13 May 2004 | Catch-52
Delightful children's adventure
A very young Jenny Agutter is featured in this BBC serial; she would play the same role in the film version of Edith Nesbit's classic children's novel two years later. The IMDb lists it as a TV series, but it is actually closer to a miniseries, with a continuing story arc and well-defined beginning and end. It's in black-and-white, and the picture quality is poor; also, it was obviously filmed live, and some of the line readings are a bit awkward. None of this really matters, though, since the performances are so warm and the story is so good. The Faraday children (the IMDb gives the family name as "Waterbury," but that is a mistake) go off to live with their mother in the country after their father is unjustly imprisoned; they have a series of adventures, and all ends happily. I enjoyed this thoroughly even though I'm a cynical college student - I'm sure kids will absolutely love it. Considering that the novel was written in 1906, and this series dates from 1968, it's aged remarkably well. I haven't seen the 1970 version (or the 1957 or 2000), so I can't compare, but this version set the bar pretty high.