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4.4 out of 5 stars82
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 October 2011
You only have to read other reviews to see just how great this series was when it was first broadcast back in the seventies. I won't comment on the series itself as it goes without saying that it was absolutely superb. I'll comment more on this new 'Network' edition. This is a two-disc edition, with the entire series being housed on the first DVD and the second DVD gives you 'tasters' of other programmes that were made around the same era by HTV West. 'Sky' is featured on there, as well as 'King of the Castle' amongst others, and I already have the DVD of 'Sky' (again distributed by Network). The only thing I think that's a shame is that it doesn't feature the interviews with Peter Graham Scott and Gareth Jones that were featured on the previous 'Second Sight' single disc edition. However, I'm really pleased that 'Network' managed to get the distribution rights as the 'Second Sight' edition seemed to go out of print shortly after it first came out. At least it will have a much longer shelf life with 'Network', and they've released many other great programmes from the past. Get this DVD today and enjoy QUALITY TV - in the days when X-Factor and Big Brother had never even been heard of! Oh if only we could turn back the clock! Happy Day to all who read this! If you watch this series you will indeed all be happy ones!
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on 23 March 2013
Filmed during the legendary drought summer of 1976 and broadcast in 1977 - The Children of the Stones was and is the most frightening children's tv programme ever made. It scared the life out of me when I first watched it as a 6 year old. I only watched it once but the impact has never left me. From the scary opening sequence, with the spooky music and eerie shots of the stones of Avebury circle. I've just watched it again after 36 years and have been impressed how well it has aged. Its still atmospheric and the plot is intelligent. They call it "The Wicker Man" for children. I agree. Best children's tv show ever.
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on 9 December 2011
Having vaguely remembered this spooky series form so long ago it was great to see it again and compare my memory with the original experience.

If you allow for all production styles of the time and that the series was aimed at children this remains a great piece of entertainment and a story I suspect could easily be remade in the same form in the future, or a movie?
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on 16 April 2012
Yes before X Factor and all the other rubbish we have today came Children of the Stones. As if this series was not amazing enough it was made better by the fact many parents disapproved of their kids watching this stuff much like they did with the fantastic Ace of Wands. I thought there was another kidult programme in the 70s about stone circles as well as Children of the Stones as I seem to remember one where the stones moved or was I just eating to much food colouring!

Children of the Stones was great and everytime I watch the dvd I am sad when it gets to the last episode as I want it to go on forever and transport me back to what I see as better times and you could get GREEN Angel Delight - anybody remember that??????? There was everything to look forward maybe get a flat with my best friend just like the Liverbirds. Now theres just the dvds, the failed marriage and my 50th birthday fast approaching so if you know where to buy a time machine with at least 6 months tax on it let me know.

Happy Days
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on 18 October 2011
... it would probably all be like Children of the Stones.

This is perfection on a silver disc.

Very few old TV shows completely live up to fond childhood memories. Production values, fashion, acting styles have all changed so much. It's almost miraculous that this vaguely science fictional "young adult" equivalent of the Wicker Man stands up to repeat viewings now. It really does deserve that over-used title "a genuine classic".

The hero is a teenage boy whose astro-scientist dad is investigating the strange properties of the stone circle that surrounds a too-perfect English country village. He quickly notices that everyone except newcomers are just too spookily happy with their lot. He makes friends with the two other "normal" teens in the village, and a mad old tramp, but it's soon clear that the threat of becoming blissed-out zombies hangs over them all.

It's classically claustrophobic and suspenseful without being "old fashioned" (except, ironically, for the fashions). The race against time to discover the secret of the always-too-suspicious lord of the manor is even scarier because almost everything happens in daylight.

The golden age cast includes Iain "Budgie" Cuthberston, Gareth "Blake's 7" Thomas and Freddie "unsung genius" Jones. If you like this try to track down comedy series The Ghosts of Motley Hall, which has dated but now exudes period charm.)

Genuinely not for very young children. Ideal for middle aged post-youths.
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on 25 June 2013
This was a reminder of when children's TV was good quality, well made and very entertaining. The storyline in this fantastic series is well written and very intelligent and even when watching it again with my 11 and 13 yr olds, very scary!
I have heard it is being made into a musical too. Yes, the special effects are dated but this does not detract from the sinister characters or the spookiness of the music and the chanting. Always a cliffhanger at the end of each episode wanting you to quickly watch the next!
A great series for teenagers and maybe their parents too to reminisce their youth in the late 70's.
A must-have for your DVD collection!
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Back in the 1970s when they still made children's drama serials, ITV did a nice line in ghost stories and supernatural thrillers, and 1977's Children of the Stones is one of the best. It's a Nigel Kneale-ish tale of a researcher and his son who move into a village to investigate the ancient standing stones that encircle the village, and a very strange village it is too, the population divided into a few unhappy newcomers and the `Happy Ones' who are unfailingly polite and welcoming enough to put anyone off their ease. But after a while even outsiders have a change of heart and no-one ever leaves the village...

