Every enthusiast of television drama should own this book. It works as an ultimate guide for absolute researchers, a diet of unprovoked nostalgia for adults and a stark reminder for all that drama for children was once a rich and challenging kingdom of creative grit and imagination.
The Hill and Beyond covers every British Children's drama from 1950 through until 2001, discussing them in depth through individual entries that offer a story synopsis, brief critique, transmission dates and cast and production credits.
The calibre of writing is top-drawer, demonstrating strong structure, a sound grasp of each drama's intent and a wry and dry sense of humour that doesn't sacrifice the authors' professionalism. In fact my only complaint is that I feel that the authors have tried just a little to hard to sell the positives of each and every drama regardless of its actual merit. Nevertheless, the book shines through the desire and zest of its authors and the best writing by far can be located in the drama entries. Must read examples include The Paper Lads, Sky, King of the Castle, The Snow Spider, Grange Hill and The Ginger Tickler.
The book also comes complete with unique quality stills not just from a plethora of dramas throughout the years but also of rare Radio Times, Look-In and videocassette covers, further demonstrating the scale of the authors' research and the hard graft involved in constructing The Hill and Beyond.
What else can I say? The individual who considers this book to be dull is missing the point. The hill and Beyond eclipses the rather lazy Encyclopaedia of British Children's Television and stands tall as one of the must-buy books for television enthusiasts.