anna Quayle
Aunt Sponge
Ann Beach
Old man
Arthur Hewlett
Interviewer/1st Naval Officer/Security Chief
Andrew Sachs
Thorley Walters
Pat Coombs
Kate Lock
Bernard Cribbins
Hugh Lloyd
Silkworm/2nd Naval Officer
Christopher Owen
Glow-Worm/American Woman
Jo Kendall