Chocky was the Thames TV adaptation of the 1968 novel by John Wyndham of the same name. It ran from 9th January 1984 to 13th February 1984 and was a six part miniseries. The question is though: where the f**k do I start with this?
Firstly John Wyndham is one of the top 3 sci-fi writers of all time. Also ‘Chrysalids’ is probably the best film never made. Let’s get back to Chocky; this series was innovative to say the least. I’m told it was on at 5.10pm, like Byker Grove or Grange Hill. Well, let me tell you, this is very, very different. Right from the title music through to the performances and score, this series was anything but a children’s programme.
It’s a really good premise for a series, especially down to the little details of what Chocky asks our boy hero. The writing really is ahead of its time like all of John Wyndham’s books. I was told adamantly by the Cult Faction guv’nor Brett Summers that this is a must watch and once again he was absolutely right. I watched the first season in one go purely as it was so fascinating. I was told to watch it as part of the Cult Faction review but literally after the first 5 minutes I was hooked.
Chocky concerns a twelve year old boy named Matthew Gore (Andrew Ellams) who becomes host to an extra-terrestrial entity named Chocky. While the 1968 novel was set in an unspecified ‘near future’, the TV adaptation was set contemporaneously in the mid-1980s. The Gore family acquires a second generation Citroen CX car which was marketed as being technologically advanced at the time. Chocky though remains an inquisitive entity which asks all sorts of questions about life on earth.
Matthew tries to keep Chocky a secret from the people around him, but this is hard since he can’t help talking to Chocky out loud. It turns out that Chocky is an advance scout from another solar system who was sent to Earth to find a possible location for a colony for her people. She decides that Earth is not a suitable location but stays anyway because she feels it is her duty to help humans discover a new source of energy. Chocky helps Matthew in certain things like looking at the world in a way he’s never looked at it before, from the eyes of a stranger, and by saving him when he and his sister almost drown, but Chocky also endangers Matthew by being there. When a certain group of people find out about Chocky’s existence, they kidnap Matthew and perform tests on him. This event leads Chocky to believe Matthew’s life is in danger and she must leave him.
Chocky was well received by children and adults alike and was quickly followed by two 6 episode sequels called Chocky’s Children (Broadcast: 7th January 1985 – 11th February 1985) and Chocky’s Challenge (Broadcast: 29th September 1986 – 16th October 1986). These shows established the existence of other “befriended” children around the world and then they joined together with the purpose of finding a solution to the world’s energy problems.
Throughout the first season you get glimpses all through it to what Chocky is and where he (or she)might come from. The questions it asks from everything to human relationships, the detail of how cars, boats and other vehicles wprk are truly how a young ‘child’ alien would react. The relationship with the boy protagonist and his alien friend becomes very touching. Even when he gets angry as chocky cannot understand him and vice versa has a beautiful innocence about it For that reason this series, even though very much sci fi fiction is quite realistic, although it obviously isn’t. I absolutely loved it and Chocky is certainly ahead of its time in many ways. I urge you to give it a try.
A for Andromeda (1961)