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Sky: The Complete Series

01/07/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Sky in the USA - or Buy Sky in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: Pub: Network 7953059. 1 DVD 7 * 25 minute colour episodes 175 minutes plus extras. Price: 14.99 (UK))

stars: Marc Harrison, Stuart Lock, Cherrald Butterfield, Richard Speight and Robert Eddison

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Of the kids TV series from the 70s, 'Sky' has been on a list of a lot of people to see again when it came out on DVD. Finally, its here. An HTV production when they could actually afford a TV series budget. Granted it wasn't a big budget but as with a lot of 70s TV series, good scripting by 'Doctor Who' luminaries Bob Baker and Dave Martin, carried it off. Special effects were relying on the early blue substitution that probably explained Sky's total blue eyes. Watching the show also showed some extremely good lighting and also having him practically glowing all the time. It also has a lot of outside broadcast filming around Wiltshire and my home county of Somerset. Glastonbury Tor hasn't changed much over the years, by the way, except now there's a proper path for people to walk up and the tower is barred to stop people making a mess inside.

An apparent alien (actor Marc Harrison), with glittery blue eyes, materialises naked on Earth and is rescued by pheasant collector, Arby Venner (actor Stuart Lock), and his sister, June (actress Cherrald Butterfield) with neighbour Roy Briggs (actor Richard Speight) acting inference. Arby doesn't appear to be the brightest stick in the pile but good-hearted and grows over the series. He also calls the alien 'Sky' and either he or his sister has to stay near him to stop nature reaching out and attacking him. Sky says he's a traveller arrived in the wrong era and seen as a virus to be exterminated by the forces of nature if he stays here for long. It also puts in danger any people he associates with. He needs to find the Juganet to get home but as these humans don't know what he's talking about and he can't describe it, they've reached a stalemate. Things aren't helped when nature manifests Ambrose Goodchild (actor Robert Eddison) to stalk and kill Sky. There are no true villains in this story mostly because Goodchild sees himself as purging the virus Sky from its eco-system. Just his ways might seem a bit extreme and you wouldn't want to bump into him in the night. In a very dark night.

In many respects, the adventures are simplistic leading from one to another but in a natural progression. The environmentalists amongst you are going to love it even today and think it a prophecy of sorts. Sky's role in the future is more of a powerful prophet looking after the next development of mankind which has foregone material trappings blaming our generation for its downfall.

In some respects, there is a parallel to 'Stig Of The Dump' in that there is a displaced person out of time and even the solution is too close to think that it wasn't an influence. How's that for a spoiler without revealing anything?

Baker and Martin hit on so many think tropes which I was more aware of this time around than when I first watched it in the early 70s and hitting on things that in the earlier film 'Beneath The Planet Of Apes' and the much later film 'Starman'. Composer Ian Wetherall's stringent musical score catches the moment of the mood. Everything is under-played which makes it all the more real.

As I've only seen this on a check disk I can't compare to the quality on the final DVD but I get the feeling that the final episode was taken off of inferior stock which also explains why it's taken so long to come out. Don't take that the wrong way, it's great to see it again. The extras are a selection of photos from behind and front of the camera. Whether today's youngsters would like it is debatable but I think our generation is going to love reliving this one.

GF Willmetts

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