Faerie Tale Theatre (1982–1987)
2 user 1 critic

The Pied Piper of Hamelin 

1:05 | Trailer





Episode credited cast:
Eric Idle ... The Pied Piper of Hamelin / Robert Browning
Tony Van Bridge Tony Van Bridge ... Mr. Edward Fisher / Mayor
Keram Malicki-Sánchez ... Willie / Lame Boy
Peter Blais Peter Blais ... Julius Caesar Rat
Peter Boretski ... Bernard the Necromancer
James Edmond James Edmond ... Alderman
Tom Harvey Tom Harvey ... Alderman
Kenneth Wickes Kenneth Wickes ... Alderman
Chris Wiggins Chris Wiggins ... Alderman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Buza ... Townsperson
Michael Fletcher Michael Fletcher ... Townsperson
Graham Harley Graham Harley ... Townsperson
Kay Hawtrey ... Townsperson
Charles Hayter Charles Hayter ... Townsperson
Susannah Hoffmann Susannah Hoffmann ... Townswoman


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Release Date:

5 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where the rats have "split open the kegs of salted sprats", the line "Send for Tybalt, the rat-catcher!" is heard. This is a reference to Mercutio's insult to Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 1. See more »


The Pied Piper: If you break the promise that you made... this is the only time I'll warn... by the time the sun has changed to shade, you'll wish you all were never born!
Mayor: Do you threaten us, fellow? Go, do your worst! Blow your pipe until you burst!
[the councillors make sounds of agreement]
The Pied Piper: So be it.
[he turns to leave, but at the door turns back]
The Pied Piper: Hamelin's... cursed!
[he leaves, closing the door behind him]
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally broadcast, this episode included a scene featuring the one rat who didn't drown, known as the Julius Caesar Rat, played by Peter Blais. The rat delivers a dramatic, poetic monologue from inside a well. This scene was included in the Playhouse Video VHS release, but for unspecified reasons, it failed to appear on any DVD releases, though Blais is still credited. See more »

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User Reviews

'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' comes to 'Faerie Tale Theatre'
29 June 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

There is a lot to like about the 'Faerie Tale Theatre' series. Many of their adaptations of various well-known and well-loved fairy tales are charming, clever and sometimes funny, a few even emotionally moving. 'Faerie Tale Theatre' puts its own magical spin (whether playing for laughs or straight) on the best of the episodes while still capturing the essence of the stories, while also giving further enjoyments in seeing talented performers in early roles or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.

'Faerie Tale Theatre' is one of those shows where misfires are very few if any, lesser episodes like "Pinocchio", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Nightingale" still having many good elements and being decent overall. "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is not quite my favourite 'Faerie Tale Theatre' episode, having a slight preference for (talking of the episodes previous to this for a second) "Hansel and Gretel", "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers", "The Three Little Pigs", "The Snow Queen" and "Snow Queen and the Seven Dwarfs".

It is still great however, if more for adults and older children than younger ones. While many are more intelligent and take things much easier generally than most give them credit for, the portrayal of the rodents is authentically scary, which may frighten some (enough though will find it very effective and it doesn't come over as hokey at all when older). Also familiarity with the character of the Pied Piper and the poem will benefit hugely those to understand the character's darker side and ambiguity (both of which the episode pulls no punches in bringing out), young first-time viewers may find that aspect goes over their heads.

However, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" looks great. The medieval production values and painterly settings and the stylish way of how it's all shot makes for one of the show's most visually striking episodes. James Horner's music score is one of the most eerie and cleverly used, the pipes giving a real unsettling edge without traumatising and actually sounding pretty beautiful, music scores of any episode of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' too.

Nicholas Meyer directs very capably and the writing is remarkably mature and poetic, a fine example of 'Faerie Tale Theatre' excelling very well when playing straight, while not falling into sentimentality or cutesiness. The final march is nightmarish but in somewhat of an innocent way, while a lot of it is thought-provoking in its morality play approach.

The poem is very skilfully adapted, with the ingenious use of the bed-time story with a message device framing the story, and the tale itself told with a darkness, innocence, charm, emotional impact and sense of fun, also doing a great job making the titular character interesting.

Eric Idle is perfectly cast as the Pied Piper and as Browning himself. The rest of the cast are fine, if not quite up to the same level as Idle.

Overall, 'Faerie Tale Theatre' does it again with another near-classic. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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