TV UK TV

Follyfoot (ITV 1971-1973 with Gillian Blake, Steve Hodson and Desmond Llewellyn)

UK / ITV-Yorkshire / 39×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 1971-73

Creator: Monica Dickens / Horse Manager: Jane Royston / Theme Music: The Lightning Tree by The Settlers (written by Steven Francis) / Executive Producer: Tony Essex / Producer: Audley Southcott

In children’s drama series Follyfoot, teenager Dora is sent to live with her Uncle Geoffrey (aka The Colonel) where she quickly becomes involved at Follyfoot Farm, the home for neglected horses that the colonel runs as a hobby. Also around are fellow teens Steve and Ron Stryker and general help, ex boxer Slugger.

Hugely well remembered, Follyfoot (which was shot all on film) is one of the best family drama series ever, unlike most such series it never strayed too often into story of the week territory, maintained continuity throughout its three season run and mixed adventure and humour in equal measure.

Being a series about neglected horses the show often featured some hard hitting storylines including some where the horse doesn’t make it through. Throughout the series you expect that Steve and Dora will eventually become an item but despite some lingering looks and unspoken commitments they never did. By the time the third season arrived Dora was in charge of Follyfoot after the Colonel becomes too ill to look after it himself.

Based on the novels Cobblers Dream and Follyfoot by Monica Dickens the bulk of the series was written by Francis Stevens whilst some major league directors also worked on the series including the likes of Stephen Frears, Vic Hughes, Michael Apted, Desmond Davis, Claude Whatham and actor David Hemmings (who also appeared in season three) . The show was deservedly very popular and there was quite a bit of merchandise released to tie-in with the series, from yearly annuals, to novelisations and even a comic strip in Look-In magazine.

cast
GILLIAN BLAKE as Dora
STEVE HODSON as Steve
DESMOND LLEWELLYN as Uncle Geoffrey aka The Colonel
ARTHUR ENGLISH as Slugger
CHRISTIAN RODSKA as Ron Striker
PAUL GUESS as Lewis Hammond (season one)
GILLIAN BAILEY as Callie (season one)
BRYAN SWEENEY as Gip (season one)
FREDERICK TREVES as Sam Lockwood (season three)
NIGEL CREWE as Chip Lockwood (season three)
VERONICA QUILLIGAN as Hazel (season three)