Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Five Children And It
Five Children And It
2 Entertain Video, DVD, 11 October, 2004
Director: Marilyn Fox
Features: PAL
List Price: £14.99
New Price: £10.98
Used Price: £9.98
Third Party Price: £8.45
Availability: Usually dispatched within 8 to 10 days
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Customer Reviews

A very likable children's serial with strong period detail
This is a faithful retelling of Edith Nesbit's moralistic Victorian children's classic. This TV story is firmly set in her late Victorian/Edwardian era and has carefully re-created period detail. This serial is very gentle and occasionally moving to watch, being more amusing than laugh out loud funny. It's naturally far more 'The railway children' or 'The secret garden' than 'Spy Kids' (hardly surprising as Edith Nesbit also wrote 'The railway Children'). It's not unlike a Victorian 'Famous Five' adventure as the children are given freedom to move about on their own, under the common notion that the older children are 'looking after' their younger siblings.

The BBC series has stalwart British adult actors, although not an 'all-star' cast, and the children are excellent and likable leads. The wise old sand fairy [Psammead] hasn't quite got the puppet quality and script of the recent 2004 film version, but the creature is still very convincing and wise. This BBC series is from 1991, and generally it is far more consistent than the recent film. The picture quality and sound are also very good (better than the BBC Narnia DVD's). The six episodes provide plenty of time to get to know the children and develop the various storylines. The wish granting storyline is slightly moralistic, about learning from your mistakes, greed etc.., but it's all done in a very pleasant and gentle fashion with no preaching, and the children always have basically good intentions. This series was nominated for a BAFTA.

The sequel book to 5 children and it, 'The phoenix and the carpet' BBC all star adaptation from 1997 is also available on a DVD, sadly only in edited film form, via Amazon resellers (NTSC Region 1 only) and is worth a look. Fortunately this BBC 'Five children and it' DVD has all six half hour episodes presented seperately with their own titles and credits, so the scripted cliffhanger is retained, ensuring the correct pace for the viewer (and there isn't anyone prattling over the end title music and credits, or previews giving away the main plot elements from next weeks episode).

My 9 year old son watched all the episodes of 'Five children and it' in one go and really enjoyed it, although it took a while to get him to decide to view it as he felt he had already seen it, having seen the 2004 film. In fact the recent 2004 film version is so different it's more like a sequel, although ultimately this longer BBC serial is the more satisfying version. This DVD also has a few extra's like a quiz, photos, and interviews with the cast. So good value, and well worth viewing over a few quiete winter nights.

Enchanting, nostalgic loveliness on DVD
Exactly how I am the first Amazon customer to write a review of this fantastic title is quite beyond me! I rented this DVD a few months ago, having vaguely remembered it from my childhood. I didn’t expect to view it with the same sense of enchantment that I did when I was younger. However, right from the opening credits I found that I did! It completely takes you back to a gloriously innocent age when children said things like“Jolly Hockey Sticks!” and the height of childhood hedonism was having lashings of ginger beer! The five children in question have a series of adventures brought about through wishes that are granted by an obliging sand fairy. Of course the wishes aren’t exactly well thought through by the excitable youths and invariably go pear-shaped. This leads to them using another wish to cancel out the first and consequently a moral lesson is revealed. Some of the special effects are surprisingly palatable and, in many places, actually really good– a world away from the awful animation layered over live action that spoiled my enjoyment of a certain other BBC children’s title (namely‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’). If you’re toying with the idea of renting or buying this– don’t. Simply do it! You’ll be thoroughly glad you did.

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