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Pollyanna

1 9 7 3 (UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes

Polly Harrington (Elaine Stritch) is middle-aged, rich and extremely bitter following a broken love affair. She has grown accustomed to her solitary existence and it is therefore only out of duty that she feels she should take responsibility for Pollyanna (Elizabeth Archard), her recently orphaned niece.

Regardless of her own personal grief, Pollyanna believes that there is nothing that cannot be overcome by a positive attitude – something she refers to as her “just being glad game”.

She has much work to do in a town where there are many unhappy people but within a very short space of time, Pollyanna’s happy disposition has warmed the hearts of those she meets.

Mr Pendleton (Ray McAnally), the ill-tempered bachelor, soon yearns for a child of his own, and bedridden Mrs Snow (Valerie Colgan) grows to cherish every one of Pollyanna’s visits. Even Aunt Polly finds herself charmed and slowly begins to unearth happiness she had long forgotten.

Tragedy strikes when, returning from school, Pollyanna is run over. Although she survives, her legs are badly broken, and her positive attitude is put to the test as she comes to terms with the fact that she cannot walk.

Worthy of note is the serial’s American setting (Vermont) which meant that the BBC had to recreate US locales with varying degrees of success, both in studio and in filmed environs closer to home (Surprisingly, English countryside looks nothing like American countryside).

Elaine Stritch is the only genuine American in the cast and elsewhere there are various struggles with American accents.

Pollyanna
Elizabeth Archard
Aunt Polly
Elaine Stritch
Nancy
Paddy Frost
John Pendleton
Ray McAnally
Timothy
Robert Coleby
Jimmy Bean
Stephen Galloway
Dr Chilton
Paul Maxwell
Old Tom
Donald Bisset
Milly Snow
Valerie Colgan
Mrs Payson
Mary Healey
Nora Bates
Mildred Shaw
Cook
Lilian Padmore