The Reverend Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, and his protégé Lord Peter Dattering are visiting an Abbey library. Studying a stained glass window they uncover clues leading to a treasure hidden by a disgraced Abbot.
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Lawrence Gordon Clark
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Lawrence Gordon Clark
While cataloging the library of Barchester Cathedral, a scholar finds a diary detailing the events surrounding the mysterious death of an Archdeacon some 50 years earlier. The first of the BBC's famed 'A Ghost Story for Christmas'.
Five partially-dramatized readings of classic M.R. James ghost stories by actor Robert Powell. Including "The Mezzotint", "The Ash-Tree", "The Rose Garden", "Wailing Well" and "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad".
The Reverend Justin Somerton (Michael Bryant), a professor of Medieval History, is approached by a former pupil - Lord Peter Dattering (Paul Lavers). Dattering fears that his widowed mother is being exploited by a couple of charlatans posing as mediums and offering her the chance to commune with her late husband. Somerton agrees to attend one of their séances and outwits the fraudsters. Somerton tells Dattering of the research he has been conducting into the history of a monastery and shows him a book which details the exploits of a former Abbot - and of the treasure he is reputed to have hidden somewhere within the catacombs of the monastery. The two find a number of clues to the location of this treasure, not just in the Latin texts but in a stained glass window. They ignore the warning that the treasure is protected by a guardian - shaking Somerton's rational beliefs to the core. Written by
Formula had by now set in. Perhaps this is the fault of James? I've only read one of his stories, which was short. 'Treasure' is a bit boring, truth be told, although blessed with the meticulous direction of the great Lawrence Gordon Clark and his gift for the off beat observation. Special mention to the photography in this series, which is never less than resonant of both past and pastoral heritage.
Once again a member of clergy or academia, through detective work, is after some buried treasure which will have some sort of supernatural guardian attached. I think in Lost Hearts (my favourite of all time), it was arcane knowledge that was sought after, leading to hubris and eventual downfall.
Nothing new here then, and a rare miscalculation from Clark in having a cackling Abbot at a moment of cloying terror. However, the ending is one of the best. Chilling indeed!
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