Top 5 Creepy Kids ITV shows

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RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES celebrates Creepy Kids Week with five examples aimed at younger viewers

Creepy tales were pretty ubiquitous on children’s TV in the UK throughout the 70’s and early 80’s.

The BBC may have had the reputation for quality, but it’s easy to overlook just how good some of their commercial rival’s output could be, particularly in the field of children’s programmes.

This was back in the days when ITV was made up of many regional companies, all competing to get their shows on the air, and intelligent writing in their drama output was the norm, rather than the exception.

Naturally, wherever there were creepy tales aimed at youngsters, creepy kids weren’t too far away, often with opening credits which were enough on their own to put the frighteners up you.

These genuinely eerie shows would never make it past a children’s commissioning editor nowadays, for fear of getting irate parents up in arms, so enjoy a look at some of ITV’s best examples of the period.

Sky (HTV, 1975)

Sky

This strange alien visitor landed on our TV screens, and the earth tried to obliterate him, much as an immune system would fight a virus.

HTV’s intriguing serial combined sci-fi with folk-horror elements, and made great use of locations in the company’s broadcast area, from Glastonbury to Stonehenge.

Children Of The Stones (HTV, 1976)

Children of the Stones

Also from HTV, this is almost a Wicker Man for younger viewers. Matthew Brake (Peter Demin) is the new kid in the village of Milbury (actually Avebury).

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On his first day at his new school, he encounters some super intelligent children who appear to be given preferential treatment by the teacher, the result of a mysterious force taking hold of the locals – and not just the kids…

Read more about Children of the Stones here.

Nobody’s House (Tyne Tees, 1976)

Nobody's House

The Nobody of the title (Kevin Moreton) was so called because he was a ghost who couldn’t remember his own name.

He died of plague in a Victorian workhouse, returning in the 1970’s to haunt a family, living in a house built on the same spot.

Come Back Lucy (ATV, 1978)

Come Back Lucy

When young Lucy (Emma Bakhle) is bereaved and sent to live with her cousins, she has a difficult time.

The good news is that she makes a friend in Alice (Bernadette Windsor).

The bad news is that Alice has been dead for over a hundred years, is a nasty piece of work, and wants to drag Lucy back in time, to play with her for eternity…

Chocky (Thames, 1984)

Chocky

In this adaptation of John Wyndham’s novel, Matthew has what at first appears to be an imaginary friend, but is actually a scout from another planet, searching for other worlds to colonise.

When Chocky begins to communicate through Matthew, he develops amazing talents and intelligence, as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything. Chocky’s Children (1985) and Chocky’s Challenge (1986) followed.

Got a vintage ITV fave I haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments section.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Add to that Escape into Night, ATV 1972, based on Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr. Those whispering rocks the stuff of nightmares, literally. Then Moondial, BBC 1990. Very menacing, particularly Jaqueline Pearce as the sadistic governess. Mind you, she could make the telephone directory scary.

  2. OK, I’m late to the party with this but this article stirred memories of a show that I remember from the mid-70s. It involved a child who appears to be bed bound and wiles away their time by sketching on a pad of paper. I seem to remember that those sketches came alive at night when he/she either looked out the window, or in their dreams of looking out the window. One episode involved these rock-like creatures outside the house, another I think involved escaping out of a war-time prison camp, although I may be confusing that with another show, I’m not sure. All the action happened at night and had a disturbing feel.

    Anyone have any idea what this show was, I’d love to track it down and watch it again, it had a profound affect on me as a kid.

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