Century Falls

SF elements:

villagers with strange mental powers



6 x 30 min episodes

[DVD sleeve]

When Russell T. Davies shot to fame with his revival of Dr Who , some of his earlier work was released on DVD. This included Century Falls, a six part children's drama series about strange children in a strange village. We watched three episodes a night, over two consecutive nights.

Tess Hunter, a lonely, isolated, fat teen, moves with her mother to Century Falls, a bleak village, where they receive a luke-warm welcome from the Harkness sisters as "outsiders". When it is discovered that Tess' mother is pregnant, they are warned to leave immediately. (Of course, they don't.) Meanwhile twins Ben and Carey Naismith are sent to stay with their Uncle Richard in the Manor house by their father, after wild Ben has frightened their mother away; his sister Carey is the only one who can control him. Tess discovers that Ben and Carey are the only other children in the village, because Something Happened in July 1953.

Some of this is standard: spooky villagers with strange powers and forbidding looks, spooky children with strange powers and sulky mannerisms, eerie locations with rain and waterfalls. But it is put together in an effective way, building up the mystery and tension well, with at least one twist I didn't see coming. It's a great example of that kind of children's series that can traumatise a whole generation. I was too old to catch it the first time around in 1993, but watching it now, I can well believe it might have had a similar effect as the much earlier Escape into Night or Timeslip had on me: some vivid images surrounded by a dimly remembered plot. Worth watching if you like that kind of effect.

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 5 July 2009