1 9 7 7 (UK)
5 x 30 minute episodes
Little Poll Greengrass (Lucy Durham-Matthews) and her brother Theo (Ben Bethell) move from suburban London with their mother (Anne Stallybrass) to their aunt’s farm in Norfolk after their father heads for America to avoid questions about a robbery he didn’t commit.
The kids find out what it means to be hand-me-down poor, discover a wandering grandfather they thought was dead, and encounter mean old Mrs Bugg (Maryann Turner) and her son Noah (Paul Wilson) and his bullying ways.
Poll also comes down with the fever but is lucky enough to recover – the little brother of her friend Annie (Sarah Hollis Andrews) is not so fortunate and dies from his illness.
Most importantly, Poll is given a little piglet to keep as a pet. The pig – which they name Johnnie – becomes something of a celebrity in the village but its real purpose is to stand as a metaphor for Poll’s growing up.
There can only be one fate for a pig raised in a farming community and when at the end of the tale it ends up at the butcher’s, it is time for Poll to move on.
The serial, shot all on film, is very similar to Carrie’s War and undeniably has a touch of The Railway Children about it.
Sarah Hollis Andrews