Another well-known name however has been on the move. Anna Home, the person behind so many good book-based children’s serials at the BBC, is now Head of Children’s and Young Adults’ programmes for TV South – the new company broadcasting in the south and south-east – who won the franchise from Southern. It will be interesting to see what she and her counterparts at Central (who replaced ATV) and Television South West (in Devon and Cornwall) have to offer now that the new companies are on the air. Provision of programmes for children and young adults was apparently an important issue in the IBA’s deliberations about the new contracts. Make sure you let the independent companies know what you think about their offerings. And tell us too.
Challenge to Grange Hill
Starting on 22nd March (ITV) in sixteen half-hour episodes, Murphy’s Mob about real kids acted by real kids’. The tie-in will be published by Puffin. More about it in Books for Keeps 13.
In View Soon
Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (BBC 2, March) starring Alan Badel and Diana Quick.
Plague Dogs, Richard Adams (April) an animated film from the same team who made Watership Down.
The Fox and the Hound
If you know children anxious to relive every minute of this film that they saw in the Christmas holidays when it was on general release everywhere, there are two versions on offer.
For £3.50 you can have a pop-up version (12 pages – six double spreads with paper sculpture and/or pull tab on each), with minimal story and fairly crudely drawn artwork. The moveables – with the exception of one which in my copy only succeeded in tearing the page – are averagely inventive, printed one side only. (Collins, 0 00 183765 6)
For £1.25 you can have a fairly full and detailed story and the relationships and motivations are more clearly spelled out in this version. The illustrations look like the film animations and some of them – the bear fight sequence in particular – are well up to Disney-frightening Class 1 standard. (Hippo, 0 590 70131 2)
At the end of February Fontana Lions are publishing The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, Vivien Alcock’s first novel. Publication ties in with transmission of the television series which is being networked by ITV, starting on 26th February and running for six episodes.
The Haunting of Cassie Palmer
In The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, Vivien Alcock (the wife of Leon Garfield) has written a family story involving psychic powers and a strange, ghostly figure. Cassie is the seventh child of a seventh child and this, according to her mother, means that she will inherit psychic powers. Cassie is reluctant to acknowledge her inheritance and is secretly afraid of the ‘gift’ she might have. Strange things happen when she accepts a dare to raise a spirit.
The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, Vivien Alcock. Fontana Lions, 0 00 671895 7, 95p