The Chronicles of Narnia (TV serial)

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The Chronicles of Narnia
ChroniclesOfNarniaTV.jpg
Title screen
Created by C. S. Lewis (novel)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 18
Production
Running time

25–30 min per each episode

505 min total for series (estimate)
Release
Original channel BBC
Picture format 4:3
Original release 13 November 1988 (1988-11-13) – 23 December 1990 (1990-12-23)

The Chronicles of Narnia is a BBC-produced television serial that was aired from 13 November 1988 to 23 December 1990 and is based on four books of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series. The first series aired was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 1988, the second series aired was Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 1989 and the third series aired was The Silver Chair in 1990. This television serial was produced by Paul Stone and teleplayed by Alan Seymour. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was directed by Marilyn Fox, while Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair were directed by Alex Kirby.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe[edit]

Set in 1940, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are siblings who are evacuated from London because of World War II. They are sent to the countryside to stay with Professor Digory Kirke.

While exploring a spare room in the house, Lucy enters a wardrobe and finds herself in the middle of a snowy wood. She meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus, who explains that she is in the land of Narnia. He takes her back to his cave for tea. He then plays his flute and Lucy goes to sleep, but when she wakes up Tumnus is crying and he confesses that he had intended to hand her over to the cruel White Witch, who rules over Narnia and makes it "always winter and never Christmas". She had ordered him and all the other Narnians that if they ever saw a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve in Narnia, they were to catch them and hand them over to her, but Tumnus realises that he cannot go through with it and he walks back to the lamp-post with Lucy to make sure she returns safely to her own world.

When Lucy returns to her siblings, they do not believe her story about the country in the wardrobe, especially because Lucy claims to have been gone for hours, while for her siblings no time has passed. Edmund is particularly cruel to her and taunts her with comments like "found any new countries in the cupboard lately?".

Later, during a game of hide and seek, Lucy again enters the wardrobe and Edmund follows her into it, and manages to find his way into Narnia, but he cannot find Lucy. After walking some distance into the snow-covered forest, he hears a jingling of bells and a horse-drawn sleigh draws up, transporting a great lady.

The lady introduces herself as the Queen of Narnia, and demands to know "what" Edmund is. He is confused by her question, and she is running out of patience before she finally asks him if he is human. He tells her that he is human and that he got into Narnia through a wardrobe door. She is kind to Edmund, giving him warm drink and his favourite food: Turkish delight and magically makes a tent appear which they enter before talking. She is eager to know all about him and he tells her that he has a brother and two sisters – she seems particularly interested in the fact that there are four of them. He also tells her that his sister Lucy has already been in Narnia and has met a faun. The Queen tells Edmund that she would like to see his brother and sisters and that next time he comes to Narnia he should bring them with him to meet her. She also tells him that she has no children, and that she would love a boy she could bring up as a prince; who would be King of Narnia when she died. She eventually bids farewell to Edmund and reminds him to come and see her soon.

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are later crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia in Cair Paravel. They rule Narnia for many years, bringing peace and prosperity to the land. As adults, the four monarchs are passing through the forest when they come across the old lamp-post that marks the border of Narnia. They walk deeper, passing through the wardrobe door and find themselves back in the professor's house, and once again children.

Prince Caspian/The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[edit]

Prince Caspian: The four Pevensie children are waiting at a train station when a magical force pulls them into Narnia. They land at an overgrown castle which they recognise as Cair Paravel.

Susan saves the life of a dwarf named Trumpkin who is about to be drowned by two soldiers on a boat. The children tell him that they are the old Kings and Queens of Narnia, of which Trumpkin has heard of in the Narnian legends.

Trumpkin tells the children the story of Prince Caspian, nephew of the current monarch, King Miraz. Caspian lived in a great castle with King Miraz and his wife Queen Prunaprismia. He has a tutor called Dr. Cornelius who one night woke him up because the Queen had given birth to a baby; with a direct heir, Miraz no longer needs Caspian, and planned to kill him. Caspian escaped on a horse but fell from it in the woods and was taken in by Trumpkin, a badger called Trufflehunter and a black dwarf called Nikabrik. These are people who live in hiding, because King Miraz hates the Old Narnians; his ancestors defeated them in their invasion of Narnia hundreds of years earlier.

