The Adventures of Black Beauty

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The Adventures of Black Beauty
Genre Children
Drama
Written by Ted Willis (head writer)
Richard Carpenter
David Butler
Directed by Charles Crichton
Peter Duffell
John Reardon
Starring Judi Bowker
William Lucas
Stacy Dorning
Roderick Shaw
Charlotte Mitchell
Michael Culver
Theme music composer Denis King
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52
Production
Executive producer(s) Paul Knight
Producer(s) Sidney Cole
Location(s) Hertfordshire, England
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) The Fremantle Corporation
London Weekend Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format Colour
Audio format Monaural
Original run 17 September 1972 – 27 March 1974

The Adventures of Black Beauty is a British children's television drama series produced by London Weekend Television and shown by ITV in the United Kingdom between 1972 and 1974. It was distributed internationally by London Weekend International.

The series The New Adventures of Black Beauty (1990–91) was a continuation of the 1970s series, and was set in the year 1907, twenty years after the original series.

Broadcast history[edit]

Two series were produced, the first airing from September 1972 to March 1973 and the second from September 1973 to March 1974. Although it was mainly aimed at children, it was shown in the Sunday teatime family timeslot and gained a wide audience, becoming popular enough to make the general Top 20 ratings. It was repeated regularly, although often on a regional basis, for many years, its last full repeat run being on Sunday mornings from 1986 to 1988. It also aired in the United States on Nickelodeon in the 1980s. In July 2009, Retro Television Network picked up all 104 episodes of The Adventures of Black Beauty and The New Adventures of Black Beauty, and affiliates began airing the show, listing both shows as simply Black Beauty.

Plot[edit]

The series was not an adaptation of the book by Anna Sewell, but a "continuation" featuring new characters created by Ted Willis, most prominently Dr James Gordon, played by William Lucas, and his children Vicky, played by Judi Bowker (who became Jenny, played by Stacy Dorning, in the second series) and Kevin, played by Roderick Shaw. Supporting characters included Dr. Gordon's loyal housekeeper Amy Winthrop, played by Charlotte Mitchell, and a local boy, Albert Clifton, portrayed by Tony Maiden. Other writers for the series included David Butler and Richard Carpenter, while directors included Charles Crichton and Peter Duffell. The series, which was filmed mainly at Stockers Farm, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was widely acclaimed for its high production values and quality of writing and acting, and at times had remarkable English gothic overtones for a children's series.

Main cast[edit]

Dr. James Gordon – William Lucas (52 episodes, 1972–1974)
Amy Winthrop – Charlotte Mitchell (52 episodes, 1972–1974)
Kevin Gordon – Roderick Shaw (51 episodes, 1972–1974)
Squire Armstrong – Michael Culver (31 episodes, 1972–1974)
Vicky Gordon – Judi Bowker (26 episodes, 1972–1973)
Jenny Gordon – Stacy Dorning (25 episodes, 1973–1974)
Police Constable Dickins – Kenneth Thornett (16 episodes, 1972–1974)
Albert Clifton – Tony Maiden (14 episodes, 1972–1974)
Ned Lewis – Stephen Garlick (11 episodes, 1973–1974)

Episodes[edit]

Season 1
1 The Fugitive (23 Sep 72)
2 The Hostage (30 Sep 72)
3 The Pit Pony (7 Oct 72)
4 The Horse Thieves (14 Oct 72)
5 Runaway (21 Oct 72)
6 Warhorse (28 Oct 72)
7 The Horsemen (4 Nov 72)
8 The Duel (11 Nov 72)
9 The Viking Helmet (Part 1) (18 Nov 72)
10 The Viking Helmet (Part 2) (25 Nov 72)
11 Day of Reckoning (2 Dec 72)
12 Man Trap (9 Dec 72)
13 Clown on Horseback (23 Dec 72)
14 Three Lock to Fortune (6 Dec 73)
15 The Recruiting Sergeant (1 Jan 73)
16 The Debt (20 Jan 73)
17 The Horse Dealers (27 Jan 73)
18 The Witch (3 Feb 73)
19 The Ponies (10 Feb 73)
20 The Ruffians (17 Feb 73)
21 Two of a Kind (24 Feb 73)
22 Foul Play (3 Mar 73)
23 Sailor on a Horse (10 Mar 73)
24 Wild Justice (17 Mar 73)
25 The Barge (24 Mar 73)
26 Father and Son (31 Mar 73)

