Series: Children of the Stones
Happy Day!Children of the Stones
was a British children's drama series filmed in 1976 by HTV. It was set in the village of Milbury (filmed at Avebury
), which is surrounded by a Stone Circle. It was very dark and sinister for a children's programme, particularly by today's standards. The tone of the series was set by the choral singing used for the opening music
The story centres on Professor Brake and his son, Matthew. They arrive in Milbury, where most of the villagers seem to be acting strangely. They call themselves the Happy Ones
, greet each other with the phrase "Happy Day!", have an inordinate love of Morris Dancing and in school the children all solve incredibly complex mathematical problems. Apart from the Brakes, only three other families seem to be unaffected. Then, one by one, they also join the ranks of the Happy Ones
The only other people who are unaffected are Dai, a half-crazed poacher, and Rafael Hendrick, the local squire. Towards the end of the series, Dai is killed and his body mysteriously disappears. All that remains are a few fragments of an amulet that match up with some pieces that had been found on that that spot years before under a fallen stone along with the bones of an inhabitant of the village known as the Barber-Surgeon.
Eventually it becomes obvious that Hendrick has been using the power of the stone circle to brainwash the villagers. Matthew and his father trick Hendrick into using the power of the circle on himself. They manage to escape, but the force of the circle turns the rest of the villagers to stone. When they wake up the next day, they find that the villagers are back, but are subtly altered. Dai is now a tinker instead of a poacher and the curator of the village museum and her daughter are now American instead of British.
It is implied that the events in the village repeat in a time loop with similar characters performing the same actions over and over. The link between Dai and the Barber-Surgeon is described above. Also, Matthew has a picture which depicts the end of the sequence (a man and boy escaping the circle while others are turned to stone). The final scene in the drama is the arrival of Joshua Litton at the manor house. He bears a remarkable resemblance to the missing Hendrick.
- Affably Evil - Rafael Hendrick (played by Iain Cuthbertson) is always polite and friendly as he progresses his plans
- Computer Equals Tapedrive - Hendrick uses computers to track the black hole with which the stone circle must be aligned when he uses it. The computers are kept in the celler of a dis-used church and are shown as typical 1970's tape drive
- Ley Line - The Stone Circle harnesses the power of ley lines
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard - Hendrick needs exact timing to harness the power of the Stone Circle. To that end, his house is filled with clocks all driven from a single atomic clock. Before he brainwashes them, he leaves Matthew and his father locked in a bedroom with the Professor's equipment, This includes an oscilloscope that they use to speed up all the clocks
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine - Before brainwashing them, Hendrick invites his victims to dinner. This includes Matthew and his father, who already know what he is doing and have tried to escape
- Mr. Exposition - a number of scenes involve Prof Brake and Margaret (the curator) in the village museum discussing astronomy, archaeology, geology or ley-lines
- Stable Time Loop - although involving different people, it is implied that the events in the village repeat
- Taken for Granite - in the final episode, the villagers get turned to stone by the power of the circle
- Telepathy - Matthew finds that he has a telepathic ability to see what they are experiencing if he is holding one of their possessions. He uses this to experience the brain-washing of Margaret and her daughter Sandra
- The Evils of Free Will - Hendrick wants to make the villagers perfect by removing their ability to make mistakes
- Uncanny Village