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DVD Review

DVD cover

Tom's Midnight Garden (1989)
(2018 release)


Starring: Jeremy Rampling, Caroline Waldron, Shaughan Seymour, Isabelle Amyes and Renée Asherson
Distributor: Second Sight
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: U
Release Date: 12 November 2018

The classic 1980s BBC adaptation of family favourite Tom’s Midnight Garden is based on the much-loved novel by Philippa Pearce. When his brother is taken ill with measles, Tom Long, is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle for the summer and soon finds himself lonely and bored. One night whilst lying in bed he hears the old grandfather clock in the hall strike thirteen. Venturing downstairs to investigate, he opens the door and finds himself magically transported back in time to a Victorian garden and an incredible adventure with a new-found friend Hatty...

I haven't seen this adaptation of Philippa Pearce's novel since it was originally broadcast on the BBC in 1989. There have been several versions of this story produced over the years (the BBC produced three versions in 1968, 1974 and this one in 1989) and I have to admit that I can't really fathom why Yes, it's a sweet, if somewhat shallow tale, but it's not exactly a classic.

The story is told in 6, 30 min episodes and, as you'd expect from a BBC adaptation of the time, while looking a little creaky, it still holds up pretty well. This is probably helped greatly by the fact that it's a period drama set in both the 1940s and the Victorian era.

The press release mentions there's a feature on the DVD: Tom's Midnight Garden: A Look Back with Director Christine Secombe. Sadly this wasn't on the disc we received for review. In fact the DVD menus made it feel like a DVD from way back when releases were transitioning from VHS to DVD.

The acting is a like weak in places and the tale isn't really a very festive one... however, this does feel like a Christmas movie and if you remember it from your childhood you'll be relieved to discover that it has aged pretty well.


Darren Rea

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