Raven (1977 TV series)

Raven is a British children's television drama series made for ITV by ATV in 1977.[1][2] The series starred Phil Daniels in the title role.

Written byTrevor Ray
Jeremy Burnham
Directed byMichael Hart
StarringPhil Daniels
Michael Aldridge
Shirley Cheriton
Patsy Rowlands
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
ProducerColin Shindler
Running time25 minutes
Production companyATV
Original networkITV
Original release19 September (1977-09-19) –
24 October 1977 (1977-10-24)

Story Edit

A orphan and former borstal inmate sent on a rehabilitation programme, assisting an archaeology professor in his excavation of a system of caves and who subsequently is compelled to fight a plan to build a nuclear waste disposal plant on the site. The man-made cave system is underneath an ancient stone circle, and contains 5th-century rock carvings which may be connected to the legend of King Arthur and Arthurian lore.[3] The professor believes that "Arthur" may not have been a single individual but an inherited office and he emphasises the notion of Arthur and his knights slumbering below the West Country landscape awaiting the call to return to action in a time of peril, more as an idea than a physical reality.[3] The programme consistently featured the sign of Pluto (referencing Plutonium as a by-product of a nuclear reactions), a symbol for Raven's quest.

The core of the story is the central sage/apprentice hero relationship between Professor Young and Raven, representing the legend of Merlin and King Arthur, both characters having avian projections: Young as a merlin (a bird which often accompanies Raven throughout the story), and Raven (protected by his namesake bird raven at birth when abandoned by his parents).[3]

Production Edit

Other cast members in the serial included Michael Aldridge, Patsy Rowlands, James Kerry, Shirley Cheriton and Tenniel Evans.[4]

Reception Edit

Television historians Alistair McGown and Mark Docherty praised Burnham and Ray's script for Raven, adding that although the story was fantasy, "it is the realist elements of the drama that continue to surprise".[2] They also compared Raven with other fantasy TV programs of the era, including Sky, The Changes and King of the Castle.[2]

Novelisation Edit

A novelisation of Raven by Burnham and Ray was published by Carousel Books (an imprint of Corgi Books) in 1977.[2] The novelisation was republished by Fantom Publishing in 2014.[5]

Release Edit

An episode of this series is available to view at the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK.

The whole series of six parts was long been believed to be incomplete in the archives, until Network DVD, an independent DVD publishing company that specialises in classic British television, unearthed the original 2" VT tapes. Network released the series on DVD in 2010.[6]

External links Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Children of the Stones (1977)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  2. ^ a b c d McGown, Alistair D. & Docherty, Mark J. (2003) The Hill and Beyond: Children's Television Drama - An Encyclopedia, BFI Publishing, ISBN 978-0-85170-879-9, p. 111
  3. ^ a b c "Raven Review". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Episode Two (1977)". BFI.
  5. ^ "Cult Classics", Vortex Magazine, April 2015. (p.4)
  6. ^ "RAVEN - The Complete Series / Review".