Through the Dragon's Eye was a huge personal and family favourite in my primary school years. After finally tracking it down, it's one childhood favourite that still holds up really well, managing to educate while telling a great epic story with more imagination than most educational programmes.
Inevitably, any budget limitations (cost, time constraints and of its time) do show, especially for some of the costumes (i.e. the widgets) where it is true that that it is people being in costumes is obvious, it was so as a child and is even more so now. The photography is quite nice still though, keeping it simple while not being too much so, and the painterly-like sets are very charming and beautifully colourful. It's a very effectively and appropriately scored programme as well, complete with one of the most memorable theme songs (that and the villain Charn were my most vivid memories of Through the Dragon's Eye) of any educational/children's/family programme. Through the Dragon's Eye is also written with the right amount of humour, sense of adventure, emotion, cuteness and suspense, back at a time where educational/children's/ family programmes respected their audience, children will have no trouble understanding what's going on and adults won't find it dumbed down for them and instead be involved in the quest. The educational parts are well-placed and entertaining, and make their point very effectively without preaching or getting in the way of the story's flow.
Story-wise, Through the Dragon's Eye is a winner. The ten episodes are a good length and go quickly, and the story is very interesting with plenty of entertaining, urgent and suspenseful moments. The widget scenes in the third episode go on a touch too long, but the scenes with Charn are particularly strong and the battle between him and Gorwen while short is an epic knockout. The characters, with the exception of Doris whose bitchy attitude does get on the nerves, are mostly engaging. Had no problem with the widgets and found them quite cute, the children are appealing, Rodey has some humorous moments and Gorwen is such a noble and driven character and the main reason for my interest in dragons. The most memorable character however is Charn (even the appearance is enough to freak one out), a truly terrifying villain with a surprising sense of humour. The acting is good enough, with David Collings' menacing but entertaining Charn and Nicola Stewart's appealingly diligent Jenny standing out. Sean Barrett is also suitably firm and has a great authoritative demeanour, Charles Collingwood is sweet and fun as Rodey and the more likable Boris gets the easier it is to like Timothy Lyn more.
Overall, despite being over twenty five years old Through the Dragon's Eye holds up very well, it's very easy to see why it was so well-liked by the family as a child. 9/10 Bethany Cox