British Early 90's Period Children's' TV at its Simplest, Unpretentious Best
I saw every episode of this back in 1993 when it premiered on the BBC,and it's fascinating watching it 25 years later as a 35- year- old!
These were the days when the media (and children alike) still appreciated period authenticity on TV; no modernisation or trendiness (save the future scene!).
Based on the classic Children's Book 'Five Children And It',it tells the story of 4 children in 1910's England who stay with their (dowdy spinster) Aunt Marchmont while their younger sibling/s have Scarlet Fever. They meet the Sand Fairy, or 'Psammead' (who's easy to mistake for a Jim Henson Puppet!) who makes all their wishes come true. That's ALL their wishes,even the ones they make as a mere figure of speech: "I wish I was invisible"; Aunt Marchmont's wish to be a child again,etc!
For the sake of this being a period but early-90's production, a favourite episode is the one where they wish to go (80 years?) into the future. They visit their house - now upgraded with refrigeration and electrical appliances - where a supposed great- granddaughter has a junior acid-house party; plenty of sloppy clothes and curtains to boost!
An considerable cast were adopted. Anna Massey plays the Aunt; think the French woman in Darling Buds Of May. The young actors who played the children were perhaps infinite unknowns; Laura Clarke and Toby Ufindell-Phillips each appear to have acted in only 1 other production. I suppose it displays the BBC's genuine pursuit of scouting fresh new talent from an basic, non-prestigious outlet.
I was also interested to find out that this production was quite big in the USA (where it was directly titled 'Return Of The Sand fairy); I'm glad they're fond of BBC TV over there!
All in all, I'll give it 9/10 for being genuine, authentic, upfront, funny, and a simply delightful production from an time when UK TV was at its climax of class,entertainment and overall quality.
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