Into The Circle

Children Of The StonesAstrophysicist Adam Brake and his son Matthew move to the village of Milbury, home to an ancient megalithic stone circle whose magnetic properties Brake wants to study. Milbury seems pleasant enough, but also odd: Brake nearly runs over his new housekeeper in his car, but moments before, Matthew perceived the woman as a large stone standing in the road. The population seems joined in lockstep, making the new arrivals’ sense of discomfort even more acute. Brake meets a fellow academic who has just arrived in Milbury, and learns of her inexplicable feelings of foreboding. Matthew continues to have strange visions of free-standing stones who turn out to be nothing more than the local townsfolk, and has a hard time as an outsider in the local school. Though who don’t immediately assimilate into the Milbury mindset are branded “strange” by their neighbors.

When Adam Brake’s new acquaintance suggests he should touch one of the ancient stones, “strange” doesn’t even begin to describe what happens next.

written by Jeremy Burnham and Trevor Ray
directed by Peter Graham Scott
music by Sidney Sager

Cast: Iain Cuthbertson (Hendrick), Gareth Thomas (Adam), Freddie Jones (Dai), Veronica Strong (Margaret), Ruth Dunning (Mrs. Crabtree), Peter Demin (Matthew), Katharine Levy (Sandra), Ian Donnolly (Bob), Darren Hatch (Kevin), Jimmy Lock (Jimmo), June Barrie (Mrs. Clegg), Peggy Ann Wood (Mrs. Warner)

Notes: A single-season supernatural children’s series produced by regional UK TV network HTV West and broadcast nationally on ITV, Children Of The Stones is remembered to this day for its unsettling storyline, imagery and music. In retrospect, it seems doubtful that such a series could be produced for children in this day and age.

Children Of The StonesGareth Thomas, a popular actor in Welsh television and theater, was already well on his way becoming a mainstream star on UK television when he took the lead protagonist role in children Of The Stones. The actor behind Adam Brake would later become interplanterary revolutionary Roj Blake in Terry Nation’s Blake’s 7, which premiered a year after this series. He faced off against Nation’s other famous creations, the Daleks, in a series of Big Finish audio plays, and returned to Wales for a guest role in the first season of Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood.

Respected British character actor Freddie Jones, perhaps best remembered in genre circles for portraying Thufir Haway in David Lynch’s film version of Dune, has appeared in countless genre TV roles (The Avengers, Out Of The Unknown, Space: 1999, Neverwhere, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) and many high-profile movies (Firefox, Krull, The Elephant Man, Firestarter, The Black Cauldron, Young Sherlock Holmes).

Series co-creator Trevor Ray was an uncredited “assistant script editor” for much of Patrick Troughton’s final season as Doctor Who and part of Jon Pertwee’s first year. Script editor Terrance Dicks faced such a heavy workload of rewriting scripts (or writing last-minute replacements for unsuitable scripts) that Ray was hired to help. He eventually vacated the post to become the script editor of the troubled spy series Paul Temple, whose producers were Troughton-era Who veterans Derrick Sherwin and Paul Bryant.

LogBook entry by Earl Green