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Shadows - The Complete First Series [Series One] [1975] [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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  • Shadows - The Complete First Series [Series One] [1975] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Jenny Agutter, Sophie Ward, Russell Hunter, John Nettleton, Pauline Quirke
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004A91QC8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,805 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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?

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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Broadcast in September/October 1975, I found this to be another enjoyable childrens drama series, which features a collection of uncomplicated and entertaining 25-minute supernatural/ghostly stories. As another reviewer has already mentioned, some stories are better than others, but overall this is a good series.
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.
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This is a series of one-off supernatural dramas. It's very low-budget and very innocent, made in 1975 by Thames Television. Each episode has the old TT clip at the start (and the intrusive Fremantle one at the end!).

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.
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These short stories are for children, however there is much for adults to appreciate. They are about the supernatural, stepping back in time, about good and evil etc. Some are excellent and others are jarring, particularly Mr Shultz shoes. It's clumsy to say the least. "After School" was my favourite. The children (two boys) are a foil to their games teacher. They are compassionate, sensitive, and funny. I saw it with different eyes after watching it for the second time. The child actors (above all - Pauline Quirke and Jenny Agutter comes second) are just naturals. Pauline is in An Optical Illusion and Jenny is in The Waiting Room. The rest are all good and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories warts and all.
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Well this is yet another gem released by Network!

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
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