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Chocky [DVD] [1984]

James Hazeldine , Carol Drinkwater    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: James Hazeldine, Carol Drinkwater, Andrew Ellams, Glynis Brooks, Penny Brownjohn
  • Writers: John Wyndham
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006L9X3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,745 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



First transmitted in 1984, Chocky is a six-part TV adaptation of John Wyndham's clever novel. Matthew, an apparently normal 12-year-old boy, starts talking to an invisible presence called Chocky, who quizzes him on a wide variety of subjects as if unfamiliar with life on Earth. Over the course of the serial it is suggested that Chocky is an alternate personality or, after Matthew has been helped by Chocky to rescue his sister from drowning, a guardian angel. But we realise early on that this non-imaginary friend is in fact an alien who has made exploratory contact with the boy. Though Chocky manifests as a swirl of blue light, this is a rare piece of TV science fiction that sticks to the domestic arena, exploring ideas rather than playing with special effects.

Wyndham's very 1950s-styled novel is updated by making the kids less well-spoken, and throwing in Rubik's cubes and space invaders video games, but adaptor Anthony Read's script preserves the virtues of the novel. Young Andrew Ellams is fine in a demanding role, and there's good-quality puzzled concern from dad James Hazeldine and 80s TV's resident sexy mum Carol Drinkwater. Apart from a few eye-abusing 1984 fashions--Jeremy Bulloch's huge glasses and blinding white jeans in a cameo as a psychiatrist--and the general leisurely pace, which is no bad thing in such a careful piece of drama, this has dated little. Those who remember its first broadcast will find it lives up to the memory, and those who weren't born then should still find it an entertaining watch.

On the DVD: Chocky on disc can be accessed as a marathon two-and-a-half-hour watch or as six individual episodes (the latter is recommended). Print quality is fine given the techniques of its production. A nice extra is a 20-minute, in-depth chat with writer Anthony Read. --Kim Newman

Product Description

DVD Special Features
Interview with Anthony Read

Running Time: 2 hrs 32 mins
Ratio: 4:3
Audio: Mono

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sequel To A Great Original 24 Jun 2005
An awful lot of sequels don't measure up to the original story, but this is one which does.
This serial takes up Matthew Gore's story a year or so after the end of "Chocky". He is now 13, though still much more the bright child than the adolescent. I don't know if anyone else has ever commented on it, but the actor (Andrew Ellams)bears a remarkable physical resemblance to the boy shown in Harry Willock's cover picture on the original (1968) Penguin edition of "Chocky" itself. Over that year, he has concentrated on his artistic talents, carefully avoiding anything which would interest the sinister forces who kidnapped him,and who, it emerges, are still keeping him under discreet surveillance.
Staying with an aunt in the country whilst his parents and sister are away, Matthew comes into contact with Albertine, about his own age, who is the genius daughter of a reclusive scientist living nearby. They discover that they are able to communicate by telepathy, and Matthew becomes convinced that Albertine must be another child like himself, who has been visited by Chocky. Albertine is at first unconvinced, but has an enforced rethink when the same bunch who kidnapped Matthew now come after her.This compels Chocky, who apparently never went too far away, to re-enter Matthew's life so the two of them can see to Albertine's rescue. This is accomplished with the aid of numerous other superkids (the "children" of the title)whom Chocky has contacted all over the world, and who have some strange mental powers.
All in all, and though written long after his death, this sequel stays pretty faithful to Wyndham's original story, and even has echoes of his other work.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpretentious and Enjoyable. 17 Jun 2005
It is always with a bit of trepidation that I approach the film or tv version of a book I liked, wondering whether it will come over so well on the screen. "Chocky", I am glad to say, is one that did and does.
I first read it not long after it was written, and always liked it. Its theme, which has seen quite a bit of use both before and since, is that of "first contact" with an alien being made by a child. 12-year-old Matthew Gore starts hearing "voices" from an alien life form, and the rest of the book is largely his and his adoptive parents' attempts to come to terms with the phenomenon.
The characters, though perhaps better educated than the average, are basically a pretty ordinary lot, and are completely bewildered by what is going on. Matthew's mother, in particular, takes a very good part as she is driven almost hysterical in her attempts to deal with what is happening to her son, and one of my regrets aboout the sequels is that she did not appear in them. The father manages to stay a bit calmer, and gradually comes to accept that Chocky is real and not a psychiatric phenomenon, but he too is as out of his depth as one might expect in such a situation. As for Matthew himself, to my mind he looks and acts a bit younger than his supposed age, coming over more like a bright ten-year-old, but then his original was a 1950s (or at most early 1960s) twelve-year-old, not a 1980s one, so perhaps the makers of the serial were being true to their source.
In this they were consistent.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chocky 16 July 2003
I was only 6 years old in 1984 when this series first aired but remember really enjoying at the time. It's often a mistake returning to a show you loved as a kid as they rarely live up to how you remember them. With this in mind, I was really pleased and surprised that 19 years on, and apart from being slightly dated, I found it very enjoyable indeed. I was especially impressed with the performance of the young lead (Matthew) and of the late James Hazledean (Matthew's father). It's an intelligent and thoughtful series and certainly does not speak down to it's audience. It certainly hits home how children's TV has fallen from grace in the last decade. If you enjoyed this series 19 years ago i don't think you will be disappointed. If you haven't seen it before, then I recommend it. Especially John Wyndham fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By chinhealer VINE VOICE
This was a favourite of mine as a child/pre-teen when it was first broadcast. I have always remembered its unusual sensibility (although I wouldn't have called it that at the time!) and the fact that it evoked some fairly intense emotions in me. What I didn't remember - and what I have just rediscovered after watching it for the first time in more than two decades - was just how high-brow and intelligent the whole thing was without being pretentious. The series explores adult themes such as the nature of reality, the nature of the self, concepts of discarnate entities and morality and self-control and, more obliquely, adults' fears of pubescence and pubescents' feelings of alienation. This is weighty stuff and comes as a stark reminder of how utterly banal and low-aiming most children's programmes of today are. Actually, I hesitate to categorize Chocky under 'Kids' TV'. It deserves a far wider audience than that. And in terms of acting, script, direction and atmosphere it knocks the socks off most adult TV drama series of today, anyway! And, sure, many of today's children and teens weaned on a junk-TV diet of Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Suite Life... et al might be a bit nonplussed by the thoughtful, unhurried pace of Chocky, its unflashy, rather dour mise-en-scene and its philosophical musings. But that's all the more reason to expose them to it. Where else, exactly, are they going to get such gravitas from today's schedules? Besides which, much of Matthew's wardrobe seems to have been modelled on my own from the 80s! (Which leads me to believe, ahem, that I was dead fashionable in retrospect!)
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