In the excellently dystopian Noah’s Castle it is the near future and Britain has been rent apart by rising inflation and is on the brink of both social and economic collapse. A loaf of bread is as much as two hundred pounds and unemployment is rife. Norman Mortimer is determined to provide for his family and having bought a large run down mansion he has begun storing food in large quantities, something that very quickly becomes illegal and worth a prison sentence. His family though, teenagers Barry, Nessie and Geoff and the younger Ellen are determined to help the other people in the area who are clearly struggling just to stay alive. Trouble starts though when local bad boy Vince Holloway gets wind of the Mortimer’s plans and starts to blackmail him. Meanwhile Mortimer’s boss Mr Gerald takes advantage of the situation by moving in with the family.
An excellent strong and surprisingly adult drama which tackles difficult themes (which are still just as relevent today) and has some powerful imagery especially as the food crisis gets more and more out of hand.
Look out to for an early appearance from Christopher Fairbank (aka Moxie from Auf Wiedersehen Pet), an even earlier appearance from a young Zammo McGuire (aka Lee MacDonald) and a villainous (and surprisingly good) turn from comedian Mike Reid (although he does contribute to a glaring continuity error, in the location scenes he has a stubbly three day growth and then for the interior scenes it is a full beard!).
The electronic score for Noah’s Castle is very reminiscent of Paddy Kingsland’s for the similarly themed The Changes. The opening credit sequence which brings home the potential violence that a crisis could bring about packs plenty of punch and the end credit sequence with the soldier silouhetted against a sunset is also very well realised.
UK / ITV – Southern / 7×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 April – 14 May 1980
Writer: Nick McCarty / Novel:John Rowe Townsend / Music: Jugg Music / Production Design: Greg Lawson / Executive Producer: Lewis Rudd / Producer and Director: Colin Nutley
DAVID NEAL as Mr Mortimer
SIMON GIPPS KENT as Barry
MARCUS FRANCIS as Geoff
JEAN RIMMER as Mrs Mortimer
LOUISE OLLEY as Ellen
ALUN LEWIS as Terry
ANNETTE EKBLOM as Nessie
CHRIS FAIRBANK as Cliff
MIKE REID as Vince Holloway
JACK MAY as Mr Gerald
HUGH HASTINGS as Home Secretary
PAULINE LETTS as Mrs Smith
LEE MACDONALD as Mel Holloway
MICHELE WINSTANLEY as Wendy
DOUGLAS BLACKWELL as Butcher
DIANA VAN PROOSDY as Mrs Johnson
MARTIN TOWNSEND as Black Marketeer