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About the only growth area in science-fiction and fantasy series in the late eighties and early nineties seemed to be in children's programming. There were half-a-dozen or more, while the adults had Red Dwarf, and not much else. This sorry showing, made in 1991, was a futuristic drama, set after the collapse of civilisation, where pockets of humanity have formed isolated communities that live in fear of outsiders. It's easy to see why; the first outsider to make it intact onto a particular community's island rambles on about finding the last Olympic torch. The remainder of the story concerned the outsider, an old man, and his wish to pass on the 'treasure' before he died. The children he speaks to are bound to a promise to achieve this, and they set out to find the torch.

The BBC sold it to the public solely on its star cast of Judi Dench, husband Michael Williams, and their daughter Finty Williams. It was an understandable move, because there wasn't much else to sell it on. Although listed as a Children's Foundation Production, it was in reality a co-production between Edinburgh Film & Video Productions, Ceskoslovenská Televize, Televizija Slovenija, and The Missing Piece, with ET2, ETB, TVG, TVAM, TV3, BSB, BBC, and filmed entirely on location in Greece and Yugoslavia - a case of too many cooks...the result is a soggy stew.



Aba Judi Dench   Sage Michael Williams
Nikathlon Altay Lawrence   Peri Graham McGrath
Cal Finty Williams   Dio Lyndon Davies
Cassie Kate McGrath   Ekow Taylor Scipio
Guardian John Cairney   Tinker Juan Jose Parrilla
Stang Pavel Novey   Tandor Borivoj Navratil
Oscar Petr Kratochvil   Lightening Jan Censky
Grandier Jan Preucil


Based on a novel by Jill Paton Walsh
Adapted by William Corlett
Director/Producer: Robin Crichton
Music: John Moore

A Children's Film and TV Foundation
Production for BBCtv
6 colour 30-minute episodes


The Guardian
The Nikathlon
The Poseidon
The Raft
The Slave State
The End Of The World

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