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The Changes: The Cavern (BBC-1 10 Mar 1975, with Oscar Quitak)



the changes BBC 1975

In the final episode of the serial, The Cavern, Vicky and Jonathon, having discovered that an ancient force linked to Merlin is at the root of The Changes, know they must get into the Cavern and try and put things to rights. Vicky is being badly troubled by the psychological noises that affected everybody in the first place but Jonathon seems somehow immune to it.

Furbelow is also intent on stopping them thinking in his madness that he is somehow able to control the power he has unleashed. Finally though Nicky and Jonathon are able to reach the rock and it emits the same warning that it did to Furbelow. Nicky talks to the rock and tries to persuade it to revert things (and although it does sound odd written down that Nicky is communicating with a rock it does fit in with the story. It is clear the rock is not jut a rock but more like the spirit of the Earth itself is within it.)

A montage of what has happened so far plays out as Nicky communicates with the rock and Vicky is successful in trying to persuade it to stop what it is doing. A landslide seals the rock inside the cavern once more.

As Vicky says in her expositionary speech at the end “I don’t even know it it’s alive, but it is there, in nature. Deep in the roots of everything. Where it all begins. It has it’s own tides, it’s own energies. It’s own needs, it’s hungers. It’s order. But it needs the nature of our world and we’ve been changing that nature too fast. Our machines, pollution. We’ve put it out of balance. It felt. It knew. It was restless ready to be woken. Soon it would have done in time. Mr Furbelow was too soon, too sudden, just the wrong person. Tried to use the power, wasn’t strong enough.”

What is interesting is that within minutes of Vicky and Jonathon emerging from the cave there is the sound of a car in the distance and by the episode end with footage of a busy street playing over the end credits it is clear that The Changes are over. Things are wrapped up a little quickly but all in all it’s a brilliant adaptation of what in reality is three very disparate books only loosely connected by the fact that they all take place in the time of The Changes.

The series then can be read as something of an exhortation to slow down the pace of our modern world before it runs away from us completely. It was a common theme in drama of the mid 1970’s but of course we have taken zero notice and our now so dependent on technology that a societal collapse would be ten times quicker these days.

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×25 minute episode / Broadcast 10 March 1975 at 5.20pm

Writer: Anna Home / Production Design: Paul Munting / Director: John Prowse

Series: The Changes Episode 10 (of 10)

Vicky Williams as Nicky
Keith Ashton as Jonathon
Oscar Quitak as Mr Furbelow