Shadows (E3, S7): Honeyann

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

A young boy thinks his Nanny is a witch, and with good reason. RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES rounds off his Shadows episode guide with its final tale, Honeyann.

Shadows (E3, S7): Honeyann 1

BROADCAST: 1 November 1978
STARRING: Madge Ryan, Gwyneth Strong, Adrienne Posta, Jeanne Watts, George Waring, Paul Angelis, Joshua White, Julia Swift, Timothy Stamp
WRITER: Fay Weldon
DIRECTOR: Pamela Lonsdale

Shadows: Honeyann Review

Honeyann (Strong) is a young nursemaid who goes to work for rock-star Roddy (Angelis) and his wife Candy (Posta), theoretically to support their existing Nanny (Ryan) in looking after son Saffrey (White) and their new baby while Roddy is out on tour.

Saffrey is pleased by Honeyann’s arrival, not least because he believes his Nanny to be a witch and he doesn’t feel at all comfortable with her being left alone with his baby sibling. His theory seems to be supported by his mother being struck down by a mystery ailment, the gardener Harvey (Waring) having warts on his hand, housemaid Alice (Watts) having an undiagnosable pain causing her to keep her arm in a sling and Saffrey himself developing a headache, convinced that the Nanny has stuck a pin in a doll as revenge for him calling her a witch.

Honeyann dismisses all of this as mere fancy but decides to allay his fears with a demonstration: her mother once told her that if you hammer a nail into the ground through a witch’s footprint, it will make them limp.

Not believing any of this for a second, nevertheless Honeyann does just that. Trouble is, when Nanny does indeed start limping it becomes apparent that Saffrey needs to be taken more seriously, and the knowledge of witchcraft passed on from Honeyann’s mother might be a lifesaver for all concerned…

Shadows (E3, S7): Honeyann 2
Gwyneth Strong tries out an old family anti-witchcraft recipe in Shadows: Honeyann (1978)

Producer Pamela Lonsdale took the directorial helm for this final episode of Shadows. Scripted by the prolific Fay Weldon, Honeyann comes over like a kid-friendly redux of the classic Thriller episode Nurse Will Make It Better (1975) and condensing all of that into 24 minutes makes for quite a ride.

All the classic witchcraft tropes are out on display, but refreshingly demonstrating that the craft can be used for both good and bad purposes and the culminating battle of wits between Honeyann and the Nanny must have livened up that dull November afternoon in 1978 when it was first broadcast.

Its final series may have been confused and directionless along the way, but the very things that Shadows did very well at its best were all on display in Honeyann. After missteps and disappointments, the show could at least say farewell on a high note.

TRIVIA POINTS: This was Gwyneth Strong’s second appearance in Shadows, and she would also appear in an episode of the show’s natural successor, Spooky in 1983. She had made her screen debut as Mary Valley in the Brit-horror Nothing But The Night (1972).

Around this time, Fay Weldon was also working on uncredited dialogue rewrites for the Brit-slasher Killer’s Moon (1978).

Paul Angelis’ character is meant to be a rock star but the music heard at the beginning of the episode is clearly the outro from Status Quo’s Down Down (a UK number one in 1974). However, at about 15 minutes into the episode, Adrienne Posta is seen singing along to her own recording of The Way You Do Things You Do, released by Decca in 1965.

And finally: Does Paul Angelis slip a “bugger all” past the censors in the opening scene? I’ll let you be the judge.

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Read more about Shadows TV series here.

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