Sunday, 31 December 2017
The Owl Service
Alison (Gillian Hills), Gwyn (Michael Holden) and Roger (Francis Wallis) are three teenagers thrown together in an isolated Welsh farmhouse when Roger's father Clive (Edwin Richfield) and Alison's mother Margaret (who is never seen) go there for their honeymoon. The house, formerly owned by Alison's uncle Bertram is home to Gwyn and his housekeeper mother Nancy (Dorothy Edwards) and the eccentric gardener Huw (Raymond Llewellyn).
Since it's original screening, and with minimal repeat showings, The Owl Service has deservedly come to be considered as being amongst the finest pieces of supernatural television. It's beautifully filmed on location in the Welsh countryside around Dinas Mawddwy in North Wales which along with it's use of film and colour makes it a visual feast and the themes it plays with make it an unlikely children's programme and to this day feels more suited to a more mature - even if only YA - audience.
Zou Bisou Bisou) and a memorable role in the previous years 'Blow-Up' behind her was perhaps too old for the part but whose personality dominates the screen.
The pace is glacially slow which allows for the relentless building of tension but at eight episodes feels like it has been stretched to breaking point and I can't help but feel that it's originally intended seven episode (or possibly even six) run would have made for a leaner and more dynamic show. It is however a unique television experiment that pushed all manner of boundaries for a children's programme in ways that had never been done before and have rarely been done since and which combined the supernatural with the mundane in a subtle and pervasive manner that has very much stood the test of time.
Buy it here - The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD]  - or watch it below