TV UK TV

Adventures Of Black Beauty, The (ITV 1972-1974 with Judi Bowker and William Lucas)

UK / ITV – London Weekend Television – Talbot / 52×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 September 1972 – 10 March 1974

Creator: Ted Willis / Production Design: John Blezard / Theme Music: Denis King / Executive Producer:Paul Knight / Producer:Sidney Cole

Period children’s adventure series. In Victorian times the young daughter of a doctor has a magnificent horse called Beauty and together the pair get mixed up in adventures.

Extremely loosely based on Anna Sewell’s classic novel (which was made into a Mark Lester starring movie around the same time as this) The Adventures of Black Beauty is one of the best remembered family TV shows from the 1970’s.

When the series begins it is 1877 and young Vicky Gordon, daughter of the newly arrived from London doctor in the village of Five Oaks, takes in a horse (she christens Black Beauty) after she sees it being brutally treated. Like the similar but modern day Follyfoot Adventures of Black Beauty tackles a different story each episode with the emphasis on adventure naturally enough.

Judi Bowker who had the lead role of Vicky bowed out after the first season of 6 episode, she was replaced by Stacy Dorning as her sister Jenny who had somewhat conveniently been away at boarding school during the first season. Scampish cousin Ned was also brought on board for the second season.

The series is equally as remembered for having one of the stand out TV theme tunes of all time (Galloping Home by Denis King which even reached number one on the UK charts). In the mid 1990’s there was a surprise antipodean (New Zealand) revival called The New Adventures of Black Beauty which featured both Dr Gordon and a now married Jenny (best of all William Lucas and Stacy Dorning both reprised their roles).

As befitting a popular junior series like this there was plenty of merchandising released from novelisations to annuals (a few that came out in the late 70’s were not based on the series though).

The series was the brainchild of producer Ted Willis but the superb Richard (Catweazle) Carpenter provided many of the scripts as did the likes of Victor Pemberton and David Butler.

cast
Judi Bowker as Victoria Gordon (season one)
William Lucas as Dr James Gordon
Roderick Shaw as Kevin Gordon
Charlotte Mitchell as Amy Winthropp
Stacy Dorning as Jenny Gordon (season two)
Stephen Garlick as Ned (season two)
Michael Culver as Squire Armstrong
Black Jet as Black Beauty

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 19 Sep 1972 – 18 Mar 1973
1. THE FUGITIVE
2. THE HOSTAGE
3. THE PIT PONY
4. HORSE THIEVES
5. RUNAWAY
6. WARHORSE
7. THE HORSEMEN
8. THE DUEL
9. THE VIKING HELMET PART 1
10. THE VIKING HELMET PART 2
11. DAY OF RECKONING
12. MANTRAP
13. CLON ON HORSEBACK
14. THREE LOCKS TO FORTUNE
15. THE RECRUITING SERGEANT
16. THE DEBT
17. THE HORSE HEALER
18. THE WITCH
19. THE PONIES
20. THE RUFFIANS
21. TWO OF A KIND
22. FOUL PLAY
23. SAILOR ON A HORSE
24. WILD JUSTICE
25. THE BARGE
26. FATHER AND SON

SEASON TWO 29 Sep 1973 – 10 Mar 1974
1. A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY PART 1
2. A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY PART 2
3. THE OUTCAST
4. GOOD NEIGHBOURS
5. MISSION OF MERCY
6. BATTLE OF WILLS
7. THE MEDICINE MAN
8. OUT OF THE NIGHT
9. PANIC
10. THE CHALLENGE
11. POCKET MONEY
12. THE QUARRY
13. SECRET FEAR
14. LOST PART 1
15. LOST PART 2
16. LOST GODDESS
17. WHERE’S JONAH
18. A LONG HARD RUN
19. THE HORSEBREAKER
20. THE LAST ROUND UP
21. GOODBYE BEAUTY
22. THE ESCAPE
23. A RIBBON FOR BEAUTY
24. THE LAST CHARGE
25. RACE AGAINST TIME
26. GAME OF CHANCE





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