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The Magician's House: Series 1 [VHS]

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ian Richardson, Neil Pearson, Katie Stuart, Christopher Redman, Olivia Coles
  • Directors: Paul Lynch
  • Producers: Karen Troubetzkoy
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Acorn
  • VHS Release Date: 30 Oct. 2000
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004YVDI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,994 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

When Mary Green and her cousins, William and Alice, spend their Christmas holidays in Wales' Golden Valley it is not long before they encounter the 400-year-old magician Stephen Walker. Stephen asks them to help him save the rare species of badger that populates the valley, they agree, and thus a spell-binding adventure begins.


Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Snuggled on the sofa on a Sunday evening in winter, the magic of this Canadian & Welsh series captivated us all. So what if Wales did look like the Canadian Rockies, the archetypal mad magician and his miraculously talking animals delighted us. The magic and the suspense in the just complicated enough story line were scary enough to make a brave six year old bury his face in fear, and to keep the rest of us riveted to the screen. It's a good basic goodies & baddies story, with plenty of furry & feathered animals, and not too twee children. A sound environmental emphasis adds a moral touch, and the old creaking house and surrounding woods are characters in their own right. The acting, adult and child, is mostly good enough to help suspend disbelief, and each episode obligingly ends on a suspenseful cliffhanger. We all enjoyed it enough to make sure that we'll be there on the sofa again for the next series, next winter.
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I was disappointed with this programme, to some extent. The main story, about the animals, is fine, it's great watching, especially for kids, makes you think of Narnia and things like that, but the under current of the miserable girl and the mum-to-be? Rubbish. Nothing to do with the books at all. The three children are brother and sisters, and they have come to stay with their Uncle and his girlfriend. They explain in the book why they're not married - the book was written in 1990 when it was just becoming acceptable not to be married but still live together. And also, there is absolutely nothing to do with Canada in the books. The books are set on the English-Welsh border, I don't know why everything has to go across the Atlantic to be deemed acceptable these days. I was disappointed, the main point of the story was lost and the rest of it was incorrect.
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The Magician's House (Series One) contains six episodes on two cassettes. The main story is a fantastic tale featuring a five hundred year-old magician played by the wonderful Ian Richardson (To Play the King, An Ungentlemanly Act, lots of stage work, etc, etc) who lives in a secret room behind the chimney of a huge old house and must enlist the aid of some children to preserve the magic atmosphere of the house and the valley it sits in. There are talking animals and an evil apprentice to deal with. The film is beautifully shot in Canada by BBC Wales, and this part can be a delight for young people.
There is also a very heavy-handed subplot involving a thoroughly demoralised girl from a broken home who hates her father's new girlfriend and plots with the evil apprentice to harm the potential step-mother's unborn baby. This part of the story is hammered home relentlessly and is at times very nasty, thoroughly getting in the way of the good bits and spoiling, my family fel, the really grand tale of magic and adventure that surrounds it. The unhappy young girl is just too nasty, too sloppy, too disagreeable to be very likable while the step mom-to-be is too nice to dislike (and why make her just a girlfriend, rather than a wife?). At a certain point it seemed the makers wanted the young unhappy girl to be covered in some sort of holy glory at being from a divorced home - aside from being too heavy-handed, our family just started wondering where the magician had got to.
There is also a very violent scene involving some stereotyped local yobs hunting down endangered badgers for sport with viscious dogs - again, another scene both out of place and unsuitable for young children.
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