Home Television Drama Flame Trees Of Thika, The

Flame Trees Of Thika, The

1 9 8 1 (UK)
7 x 60 minute episodes

This seven-part series from Euston Films, shot in Kenya, was based on Elspeth Huxley’s autobiography, relating her childhood in Africa on the eve of World War I.

Unfortunately, filming took place during the dry season and the producers discovered belatedly that flaming flame trees flower suddenly and for short spells only after the brief rains in October and November!

When scenes of a thunderstorm were needed for episode 4, most of Nairobi’s fire brigade had to open hoses on the dry plains as a crew scuttled off to film some flame trees which researchers had found miraculously flowering some miles away.

More problems cropped up over scenes where big game was supposed to be killed.

Luckily stuffed animals from the Nairobi Natural History Museum could be borrowed, but the Kenyan government refused to allow Kikuyu women, who built a house for the Grant family in the story, to be filmed bare-breasted.

They were conscious of Western racist portrayals of Africans in traditional dress as primitive savages.

In the end, the Grants, nice-as-pie coffee-growers, scolding servants for their own good, cut little ice with black people in Britain in the year of its worst-ever race riots.

Elspeth Grant 
Holly Aird
Tilly Grant 

Hayley Mills
Major Grant
John Nettleton
Robin Grant 

David Robb
Njombo
Mick Chege