Season 2
1 A Member of the Family (Part 1) (23 Sep 73)
2 A Member of the Family (Part 2) (30 Sep 73)
3 The Outcast (7 Oct 73)
4 Good Neighbours (14 Oct 73)
5 Mission of Mercy (21 Oct 73)
6 Battle of Wills (28 Oct 73)
7 The Medicine Man (4 Nov 73)
8 Out of the Night (11 Nov 73)
9 Panic (18 Nov 73)
10 The Challenge (25 Nov 73)
11 Pocket Money (2 Dec 73)
12 The Quarry (9 Dec 73)
13 Secret of Fear (16 Dec 73)
14 Lost (Part 1) (23 Dec 73)
15 Lost (Part 2) (23 Dec 73)
16 Lost Goddess (30 Dec 73)
17 Where´s Jonah? (6 Jan 74)
18 The Horse Breaker (20 Jan 74)
19 A Long Hard Run (31 Jan 74)
20 Goodbye Beauty (3 Feb 74)
21 The Escape (10 Feb 74)
22 A Ribbon for Beauty (17 Feb 74)
23 The Last Charge (24 Feb 74)
24 Race against Time (3 Mar 74)
25 Game of Chance (10 Mar 74)
26 The Last Roundup (27 Mar 74)

Theme Song[edit]

The theme tune, "Galloping Home", written by Denis King and performed by the London String Chorale, was released as a single and peaked at number 31 in the UK charts in the week of 2 February 1974. It was later used at the climax of the first series of Absolutely Fabulous, with Edina Monsoon dreaming of running through a field as Black Beauty does in the series' title sequence. The theme tune was also featured in the series Brainiac: Science Abuse. It actually has lyrics by Dick Vosburgh as revealed by Denis King at a memorial concert for Dick Vosburgh in July 2007. The theme was also used in 1975 an episode of The Goodies called 'Scatty Safari', when the team release the main attraction of their Star Safari Park, Tony Blackburn, into the wild. It was also used in the final episode of the first series of BBC TV comedy 'I'm Alan Partridge'. Alan exclaims "It’s brilliant." upon hearing the piece when his PA Lynn puts it on the stereo, they then listen to it again when clearing up after Alan's rather unsuccessful leaving party. On disc two of the I'm Alan Partridge Series 1 DVD release the theme music also plays on a loop over the menu, the background of which is a picture of Alan Partridge running through a field.

Video Releases[edit]

Over the years there have been a number of VHS video releases of episodes (both single episode and 2 episode volumes and both PAL and NTSC format) by The Fremantle Corporation (with London Weekend Television/Talbot TV),[1][2] VCI,[3] Video Gems.,[4] and WH Smith Video.[5] Sony is often cited as the producer of videos released by The Fremantle Corporation, but it appears that the name Sony, the manufacturer of the cassette, was retained on the slip cases.[6][7][8][9]

In 2001, Network DVD entered the series tentatively into the DVD market with two "best of" DVDs, one for each season. A few days later, these DVDs were available as a two disk set. The DVDs were released as region 0, but being PAL format were not suitable for the North American market. (Note: They released "The Best of Series One" on VHS first on 11 Jun 2001.[10] "The Best of Series Two" followed in VHS on 13 Aug 2001.[11])

Season/Series Ep# Release Date Episodes
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series One 5 17 Sep 2001[12] "The Fugitive", "The Hostage", "'The Recruiting Sergeant", "Sailor on a Horse", "Father and Son"
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series Two 6 17 Sep 2001[13] "Member of the Family Part 1", "Member of the Family Part 2", "The Medicine Man", "Out of the Night", "The Escape", and "Game of Chance"
The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Best Of Series One & Two 11 24 Sep 2001[14] "The Fugitive", "The Hostage", "'The Recruiting Sergeant", "Sailor on a Horse", "Father and Son",
"Member of the Family Part 1", "Member of the Family Part 2", "The Medicine Man", "Out of the Night", "The Escape", and "Game of Chance"

In 2007, Network DVD offered the complete Season 1 as a 4 disk set in region 2. A few months later in 2008, Season 2 was released, also 4 disks and region 2. In 2009, these were combined and released as the complete series.

