Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Great to see this being released!

King of the Castle (1977) was a bizarre series from the excellent HTV, who produced much fine and strange children's drama in the 1970s. It was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin - Dr Who stalwarts whose episodes actually aren't that great, compared with some others. I've only seen the first few (and my copy isn't even complete), so this release is a positive boon. Interesting to recall that it was televised a year or so after the publication of JG Ballard's High Rise novel; the first episode, in its subtle menace, is like Ballard meets Alan Garner - unusually following the main character from a repressive, hidebound chorister-type school setting to an equally repellent home-life in an urban tower block.

1 comment:

  1. My copy is similarly incomplete. I'll be buying this, no question.

    The only shame is that there isn't a current stream of unorthodox (for their time, for any time) and off-kilter BBC series being released on DVD as there is for ITV (and now even for Southern, whose archive was stuck in limbo hell for some time - Simply HE are doing a great job releasing some wholly unexpected Southern series, and though here is room for debate about their quality in many cases, 'Midnight is a Place' is very fine indeed, and at least there is now the *hope* of 'Noah's Castle').

    But since Network stopped releasing BBC series (around the time they signed the post-merger ITV deal c. late 2004), and also since the BFI stopped releasing them (they put out some excellent material - 'Ghostwatch', 'The Stone Tape', 'Whistle and I'll Come to You', 'A Warning to the Curious', the Miller 'Alice in Wonderland', mostly now very hard to find sadly) there hasn't been a comparable outlet for the BBC's archive, 2Entertain being firmly focused on the popular and populist and the other companies to which BBC material is licensed, such as Acorn, being even more stolidly middlebrow. Network have done the most wonderful job with the ITV archive, and have reminded many that the channel wasn't what it was wrongly believed to be (but which it has become now - it's a telling indication of the history of the British middle class, and its total abandonment, starting 30 years ago today, of all non-commercial values, that many parents even in the early '80s would ban their children from watching a genuinely quasi-public ITV while people on the same social level now have no qualms about their children watching channels which *really are* almost 100% American and are infinitely more downmarket than ITV was then) but it's a sad state of affairs when there are arguably fewer 'weird', non-obvious BBC series being released on DVD than there were about six years ago when the medium was much less developed.