Aquila (BBC-1 1997-1998 with Ben Brooks and Craig Vye)

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In the entertaining children’s series Aquila, which mixed comedy and scifi to great effect, two teenagers, Tom Baxter and Geoff Reynolds, discover an ancient spaceship in a cave during their school holidays. Learning that a Roman soldier had kept it hidden the pair decide to keep the machine rather than hand it over to the authorities and are soon embarking on a series of adventures with the machine which is called Aquila (Latin for Eagle) as well as trying to keep it’s amazing abilities (which include invisibility) secret.

Tom is initially quite hesitant about the whole thing but soon realises what a fabulous opportunity Aquila represents whilst Geoff is very gung ho about his pilot skills. Their mothers know the boys are upto something but are convinced they are suffering shock after discovering the Roman remains in the cave (which also including the skeleton of a long dead soldier).

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Great fun, Aquila channels into that classic almost Narnian kids idea of amazing adventures that grown ups know nothing about. Writer Andrew Norriss cut his teeth on adult sitcoms so there was a good level of humour involved too and he would later go on to the similarly themed kid’s show Bernard’s Watch. Episodes were shown twice weekly.

UK / BBC One / 13×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 December 1997 – 17 December 1998

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Creator: Andrew Norriss / Script Development: Marilyn Fox / Music: David Chilton, Nick Russell

cast
BEN BROOKS as Tom Baxter
CRAIG VYE as Geoff Reynolds
SALLY ANNE LAW as Mrs Baxter
VIVIEN PARRY as Mrs Reynolds
THOMAS WHEATLEY as Professor Hare
CONSTANCE BARRIE as Alison
HOWELL EVANS as Mr Evans

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE2 – 23 December 1997
1. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
2. HOMEWARD BOUND
3. LOSING SIGHT
4. MANUAL CONTROL
5. ENERGY LEVELS
6. COMPREHENSION EXERCISE
7. THE EAGLE’S EYRIE

SEASON TWO1 – 17 December 1998
1. THE BIRTHDAY SURPRISE
2. BATTLING BOBBY
3. AN ELEPHANT SURROUNDED BY BLIND MEN
4. THE GOOSEBERRY
5. END OF AN EYRIE
6. ON SECOND THOUGHTS, LET’S PANIC…

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.