Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: Children of the Stones

Children of the Stones is a British television drama serial for children produced by HTV in 1976 and broadcast on the United Kingdom’s ITV network in January and February 1977. The story was depicted over seven episodes and produced by Peter Graham Scott, with Patrick Dromgoole as executive producer. A novelisation by the serial’s writers, Jeremy Burnham and Trevor Ray also appeared in 1977.

The series followed the adventures of astrophysicist Adam Brake and his young son Matthew after they arrive in the small village of Milbury, which is built in the midst of a megalithic stone circle.

Filmed at Avebury, Wiltshire during Summer 1976, with interior scenes filmed at HTV’s Bristol studios, it was an unusually atmospheric production with sinister, discordant wailing voices heightening the tension on the incidental music. The music was composed by Sidney Sager who used the Ambrosian Singers to chant in accordance with the megalithic rituals referred to in the story. Director Peter Graham Scott was surprised on seeing the script that the series was intended for children’s airtime due to the complexities of the plot and disturbing nature of the series. The series is frequently cited by those who remember it as one of the scariest things they saw as children.

Cast as the leader of the village, Hendrick was well-known actor Iain Cuthbertson, while the leading role of Adam Brake was filled by another experienced actor, Gareth Thomas, who would later find greater fame as the main character in the science fiction series Blake’s 7. Cuthbertson and Thomas had previously worked together on the TV series Sutherland’s Law. Veronica Strong played Margaret Smythe, the winsome curator of the local museum who partners with Brake to solve the mystery. The child actors Peter Demin (aged 17 at the time of filming) and Katharine Levy played the teenage leads Matthew (Brake’s son) and Sandra (Smythe’s daughter).

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