Sunday, 26 April 2020

Interference

Middle English Interference Jan Mark
'Interference' was an episode of the long running (1981 to 2001) ITV schools programme 'Middle English' which much like BBC Schools' much more well known 'Look and Read' featured dramatisations that often seemed designed to frankly terrify it's audience of teenies.  Beyond the jaunty reggae-ish theme tune Interference is a pretty dark haunted house story written by two time Carnegie Medal winning author Jan Mark.

Mum and three kids head to a house in the country and after a relaxing first night in front of the fire loathsome shouty dickhead dad follows along behind. When he gets there and turns the generator on they discover that the lights don't work properly and there's an old lady crying on the TV, radio, telephone and hi fi (even over Iron Maiden's Aces High).  As tensions escalate the kids begin to take matters into their own hands in an emotionally bruising third act.

Middle English Interference Jan Mark
It's an intriguing little tale which would, I imagine, have proved a harrowing and intense watch for its young audience clustered around the school television.  As is always the case with these things it looks like it was made quickly and cheaply but everyone is committed and the tension created is palpable but unlike much 80s children's TV its aged surprisingly well.

By the way, if anyone has the adaptation of Phillipa Pearce's 'Shadow Cage' that was also featured on the show then I'd love to see it.



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