The Flower of Gloster
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The first Granada Television series to be filmed in colour (though initially transmitted in black and white), this popular children's adventure features a star who is 72 feet long and painted in cheerful shades of red and yellow! She is the Flower of Gloster, a converted canal barge which over the course of the series winds her way from Wales, through the inland waterways of England to the Pool of London at Tower Bridge. Blending drama with semi-improvised encounters and taking in a wealth of local history, the series offers a fascinating insight into Britain's rich canal boat heritage.
When their boatyard-owner father is injured in an accident, ten-year-old Michael, his twelve-year-old sister Elizabeth and elder brother Dick decide to deliver a narrow-boat to a buyer on his behalf. During their 220-mile trip, they make new friends but also encounter all kinds of danger and difficulties, played out against the changing pattern of the British countryside.
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As my favourite singer Stephen Duffy puts it "I'm glad that I lived in another time"
The programme is part drama and part improvised, and is very well done, so much so that it's hard to pick out the scripted parts from the ad-libbed ones. It educates about aspects of canal life, the people, working animals, wildlife, legends and cultures. Along the way there's beautiful scenery, too. The characters are mostly 'real-life' canal people, I think the only actors are Richard O'Callaghan and Annette Robertson and they blend so well and seem so natural you forget they're acting. The whole thing is just lovely, interesting, absorbing and incredibly relaxing.
For me though, even putting a huge amount of nostalgia aside, there is a phenomenal amount of historic and heritage interest. Many of the old boats pictured are still in use today - though invariably as pleasure craft. Also in this series we see working boats in the last throes of nationwide carrying of bulk goods. The old boatmen and canal workers seen were genuine people, not actors, and many of them I have also been privileged to know personally. The final, very major, plus is that the original tv show was in black and white whereas this DVD is in colour!!
it is good to look at how place's have changed or have stayed the same over the years. These days
you would not have the kids going to far from the boat, and adventuring into the woods and fields.
I remember my uncle saying years ago that he saw The Flower of Gloster on the Lancaster canal
back in the 80s, but now I'm not sure if its still around or owns it now. Great series well worth the money.