Season/Series Ep# Release Date
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 1 - Complete 26 3 Sep 2007[15]
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 2 - Complete 26 14 Apr 2008[16]
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Complete Series 52 5 Oct 2009[17]

In 2008, Network DVD released an anomalous offering of a DVD that included "The Recruiting Sergeant" (Season 1) and both parts of "Member of the Family" (Season 2), all of which had been part of their earlier "Best Of" DVDs. These were region 2 only.

Season/Series Ep# Release Date Episodes
The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Two Episodes 3 12 Jun 2008[18] "The Recruiting Sergeant", "A Member of the Family Part 1", "A Member of the Family Part 2"

In 2009 Image Entertainment released first Season 1 and then Season 2 in Region 1. Each season was three disks.

Season/Series Ep# Release Date
The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season 1 26 5 May 2009[19]
The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season 2 26 4 August 2009[20]

In 2012 Madacy Entertainment and Image Entertainment released "The Best of Black Beauty" a 10 disk Region 1 box set containing 42 episodes of The Adventures of Black Beauty and 44 episodes of The New Adventures of Black Beauty.

Season/Series Ep# Release Date
The Best of Black Beauty 42, plus 44 more from the later series 18 Sep 2012[21]

The Adventures of Black Beauty episodes included in The Best of Black Beauty are:

Season 1 - 1 episode omitted
Disc 1: The Fugitive, The Pit Pony, Man Trap, The Hostage, The Horse Thieves, Warhorse, Clown on Horseback
Disc 2: The Duel, The Viking Helmet (Part 1), The Viking Helmet (Part 2), The Barge, Day of Reckoning, The Horse Dealer, The Debt, Runaway, Three Lock to Fortune
Disc 3: Recruiting Sergeant, The Ruffians, The Witch, Two of a Kind, The Ponies, Father and Son, Wild Justice, Foul Play, Sailor on a Horse

Season 2 - 9 episodes omitted
Disc 4: A Member of the Family (Part 1), A Member of the Family (Part 2), The Outcast, Good Neighbours, Mission of Mercy, Battle of Wills, The Medicine Man, Out of the Night
Disc 5: A Long Hard Run, The Horse Breaker, The Last Roundup, Goodbye Beauty, The Escape, A Ribbon for Beauty, The Last Charge, Race against Time, Game of Chance

For the rest of the episodes in this box set, see The New Adventures of Black Beauty.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty (Various Volumes). "The Adventures of Black Beauty (Various Volumes)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  2. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty: The Fugitive: The Origin of Black Beauty (Season 1, Episode 1). "The Adventures of Black Beauty: The Fugitive: The Origin of Black Beauty (Season 1, Episode 1)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  3. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Viking Helmet. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Viking Helmet". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  4. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  5. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - 4 Episodes. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - 4 Episodes". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  6. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 2 Member of the Family. "The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 2 Member of the Family". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  7. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 3 A Ribbon for Beauty, A Mission of Mercy. "The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 3 A Ribbon for Beauty, A Mission of Mercy". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  8. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 5 Out of the Night, Good Neighbors. "The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 5 Out of the Night, Good Neighbors". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  9. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 6 The Quarry, The Challenge. "The Adventures of Black Beauty Vol 6 The Quarry, The Challenge". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  10. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series One. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series One". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  11. ^ The New Adventures of Black Beauty: Season One. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series Two". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  12. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series One. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series One". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  13. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series Two. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Best Of Series Two". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  14. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Best Of Series One & Two. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty: The Best Of Series One & Two". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  15. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 1 - Complete. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 1 - Complete". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  16. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 2 - Complete. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Series 2 - Complete". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  17. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Complete Series. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - The Complete Series". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  18. ^ The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Two Episodes. "The Adventures Of Black Beauty - Two Episodes". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  19. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season One. "The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season One". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  20. ^ The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season Two. "The Adventures of Black Beauty: Season Two". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  21. ^ The Best of Black Beauty. "The Best of Black Beauty". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 

External links[edit]