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FOLLYFOOT
THE COMPLETE
COLLECTION
9 DVD SET
 CHEAPEST SET OF THIS
CLASSIC 70'S TV SHOW
One of the most
enchanting television programmes from the 1970s
was undoubtedly Yorkshire Television's
Follyfoot. It was also, at that time one of the
most
ambitious children's series undertaken by an
Independent Television company and involved the
entire reconstruction of a farmhouse and its
surrounding buildings on the estate of the Earl of Harewood.
Based on
Monica Dickens (great grandaughter of
Charles Dickens) 1963 novel
'Cobbler's Dream',
Follyfoot is set in a retirement home for old or
unwanted horses, invariably rescued from a cruel fate or cruel
owners. The farm is run by The Colonel (
Desmond Llewellyn -familiar to filmgoers as
James Bond's original gadget supplier
'Q'). In the middle of the farm stands a burnt out
tree that had been struck by lightning during a storm one night and
the Colonel believes that it will bloom again given enough care and
attention, so everyone who passes it by is required to throw a
bucket of water over its roots, making it a
symbol of the work undertaken in the horse
sanctuary, as well as something of a supposedly good luck
charm.
In the
first episode the colonel's niece, Dora (
Gillian Blake), arrives to stay when her father is
offered a job in Brazil on behalf of the British government. But
the teenage girl doesn't feel as though she fits in to the
privileged, upper-class lifestyle she has been born into. Life at
uncle George's large country house is decidedly
dull compared to the stable area where the horses
are kept. It is here that Dora, based on her own family situation,
feels an
affinity with the unwanted animals and discovers a
new purpose in caring for them.
Buckingham born
Gillian started riding horses when she was
five-years-old. But when she landed one of the lead roles in
Follyfoot she had to learn to ride all over again
because she had not ridden for several years. But as
eighteen-year-old Dora she easily slipped back into the saddle. At
the time of making the series she lived in
Portobello Road, London with two Siamese cats, a
dog, and a vast collection of boots.
The
ensemble cast of characters also included a former juvenile
delinquent turned stable hand, Steve, played by Bradford born
Steve Hodson. The actor had studied at the
Central School of Speech and Drama in London
playing a vast range of characters from a fifteen-year-old to an
eighty-seven-year-old in
'Three Sisters'. The year before starting on
Follyfoot he played Lysander in a production of
'A Midsummers Nights Dream' at the
University Theatre, Manchester. Hodson was used to
being around horses after staying with a family that owned a
stable.
Ron Stryker (
Christian Rodska) was the joker, always ready for
a quick laugh, although under the surface there was always the
suggestion that away from the farm he kept
questionable company. He was certainly the
noisiest character in the series, riding around on a motorcycle
that he proudly rebuilt for five pounds. Interviewed at the time
Rodska cited his key interests as skiing, skating and painting. His
Danish born father was once captain of the
Royal Yacht of
King Feisal of Iraq and when Christian was young
he had travelled with his family all over the world.
One time stand-up comedian turned character
actor
Arthur English completed this ensemble as Slugger,
the Colonel's ex batman and a former boxer now turned cook. He was
normally there for the comic relief because, contrary to popular
belief -mainly due to the series lack of repeats and unavailability
on DVD-
Follyfoot was not a light-hearted romp of girl
meets horse, falls in love with stable-hand and they all live
happily ever after. This series was aimed at older children and
dealt with many issues that older children were -or about- to face.
Hope, despair, jealousy, insecurity, love and mistrust -all these
emotions and more were played out through the three
excellent series of
Follyfoot, with continuity coming from the fact
that from episode one until episode thirty-nine only 3
scriptwriters were employed.
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