Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Waiting Room

Title screen from Shadows - The Waiting Room
The producers of 'Shadows', a mid 70s supernatural anthology series for kids, had a talent for attracting well respected writers and actors to their programme.  Here on Wyrd Britain we've already featured an episode written by Susan Cooper ('Dark Encounter') and one by PJ Hammond ('And Now For My Next Trick') and hidden amongst the three series are episodes written by Joan Aiken, Penelope Lively, Fay WeldonJ. B. Priestley.  The casting could be equally solid with appearances from British acting stalwarts like Jacqueline Pearce, Brian Glover, Gareth Thomas and, in this case, Jenny Agutter.

'The Waiting Room' finds a brother and sister having to spend the night in a deserted and isolated railway station after missing the last train home.  Whilst there they experience a 50 year time slip to 1925 where they are witness to a train crash before a slip back to their own time sees those same events begin to repeat themselves.

Paul Henley and Jenny Agutter in Shadows - The Waiting Room
'The Waiting Room' despite it's nicely dingy single set never really manages to achieve a satisfying level of claustrophobia and you can't quite shake the feeling that you are watching a village hall am-dram production with one standout actor amongst it's cast. Agutter is, of course, rock solid and anchors the proceedings nicely but her co-star, Paul Henley, is way out of his depth and hamming it up something terrible.

With all that said though I do quite enjoy this one.  It's very old fashioned even for 1975, extremely well mannered and is very much a hark back to the classic Edwardian ghost tale which I'll probably always have a soft spot for.

Buy it here - Shadows - The Complete First Series [Series One] [1975] [DVD] - or watch it below.


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