For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had on-and-off memory flashes of a Sunday tea-time Children’s serial broadcast (once) in 1971. This was an eight part series called The Intruder, adapted from the novel of the same name by the then-popular writer of teenage fiction, John Rowe Townsend, and directed by the same guy that was responsible for the ground-breaking adaptation of Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (not that I was aware of such distinctions then).
We watched it avidly, we being myself, my mother and sister. Sunday tea was arranged so as not to conflict with it (it was in the 5.45 – 6.15 slot, if I remember correctly).
The reason my mother was equally interested in a series aimed at my generation (15) was that The Intruder was filmed primarily on location in Ravenglass, which which we were all very familiar, not to mention the family connection to the place via my Great Grandad.
It was a curious series, about a teenager who guided tourists across the local sands. His name, which I’ve had to look up, was Arnold Haithwaite (impeccably Cumbrian) and his life was put into a spin by the arrival at his grandad’s of a guest who went by the name of Sonny, but whose real name was Arnold Haithwaite. The ‘real’ Arnold Haithwaite. He was played by the magnificently oily and creepy Milton Johns.
My mother wasn’t impressed with the series, but then she preferred her television entertainment to be down to earth and straightforward and be something where you always knew where you stood. I wasn’t much better impressed (and I knew better than to pay too much attention to the scene with the girls in bikinis) but that was because I wasn’t yet attuned to stories that didn’t come out in the open and made you work things out yourself.
The series prompted me to borrow the book from the Library, and to read a half dozen more of Townsend’s books over the next couple of years, until I grew into adult literature and left such things behind.
As I say, something sparked a memory recently, and I’ve been meaning to look up Townsend/the book/the series, but kept forgetting. Now I’ve done so, in time to discover the recent announcement that the TV series will be coming out on DVD, in April 2016. When, of course, I shall buy it.
I’m looking forward to seeing what I make of it, to seeing Ravenglass as it was in a time when we were always going there, indeed twice we took a holiday cottage on the main street, backing onto the estuary, and also to being taken back to our old lounge at Burnage, with the TV in the corner and the three of us in our usual seats, glued to the screen.
And when I do, I’ll talk about it here.
This sort of thing tends to happen a lot around me. Excuse me, I’m just going to check and see if, by any chance, that glorious 1979 adaptation of John Buchan’s Huntingtower is also about to be released on DVD. I missed the last episode of that, and I think I deserve to see how it all came out.