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Georgian House on DVD

Sunday, 27 June 2010 18:03

Almost lost forever from the archives, The Georgian House was on one of the best of the studio-bound children’s TV productions of its era in 1976, Written by acclaimed author Jill Laurimore with noted producer/writer Harry Moore (The Clifton House Mystery, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) it was produced by Leonard White (The Avengers, Armchair Theatre). Cult children’s television actor Spencer Banks (Timeslip, Tightrope) stars alongside Jack Watson (Sky, Arthur of the Britons) in a series that “The Stage” lauded as “visually rich, sumptuously produced (and) a quality production”.

Made as a seven-episode series, unfortunately only a trio of episodes are now known to exist – two in original transmission format (Episodes 1 “New Recruits” and 7 “Look To Your Future”) and one on home video held by a private collector (Episode 3 “Treachery”). Long sought after by television aficionados, this release can bring you the beginning, middle and end of the story, allowing you to fill in the gaps with PDF scripts of some of the missing episodes.

The Georgian House on DVDThe story revolves around two students, Dan and Abbie, who take a holiday job in a museum - a reconstructed Georgian House in Bristol, just opening for guided tours. They work as tour guides under the watchful and gruff eye of Ellis the caretaker (a superb performance by Jack Watson). While there, they discover an African wood carving which has the power to transport them back some 200 years to 1772 – via its eerie whisper of the word “boy”.

They find themselves in a time when the house was owned by the Leadbetter family. They are accepted as part of the household - Abbie being mistaken as a visiting cousin and Dan becoming a bullied ‘houseboy’ working in the kitchen ‘below stairs’. While there, they meet a young slave, Ngo, who is owned by the Leadbetters. Abbie is desperate to set him free, so Ngo can avoid being sent abroad to the harshness of work on sugar plantations, but Dan is only keen in getting back to their own time. They discover that Ngo is the only one who can help them get back, via some strange powers of his, and they enlist his help so that they all can get what they want.

Abbie was from a comprehensive, which Dan was from a public school – his father a banker. The first episode has shades of Antiques Roadshow about it, as the duo look at the various artefacts being unpacked to furnish the house. The carved black cylindrical box from Africa eventually reveals its dark but amazing secret. While Dan feels like a fish out of water, Abbie becomes quickly immersed in her role as part of the landed gentry.

Brinsley Forde (who had found fame in The Double Deckers, and much later was in reggae band Aswad) plays Ngo.

Originally titled Adam’s House, the African artefact as the means of time travel was a latecomer to the format – originally Tarot Cards unlocked the passageway to the past.  While obviously low-budget, the performances are engaging, and the plot a world away from being generic. Spencer Banks, as always, is perfectly cast, while newcomer Adrienne Byrne is sufficiently perky to keep the attention of the male audience of all ages, and also behaves as a very strong female role. It’s evident why the series has such a high regard, and whilst having more than half the series missing is an obvious disadvantage, there’s enough in what remains available to be able to follow the plot.

The special features are an introductory note by co-writer Jill Laurimore on the inner sleeve, plus PDF files of the original breakdown for first four episodes, Rehearsal scripts for episodes three, four and five, and an original draft script for episode six.

With a running time of 75 minutes approx, and a ‘U’ Certificate, this DVD is available now exclusively from the Network DVD website, priced £8.99 or less.



The Georgian House – Episode Listing

Executive Producer – Patrick Dromgoole

Written by Jill Laurimore and Harry Moore

Produced by Leonard White

Directed by Derek Clark, Sebastian Robinson, Terry Harding, Leonard White

An HTV West Production.


Spencer Banks as Daniel ‘Dan’ Jefferies

Adrienne Byrne as Abigail ‘Abbie’ Wells

Brinsley Forde as Ngo

Jack Watson as Mr Ellis

Constance Chapman as Mistress Anne Leadbetter

Peter Schofield as Thomas Leadbetter

Janine Duvitski as Ariadne

Valerie Lush as Lady Cecilia Jump

Michael Gover as Sir Jeremy Jump

Ruth Kettlewell as Cook

Monica Lavers as Maid

Anne Blake as Madame Lavarre

Stephen Holton as Footman

Dudley Jones as Hezekiah Allsop

Anna Quayle as Miss Humphreys


01. New Recruits

Original ITV Transmission: 2 January 1976


02. We'll Never Get Back

Original ITV Transmission: 9 January 1976


03. Treachery

Original ITV Transmission: 16 January 1976


04. A Dose of Sulphur Water

Original ITV Transmission: 23 January 1976


05. Duwamba

Original ITV Transmission: 30 January 1976


06. Trapped

Original ITV Transmission: 6 February 1976


07. Look To Your Future

Original ITV Transmission: 13 February 1976

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37