The Secret World of Polly Flint – on screen at last
The television screenplay and the novel of Polly Flint were conceived and written together and the original plan was that the novel should appear after the television version. As it turned out the book was published in 1983; the first of six episodes in the Central Television serial starts in February.
Helen Cresswell based her story on a Nottinghamshire legend and set it in an actual location. Polly, whose imagination soars as freely as her miner dad’s pigeons, is forced to stay with her fiercely clean and stolid Aunt Em. By the lake she sees the shadowy, elusive Time Gypsies exiled from their underworld village of Grimstone which was spun out of time many centuries ago during a Maypole dance. Polly becomes involved in their efforts to escape the net of time which holds them in the upper world.
The series was all filmed on location in the Dukeries where the original story is set. Rufford Abbey, Clumber Park, the villages of Wellow and Car Colston were all invaded by television last summer.
Helen Cresswell is delighted with the casting of Katie Reynolds as Polly in her first major screen role. Katie is a member of Central’s own junior TV workshop and plays opposite Brenda Bruce as the fearsome old harridan Granny Porter. Other members of the cast include Susan Jameson as Aunt Em, Daniel Pope as Sam and Jeremy Coote as Gil. Old Mazey is played by Don Anderson.
Boz, Helen Cresswell’s dog, nearly got a part but missed the chance of stardom by a whisker. In any case he visited the set regularly, with his owner, just to check up on how the part of his namesake was being played.
Frankie’s Hat, Jan Mark’s subtle and evocative account of teenage marriage, has been filmed for television by Thames, First shown at the end of December, it will be repeated for schools in the Spring term. Frankie, married at sixteen and now the mother of eleven-week-old Simon, is visited on the eve of her seventeenth birthday by her young sister Sonia.
The story, with two others which are equally entertaining, appears in Frankie’s Hat, Viking Kestrel, 0 670 81004 5, £3.95 pbk