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The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]


Price: £10.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
29 new from £9.48 4 used from £8.06 1 collectible from £19.81
£10.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969] + Children of the Stones: The Complete Series [DVD] + The Clifton House Mystery - The Complete Series [DVD] [1978]
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Product details

  • Actors: Gillian Hills, Francis Wallis, Michael Holden
  • Directors: Peter Plummer
  • Writers: Alan Garner
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Mono
  • 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: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 28 April 2008
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015B04HW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,627 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

All eight episodes of the late-sixties TV series about a girl, holidaying with her family in a remote Welsh valley, who stumbles upon ancient magical forces. Alison (Gillian Hills), along with step-brother Roger (Francis Wallis), are spending a few weeks of the summer in Wales, at a house formerly owned by Alison's late father. After discovering a set of dinner plates in the attic, Alison traces the plates' flower pattern onto paper, discovering that they fold in turn into owls. Soon, the house starts to reveal hidden secrets, compelling Alison to experience an ancient legend brought back to life.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 99 people found the following review helpful By G. Thomas VINE VOICE on 6 May 2008
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I was reading "The Owl Service" on holiday in Wales (1978) when, as a total coincidence, I first saw this series. At the time it seemed otherworldly and slightly confusing to an impressionable 13 year old boy. The phrase "She wants to be flowers and you make her owls" has haunted me for 30 years. Finally I can see it all and appreciate that which I was too young to fully understand at the time.

I'm glad to say that the passing of time has not diminished the slightly off-kilter atmosphere of this classic series. Unlike much of "children's TV drama" these days, "The Owl Service" keeps you off-balance and intrigued as to what's actually going on.
This is an intensely claustrophobic story of relationships within a very English (step) family and the staff of their holiday home. Set in an oppressive Welsh valley it focuses specifically on the experiences and tensions between three teenagers who are forced to relive an ancient "mythical" conflict. Using a tale from "The Mabinogion" as the basis for the conflict it explores the difficulty of growing up and dealing with attraction, jealousy, alienation, the pressures of family, responsibility and even national identity but places it all within a subtly creepy supernatural setting.

The acting may now seem slightly stilted and the patronising "Granada-enforced" recaps do somewhat spoil the deliberate ambiguity of certain events but the meaning and power of the story has survived intact and "The Owl Service" provides some of the most "adult" children's TV you will ever have the good fortune to see.

edit: A special honourable mention must be paid to Roger's shorts :)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ed Alexander on 19 Jan. 2012
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Several reviewers have already laid out The Owl Service more elegantly than I can. I can only reiterate - this is, along with Potter's Pennies From Heaven and Burnham/Ray's Children of the Stones, a shining moment in independently-minded british tv broadcasting from the 70s (OK first broadcast in 1969 in mono but I saw it last in colour in 1978). It has aged well - good yarns never go out of date, whatever the age of the supposed "target audience". They think we're all remedial now and can't handle complexity of narrative and theme, let alone ambiguity.

There's a welcome little booklet with the double dvd, and a superb period interview with its much underrated writer, Alan Garner, in the extras. Kudos to network for bothering to include these items.

I thought the original film grading could have been much improved - lots of underexposed / overexposed scenes that could have been recovered with modern digital processing - maybe this is part of the charm for some though. And it's not PC - slightly too much flesh is shown for the weather conditions. Depth and breadth is what you get if you look past these flaws though.

Trivia - the father/stepfather played by Edwin Richfield is also the very annoyed government minister in Quatermass and the Pit (took me a couple of nights to remember where I'd seen him last.)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Couch Banana on 11 Sept. 2010
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It all looks so old fashioned now, younger viewers may not have the patience to stick with it but I watched this first time round in the 60s when I was about 8 years old and read all of Alan Garner's books.Had a massive crush on Gillian Hills too.I have wanted to get hold of a copy of this for years, it's every bit as good as I remember it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. M. Evans on 3 Feb. 2013
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This is a breath of fresh air to someone my age, 58, who fondly remembers this adaptation of Alan Garner's great book. It was a very forward-thinking production, with just the right amount of atmosphere and edginess, not an overly-wordy script and very good production values. I have always thought of it as a classic and I am very happy to add this DVD to my collection. The interview with Alan Garner is especially thought-provoking and informative and I would recommend this DVD to anyone who hankers after the good old days of quality television, let alone childrens' productions. They don't make them like they used to and this DVD pays good tribute to that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cw Evans-gunther on 1 Jun. 2012
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I read the book first when it was originally published and found it fascinating. Then I saw the series and the later repeat. And now there is a chance to watch it again with older and wiser (one hopes) eyes. Garner weaved a fascinating story that left an impression on me from the novel and the TV drama series.

I saw Alan Garner lecture at a course in South Wales in the 1990s and was impressed by the way he talked about his works. Both he and his books are of great interest. He has an interest family and background and his books tell quite fascinating stories. The Owl Service particularly blends both the present (of the time production, though dated now) and the ancient past, reality and legend. That the drama was produced in North Wales and on the Wirral is nice since I live in that part of the world myself. I was in my late teens when I read the novel, in my early adulthood when I watched the TV drama and now in middle age seeing the TV drama in DVD form. And in all three periods the story continues to haunt. Today it is less scary than it was originally but nevertheless haunting and memorable.

An aside is that the Stone of Gronw was made special for the series and set up by a river. Years later in the different valley in North Wales a stone with a hole cut through it was found in a river by archaeologists.
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