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Upcoming releases Jun 06

Back in the day, long before he was reviving Doctor Who or writing Queer as Folk, Russell “The” Davies wrote a couple of BBC children’s drama series, 1991’s Dark Season and 1993’s Century Falls. Both were excellent pieces of kids’ TV.

Dark Season, which featured a young Kate Winslet among the cast, was, in many ways, Doctor Who in disguise. It featured an eccentric lead character with a couple of sidekicks investigating mysterious goings-on in suburban England. There are two distinict plots: the first involves computers being used to take over schoolchildren’s minds (c.f. new Who episode School Reunion); the latter features a troop of Aryan archaeologists led by Servalan off of Blake’s 7 attempting to obtain a powerful machine buried in the school grounds. These six episodes were, at the time, some of the best CBBC had to offer. It’s a little dated now – some of the clothes are shockingly eighties despite this being the nineties – but still good value. Oh, and it features Brigit Forsyth from Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Doctor Who legend Cyril Shaps.

Century Falls was made two years later by largely the same production team. I only saw it on first broadcast so my memory of it is 13 years old, but it was notably darker than its predecessor, using the fantasy medium to deal with issues such as teenage pregnancy. The cast includes Who alumni Eileen Way and Bernard Kay, plus Mary Wimbush from K-9 and Company and The Archers.

I’m looking forward to seeing both series again, because – and this is the reason for this post – they’re coming out on DVD next month, having never been released on VHS. Both Dark Season and Century Falls are released on Monday 17th July and I heartily recommend them.

4 Responses

  1. 1

    You’re forgetting that the early 1990s were, in many ways, still “shockingly eighties”. Dark Season is fantastic, of course. IIRC, Century Falls was a bit less accessible, but deeper and more rewarding. I’m looking forward to rewatching them.

  2. Coo, that’s exciting.

    I found the book of Dark Season and loved it, then saw half of it in a repeat two or three years ago. Fab, though obviously I’ve been pining for the first half, too (and it is very Doctor Who). But Russell never novelised Century Falls, and it wasn’t repeated with the other one, so I know very little about it at all save the odd online review suggesting themes that crop up in many of his other stories…

    (Jackie Pearce – hurrah! Brigit Forsyth – hisss…)

  3. 3


    Century Falls scared the bejeezus out of me on a weekly basis. The waterfall. And the girl. And the mask. And the flames. Arrgghh, Don’t remember much about Dark Season, but wasn’t the lead girl supposed to be a bit Tom Baker-esque?

    Russell T. worked on Why Don’t You too – the most self defeating programme ever (and a bit rubbish – but in a good way). And, er, The Grand.

  4. 4

    What I didn’t know until this afternoon, Alex, is that Brigit F was Ruth Maxtible in The Evil of the Daleks! And Cyril was also in The Spy Who Loved Me, which I’m watching as I type…