Carrie and Nick Willow have been sent to the countryside and are taken in by the Evanses with there auntie Lou and the scary Mr Evans. The Willows are quite happy here. They like to go to ...
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Carrie and Nick Willow have been sent to the countryside and are taken in by the Evanses with there auntie Lou and the scary Mr Evans. The Willows are quite happy here. They like to go to visit their friend Albert Sandwich and his guardians Hephzibah Mister Jonny and the Evanses sister who no-one sees. Everything is well until Carrie makes the worst choice she ever has...
Oh it was so long ago! I must have watched this series as a child in the early eighties, and now discover it was made as early as 1974.
But the memories are vivid, and reinforced by the book - which I feel is amongst the finest written for children - and which the film, as I recall it, recreated beautifully.
Carrie, 12, and her little brother Nick, 9, are evacuated from London early in the War to spend a year about as far removed from their previous lives as could be - a small Welsh mining town in the shadow of a huge slag-pile and shot through with strict non-conformist piety. They are billeted with the fearsome old Councillor Evans, and his kind but put-upon timorous younger sister - Auntie Lou.
All this is evoked in flashback as Carrie returns to the valley more than thirty years later, and tells the story to her own children. They have just lost their father and Carrie's friendship with Albert, another, slightly older evacuee, gains poignancy from what we see and she doesn't - at least at the time. These subtle depths are what make all the best children's writing and drama so appropriate for adults as well - and the film should appeal to a wide age range. Younger children will identify with Nick in seeing Mr Evans as a frightening, hateful - though almost comic - ogre. Older or more sensitive ones will see a lonely old man to whom life has been hard - as Carrie learns to do.
I don't think the harsh realities and unexpected compensations of evacuation have ever been better captured. You may have trouble catching this series - I don't know when it was last repeated and there is no video. But the book is widely available, and Nina Bawden's novel is her masterpiece.
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