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Dramarama: Spooky - The Complete Series [ITV] [Network] [DVD]

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Faith Brook, Nicholas Ball, Suzanne Neve, Terence Rigby, Wilfird Brambell
  • Directors: John Woods, Richard Handford, John Stroud, Vic Hughes
  • 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: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Aug. 2011
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004W2FZLQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,140 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Providing a showcase for some of Britain s most accomplished screenwriters, Dramarama was an acclaimed 1980s anthology series which became a staple part of children s television viewing and is still widely remembered today. Spooky aired shortly before the main series was broadcast, exploring the supernatural vein that would appear throughout Dramarama s run. These outstanding screenplays venture into the dark corners of the imagination to create some of the most spine-tingling scenes ever seen on children s television! Nicholas Ball, Wilfrid Brambell and Colin Jeavons are among the performers; high-calibre writers include BAFTA-Award winner Paula Milne, Grange Hill contributor Jane Hollowood, and authors Leon Garfield and Alan Garner, both recipients of the Carnegie Medal for children s literature.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Colin Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Broadcast in 1983, and preceeding the forthcoming "Dramarama" series by a few months, the anthology collection "Dramarama Spooky" gets things off to an entertaining start, with a collection of seven, 25-minute supernatural dramas, a goodly mix of the spooky and menacing, with intelligent and thought-provoking stories provided by the likes of Paula Milne, Jane Hollowood, Leon Garfield and Alan Garner (The Owl Service).

Aimed at a young audience, the plays manage to achieve an effective level of atmosphere, with good performances from a cast that includes a number of familiar faces. The series kicks off in impressive fashion, with the atmospheric ghost story "War Games With Caroline". The fourth story "The Ghostly Earl" has a more humorous, light-hearted feel. Although I found some stories to be better than others, overall this is an entertaining collection, a series intended for children maybe, but with plenty for adults to enjoy as well. Although I'm more than old enough to remember this series, I never saw it first time round so my review is not clouded by nostalgia.

This collection is reminiscent of the 1970's supernatural childrens TV series "Shadows" (another Thames TV production). So if you enjoyed those tales, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending "Spooky" for your perusal.

Picture and sound quality are good, no subtitles. The only extra is a 2-minute image gallery. The inside of the DVD case features an episode synopsis, which I have included below.

*WAR GAMES WITH CAROLINE - The year is 1983. Kevin, a schoolboy addicted to war games, is visited by the ghost of a girl begging for help amid the terror and confusion of a real war. The date: October 1943.
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Format: DVD
This series has been compared to an earlier Thames production, Shadows, which had aired from 1975 to 1978. 5 years had passed since then so you might expect a very different world, but it's alarming how similar Spooky is to its predecessor. It's still shot on tube cameras and the actors are still RP. There are differences: bluescreening has improved, camera work is slightly slicker, editing is better, titles look much cleaner, and the electronic music is clearly digital. But crucially, it still feels like the 70s, as if you're watching the last of that era of television.

The storytelling is also slightly more grown-up than in Shadows. Shadows had its great episodes (The Waiting Room etc.) but its worst episodes were generally so because of an excess of childishness. In Spooky, there's a new layer of "knowingness"; you sense the writers are playing with the medium in a way that never occurred to the Shadows writers. Not that this makes the stories any better - indeed, given time this postmodern knowingness did serious damage to TV drama, especially children's, which eventually became totally sarcastic and trivial. At their best, Shadows and Spooky have a kind of seriousness, a willingness to trust children, that was soon to be lost and will likely never be recovered. We're all too clever nowadays!

Now a few notes on each episode...

War Games With Caroline
This is a competently written and directed episode that, sadly, just doesn't have much going for it. The story is thin and predictable. Would perhaps have been better as a 10-minute piece. Nice sets, adequate performances, special effects for their own sake.

The Exorcism of Amy
A badly written and bizarrely made episode which, in the end, doesn't even make sense.
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Ok so my memory of watching these episodes as a 15 year old may have become rose tinted some 30 years later but there are few truly 'spooky' moments. I have recently watched the first instalement of 'Shadows' which is some 7 years older but much more 'spooky' - so it's not my current age! ;o)

It was ok, but some episodes were very poorly executed to be honest. If you want something a little darker for children I recomend Shadows Series 1 (Series 2 is awful) Children of the Stones and King of the Castle.
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Re-lived one of my oldest memories with the drummer boy episode. The others weren't as good, but for people my age this is a good buy!
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Bought this DVD as a gift but ended up watching it myself. Some of the stories are very good but others just leave you asking what was the point in that?
Calling it spooky is not something I would use to describe the series but I am watching it through a cynical adults eyes rather than the teenager i once was.
Would recommend this DVD if you want to indulge in some well wriiten scripts & 80's nostalgia.
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