1 9 7 1 (UK)
4 x 25 minute episodes
Mary (Carol Davis) is spending the summer holidays at the seaside with her Grandfather (John Welsh) and spinster Aunt Alice (Beryl Cooke) while her parents are in the throes of getting a divorce.
Having grown up in an atmosphere of constant strife and bickering, Mary is a very surly and badly behaved young girl at first, frustrated and angry – in the first episode, she steals sweets from a seafront kiosk. She is particularly rude and disagreeable towards her fussy, eager-to-help Aunt.
She meets local boy Simon (Stephen Bone), and together they become involved with Krishna (Jeffrey Sirr), a young Kenyan boy who lands on the beach by boat as an illegal immigrant. Mary and Simon decide to try and hide the boy from the authorities until they can find his uncle in London.
The Runaway Summer is largely about lies and secrets: the children hiding Krishna from the authorities; Simon knowing more than he lets on about Mary, who tells him ridiculous stories about a cruel step-aunt; and Simon’s personal refuge (an island hideaway where they take Krishna for safety).