The fifth and final island is at the end of the world. Before they ascend the island, they find a man in the water who introduced himself as Lord Rhoop. On the island they meet Ramandu and his daughter, and also find the three remaining Lords who are in an enchanted sleep.

The three children eventually return home, and before leaving they know that Caspian will marry the daughter of Ramandu, who lives on an island at the end of the world, and that the four lords who were in a deep sleep on Ramandu's island will awaken. Aslan also told Edmund and Lucy that they will not return to Narnia since they are getting too old.

The Silver Chair[edit]

Eustace Scrubb, cousin of the Pevensies, is at a boarding school with a girl named Jill Pole. The two children are targeted by bullies because of their surnames. Eustace tells Jill about Narnia, and while running away from bullies, they pass through a doorway into Aslan's country. Eustace accidentally falls off a cliff, but is blown to Narnia.

Alone, Jill encounters Aslan, who tells her of the task she and Eustace have been given to do. Aslan explains that in Narnia, the elderly king's only son and heir, Prince Rilian, disappeared some years earlier. Jill is told to memorise four signs that will lead her and Eustace to Rilian. Aslan sends Jill to Narnia, where she is reunited with Eustace near the castle of Cair Paravel. Jill quickly tells Eustace that he has to greet "an old and dear friend", which is the first sign given by Aslan. Eustace says that he cannot recognize anyone, and the two watch as a boat with the elderly king leaves the castle dock. The two meet an owl named Glimfeather, who tells them that the king who just left is King Caspian X. Eustace realises that King Caspian is his friend from the Dawn Treader, and Jill is upset that they've missed the first sign.

The pair meet Trumpkin the dwarf, who is King Caspian's trusted advisor. They are allowed to stay in the castle, and that night they are brought by Glimfeather to the Parliament of Owls where they are told the full story of Prince Rilian's disappearance.

They explore the castle, learning that the Harfang Giants intend to cook them for their Autumn Feast. They escape through a cat door, and get away from the Giants' hounds by crawling through a hole under a rock. In the darkness, they fall down a slope deep into the ground. There, they are captured by Earthmen to be taken to the Queen of the Underworld.

Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum are taken to the Queen's living quarters. They are greeted by a knight wearing a silver mask. He reveals that he has met them before: he was the knight on horseback they'd encountered, and the Queen of the Deep Realm is also the Lady of Green Kirtle. The knight claims that the Lady is his saviour, as only she can break the curse that is on him.

They detour briefly to Aslan's country, where they see a vision of Caspian as a 13-year-old again. Caspian greets Eustace warmly, and tells Aslan that he has always wanted a glimpse of Eustace's world. Aslan agrees to the request, taking them to the outer walls of Eustace and Jill's school. Aslan forces a crack in the wall and the bullies appear at the other side, only to be chased away by the three children in knight's armour. They then say their goodbyes, with Eustace and Jill returning to their own world.

Cast[edit]

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe[edit]

Prince Caspian/The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[edit]

The Silver Chair[edit]

Awards[edit]

The series were nominated for a total of 14 awards, including a nomination for an Emmy in the category of "Outstanding Children's Program". The series won the BAFTA Award for "Best Video Lighting" (1988), and was nominated for "Best Children's Programme (Entertainment / Drama)" (1988, 1989 and 1990), "Best Video Lighting" (1989), "Best Make Up" (1988, 1989, 1990) and "Best Costume Design" (1988), "Best Video Cameraman" (1989, 1990).[1]

Home Video Releases[edit]

The series has been released in various formats:

  • VHS
    • 1990 Box set [2]
  • DVD
    • 2002 Box set [3]
    • 2005 Box set Complete collectors edition (Cat. No. BBCDVD1889) [4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]