Moondial is a rather good six-part drama series written by Helen Cresswell, originally broadcast in 1988 on the BBC. It is very atmospheric, and often spooky, and stands up well compared to modern children’s drama.
It is a bit slow, and there are times when not a great deal happens but you still want to keep on watching, because you want to find out what the hell is going on.
One of the things that I really liked about this series what that it made you think, and more often than not gave you more questions than answers, which means that when watching it you have to engage your brain, which I am not sure they tend to do nowadays, and most importantly of all it did not talk down to its audience.
For a children’s drama there were some quite adult themes in this story, but not so much that the audience the show was aimed at would not know what they were getting at.
Some of the camera work and the shots chosen were also very good and aided in the atmosphere of the piece, which was helped no end by the location that the show was filmed in (Belton House in Lincolnshire), which is just as much as part of the show as the characters and the story itself.
Speaking of characters, there aren’t actually that many characters of note in this story, with the majority of the screen time taken by the main character Araminta ‘Minty’ Kane who was superbly played by Siri Neal who, if I am being honest, was the main reason what I kept on watching this series beyond the first episode on the original broadcast. Now I can appreciate the atmosphere of the piece and the characterisation and all that, but then I only had eyes for Minty.
The series was released on DVD a few years ago by Readers Digest (of all people) but has since been deleted and can now be seen on YouTube, which is where I watched it.
It didn’t make much sense to be when I originally watched it, and I am not too sure that it makes more sense this time around, but it is such a well made and atmospheric piece of television drama that I really don’t care that it left me with more questions than answers.