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Shadows - The Complete First Series [Series One]  [DVD]
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Jenny Agutter (The Railway Children), Sophie Ward (A Dark Adapted Eye), Russell Hunter (Callan), John Nettleton (Yes, Minister) and Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather) feature among the casts of this spine-tingling anthology series for younger viewers. Atmospheric, superbly scripted and filled with the unexpected, between 1975 and 1978 Shadows offered psychological and supernatural tales in which characters typically found themselves plunged into strange alternative realities, or encountering ghostly figures from the past - the young protagonists' otherworldly experiences often playing upon common teenage fears and preoccupations. Among the contributors for this first series were novelist and playwright J.B. Priestley, who co-wrote 'The Other Window' with his third wife, archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, Roger Marshall (Public Eye) and Ace of Wands creator Trevor Preston, who revived the character of magician Mr. Stabs for 'Dutch Schlitz's Shoes'.  A girl is visited by the spirit of a long-dead witch in a storm-lashed cottage...  In Victorian London, a mysterious voice calls to a young woman, beckoning her to another time and place...  For a group of teenagers, a visit to a Tudor mansion turns into a nightmare as the sinister inhabitants of the house begin to take over... But what other terrors hide among the shadows?
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Top Customer Reviews
This Thames TV production is reminiscent of some of HTV West's childrens TV productions of the same era. Some of the stories are provided by such esteemed writers as J.B. Priestley, Trevor Preston and Roger Marshall.
This Network release features all seven, series one episodes. Picture and sound quality are very good, no subtitles. The only extra is a short picture gallery.
Here is a list of the episodes, with synopsis (which features on the inside of the DVD case).
*THE FUTURE GHOST - The year is 1875, and Julia Pittman arrives in London hoping to find work as a nurse. Staying in a friend's hotel, she believes she is safe: but as thick fog descends, a voice in the night awakens her, calling her out of her room... and into another world.
Featuring Jane Wymark, Bernadette McKenna, Daphne Slater and John Nettleton.
*AFTER SCHOOL - Bryn Haffes is an ordinary comprehensive school in a Welsh mining village. But when Poodle and Seth are kept behind after school, they find themselves in the grip of a power that they cannot explain.
Featuring Gareth Thomas, Rhys Powys and Lyn Jones.
*THE WITCH'S BOTTLE - Jill might never have discovered the strange powers in her possession had she not gone to stay at her uncle's country cottage. What was the secret of the dead oak tree? And why is the mysterious Catherine so concerned about Jill?
Featuring Georgina Kean, Wendy Gifford, Neville Barber and Jasper Jacob.Read more ›
Ironically, there is almost no point talking about the episodes individually. They are so simple and small-scale that there isn't much to say. But I mean this as praise. They are delightful little things; 25-minute chunks of drama. Each one sets up a situation very effectively with attention paid to time, place and people, and then plays with it a little. It's delightful to watch. And of course if you don't like an episode, it's over very soon!
The standard line is that 70s drama was "slow and talky", but I found "Shadows" very engaging. It's a kids' show, and the makers get down to business quickly. And they do it well. In every case, I was more drawn into the story than I generally am with "Tales of the Unexpected". TOTU always feels a little disposable, as if each episode is a puzzle to be cracked and, once cracked, there's little point watching it again. The story is rather a cold mechanism. "Shadows" on the other hand feels very warm. There's a real sense of wonder, curiosity, possibility.
Another thing commonly said of modern drama is that it has more character depth. Again I think this is mistaken. In modern dramas, the characters seem to talk constantly about themselves (and their damned emotions). In "Shadows", characters speak about the story and, in doing so, reveal themselves naturally. And because they're talking about the story, you're thinking about it. This is how drama should be done!
Other people have commented on the lack of effects and CGI, and how old TV dramas managed to do without these things. It's true.Read more ›
The 1970s appear to have been awash with tv series aimed at children that had a supernatural theme.
The stories are not scary in the least but a few could prove unnerving for children-a couple of them are macabre.. Interested to know the views of those who saw it when they were kids the first time it was shown.
The scripts are intelligently written, dealing with themes of timeslips/5th dimension; ghostly re-enacting of things past, and even a bit of quantum physics thown in for good measure!.
One episode is a gem from a comedic point of view-Dutch Schiltz's Shoes. The inspired pairing of Kenneth Caswell -whose character, Luko, appears to owe a little something in appearance/facial expressions to Oddbod Jnr and Harry H Corbett's character after the potion (Carry on Screaming) and Russell Hunter as Mr Stabs - "The hand of Stabs"!!
In fact, Luko reminded me in part of Baldrick-wonder if Richard Curtis or Tony Robinson were ever Shadow fans?
The cast includes a young Pauline Quirke; Jenny Agutter; Gareth Thomas-who of course was in Children of the Stones-another gem of a series!; Sophie Ward and Gwynneth Strong (Cassandra, Only Fools & Horses).
Am looking forward to watching series 2 & 3
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great tv series that doesn't look it's age when you watch it although it takes me back to my youthPublished 13 months ago by peter crump
This series was one i didn't see as a child but sounded interesting from the reviews i read recently.I must say i was not disappointed and glad i bought this dvd. Read morePublished 17 months ago by dave hooper
Mostly excellent stories except for the utterly surreal 'Dutch Schlitz's Shoes' which I hated. Why the character 'Mr Stabs' has been given centre stage on the cover is anyone's... Read morePublished 22 months ago by MISS BELINDA J DEWAR