The crux of the story may be a more cheerful incarnation of alien body snatching, but the motive is one of misguided altruism, and the show makes much of the subtle pressure to fit in in closed communities, even ones that exist, possibly literally, in a parallel time of their own that's entirely self-contained from the rest of the world. It's played for real and surprisingly well acted with finely judged performances: the local lord of the manor and astronomer is a part many actors would have hungrily devoured and played to the gallery, but Iain Cuthbertson gives a superbly judged turn, never going for cheap menace or ominous ambiguity but remaining a thoroughly pleasant and believable figure. Even Freddie Jones as the local outcast who feels more than he understands avoids the temptation to give into the full-blown ham that's his more steady diet, while Gareth Thomas - only a year away from Blake's Seven - and Peter Demin make a credible father and son pair of scientifically grounded heroes. Although it reaches a satisfying conclusion, the central mystery is never fully explained because it can't be fully explained - even the magus at the heart of the mystery doesn't understand it himself - while its resolution may instead be the story's beginning in a place where time itself may be circular. It may not be as chilling as its reputation, but it's a children's drama that doesn't patronise and can be enjoyed equally by adults - especially those partial to Nigel Kneale's brand of horrific but intelligent speculative science fiction. It's just a shame about the swivel chair bits...

While Second Sight's original DVD release contained interviews with Thomas and director Peter Graham Scott, Network's DVD offers a booklet, stills gallery and a selection of episodes from other HTV children's series (Sky, King of the Castle, The Clifton House Mystery and Into the Labyrinth). As with Second Sight's release, all seven episodes are included in their original broadcast format rather than the edited feature-length version that was released on VHS many years ago by Guild. The picture quality is variable but more than acceptable considering how few shows of that era still exist in their entirety.
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on 5 July 2012
This is a series that I should have seen as a child, but for some reason didn't. Children of the Stones is a television drama produced by HTV in 1976. It was broadcast on the ITV network over January and February 1977. That's probably the reason I never saw it...mine was principally a BBC household. But that was my loss, because it is absolutely fantastic.

This is certainly one of my top favourite DVD's. I've watched it over and over again without really tiring of it. Maybe I can appreciate these things more as an adult, but there's a uniquely charged atmosphere to these New-Age pseudo-pagan fantasies; Children of the Stones combines an educated stance and a spookiness in a way that only 1970's production values could have done. It's pretty much in the same mold as The Wicker Man or the classic works of Nigel Kneale such as Murrain. It is certainly a highly atmospheric production, and has what Wikipedia describes as "sinister, discordant wailing voices heightening the tension on the incidental music...[a] chant in accordance with the megalithic rituals referred to in the story".

The series is set in a village within a stone circle, which is clearly Avebury, though it is called Milbury here. It centres around an astrophysicist played by Gareth Thomas of Blakes 7 fame, and his young son Matthew. They arrive in the village to do some research into the stones (though why an astrophysicist should be particularly qualified is left unexplained). They meet up with a museum curator and her daughter who provide a certain amount of female interest, if not quite love interest for the more recent arrivals. It soon becomes apparent that the other inhabitants of the village are not quite as they seem. It has something to do with the stones...and a mysterious squire-like figure who seems to lead it all, and a Welsh poacher who knows something he can't - or won't - explain...
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Children of the Stones is a classic example of edgy and thought-provoking drama aimed at young people but intelligent enough to appeal to everyone. Its compelling plot and eerie atmosphere places COTS firmly up there with the likes of the marvellous Owl Service and Noah's Castle. Furthermore, set against the hugely evocative backdrop of the Avebury stone circle (and a few shots around West Kennet long barrow and Silbury hill) and with such accomplished actors as Gareth Thomas and the masterful Iain Cuthbertson, COTS is an uniquely satisfying experience.

I loved it when I first watched it as a young teenager and loved it today!

All seven episodes are presented in excellent picture quality and clear, but obviously mono, sound. The soundtrack includes some decidedly creepy chants and moans from the "Ambrosia Singers". The bonus interviews are both enlightening and entertaining.

Only possible criticism is that the conclusion is rather enigmatic and provides more questions than answers, but I can happily live with that and it's fun to speculate on the implications of that last scene!

Go on - treat yourself to 3 hours of classic TV heaven!
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on 21 September 2012
I still remember this series the first time it was shown on TV, and it both fascinated and scared me as a kid. One of those shows you watched between your fingers. Haven't seen it since 1977 until now, and I was so pleased I bought it. OK it looks dated, but the story is still just as great, probably better than I remember! Totally recommend this to anyone who's into wierd original stories like me! No wonder us kids who grew up in the 60's and 70's are now slightly crazy 40 somethings!!
Mel
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