Forrest Wilson’s Supergran first appeared in paperback in 1980 and earned instant success with millions of readers. It was a genuine ‘children’s choice’ and word spread like the latest joke through schools and playgrounds with a rapidity and effectiveness which the book world would dearly love to copy if only it knew how.
Starting on Sunday 6 January (5.00 – 5.30) Supergran’s amazing feats will be visible for 13 weeks in a series of new adventures specially written for Tyne Tees TV by Jenny McDade and Forrest Wilson. The advance publicity promises a ‘spectacular all-film comic drama’. Supergran will again be using her amazing strength and super powers to thwart the evil scheming of The Scunner and his assorted side-kicks.
Spurning conventional animation, producer, Keith Richardson, and his team of directors have gone for special effects based on live action. They called in the stunt arranger who worked on Superman and the Bond films and a whole team of stunt men and women. Gudrun Ure, who plays Supergran, did some of the stunts herself, hanging from a helicopter and riding the North Sea waves on a motorised surf board.
Supergran lifts cars, pole vaults over buildings and engages in an apparently endless series of chases using weird and wonderful forms of transport, some like The Skimmer, The Flycycle and the AGB (Anti-Gravity Belt) invented by Mr Black, the man whose magic ray machine turned Gran into Supergran in the first place.
With guest appearances by Billy Connolly (who also sings the title song), George Best, Geoff Capes, John Conteh, Spike Milligan, Lulu, and lots of others, it looks like being popular Sunday viewing.
Puffin have two new collections of stories by Forrest Wilson, based on the series, which are ideal for young readers as well as dedicated older fans.
The TV Adventures of Supergran 0 14 03.1763 5
More TV Adventures of Supergran 0 14 03.1764 3
The Reverend Awdry Railway Stories
The first of the Railway Stories was published in 1945 and it wasn’t long before Thomas the Tank Engine and James the Red Engine, the Fat Controller and all the other characters were firmly established in the hearts of millions of small boys and not a few small girls. Many of those first enthusiasts are now parents and their equally enthusiastic parents are grandparents. No doubt they, along with a lot of new fans will be enjoying the animated films which are currently being shown nationally on ITV every Tuesday at 12.00 noon, with a repeat at 4.00 pm. The series, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, which began on 9 October continues for 13 weeks.
In the past the stories have been read on radio by John Gielgud, and been used for Jackanory; but this is the first time the engines have appeared on film. (The reader this time is Ringo Starr.) All this, plus a wave of engine-covered pencil cases, duvet covers, jigsaws, pyjamas and other examples of the merchandiser’s art which will soon be in the shops, comes just a year after the stories were literally given a new lease of life when Christopher Awdry, son of the Reverend, continued the series when his father had given up after 26 books, with the publication of Really Useful Engines. His second book James and the Diesel Engine came out in September.
The stories for the TV films are devised by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton but Mr Awdry has taken the plot of one film and written a story, Thomas’s Christmas Party, which Kaye and Ward have produced in a special large format with delightful pictures by Clive Spong. (He also did the illustrations for Christopher Awdry’s stories and the eight pop-ups based on abridged versions of some of the original stories. It looks like being a best seller this Christmas.
Thomas’s Christmas Party, 0 7182 1650 4, £3.95
Two books each with two stories ‘based on the TV series’ which is ‘based on the Railway stories by the Rev. W. Awdry’ are available in Ladybird.