01/04/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
region 2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films PAR61467. 1 DVD 151 minutes 6 episodes and extras. Price: £19.99 (UK))stars: James Hazeldine, Carol Drinkwater and Andrew Ellams.
check out website: www.revfilms.com
What makes the re-release of 'Chocky', this 1980s Science Fiction TV series for children on DVD interesting is the fact that Stephen Spielberg has bought up the rights and will probably make a movie out of it in the future. Originally based on a John Wyndham novel, it was adapted for television by Anthony Read and you will be able to watch a short interview with the latter as an extra on the DVD.
Indeed, an additional two series of 'Chocky' were produced in subsequent years further to this one of six episodes made in 1984. Personally, I didn't watch any at the time but it is believed that the programmes were very successful and are still regarded with much affection. On viewing the DVD, it's possible to see why this is the case.
Chocky is an alien, a somewhat ethereal entity of high intelligence and abilities. Of diffuse origin, this being wishes to learn more about life on Earth and does so through the person of a twelve year-old boy called Matthew Gore. At no time in the series do we feel threatened by the alien. Chocky is rather benign and in no way is this a monstrous horror story. Remember, it was designed for kids at the teatime slot on television!
Nonetheless, this is very good drama. Matthew's parents, David and Mary, are played by James Hazeldene and Carol Drinkwater, both well-known actors. James Hazeldene was a regular in the TV series 'London's Burning' until he died a few years ago. The character of Matthew is mild-mannered and inoffensive. From the very start, we can see this is a well balanced family which becomes changed by an alien but the family perseveres and comes out okay in the end, still united in good character despite all that has happened.
Throughout the six part series, the presence of Chocky makes itself known. At first, the family begin to think that Matthew has an imaginary friend which initially seems puzzling because he is fairly stable and not childish in nature. Once everyone realises that the alien is real, things begin to change. At school, Matthew develops unusual abilities which attract the attention of the authorities, especially the military who are interested in what the alien can offer. As you would expect the alien has different ideas!
'Chocky' is now over 25 years old but surprisingly it does not appear to be dated despite the old technology and special effects. It is eminently suitable for children today and also as an indulgence in nostalgia for those pushing 40 who watched it the first time round . The DVD on this basis can certainly be recommended and my only hope is that Steven Spielberg doesn't mess up the story too much when he makes the movie.
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