Thursday, 23 July 2015

Serial offender - Elidor (CBBC 1995)

Once again delving into the murky depths of children's television, I find myself revisiting an oft forgotten serial named "Elidor"

(Series Title Card)

"Elidor" was a six part 1995 fantasy series which aired on CBBC, and was an adaptation of the 1965 novel of the same name by Alan Garner.

Set contempory times (mostly in the mid 90s Manchester and northern Cheshire), Elidor sees a group of young people embark on an adventure to save the magical alternate realm from "the Darkness", an army of men and creatures who are evil.
The world of Elidor is protected by four magical treasures, which are housed in four castles, however due to the war with the Darkness, three of the castles have been destroyed and the treasures have been lost, however, an ancient legend tells that a group of children will one day find the treasures and return them to the remaining castle, where their magic will once again protect the land from evil.
In our world, siblings Roland, Helen, David and Nicholas Watson are exploring Manchester, when, after getting a bit bored, they consult a street finder machine (once a common sight in British towns and cities, now almost totally unheard of) to see if it can point them in the direction of something to do. the map directs them to a run down part of the city, where they find a creepy little curiosity shop. After looking at the various knick-knacks the shop has on sale, David chooses to purchase a video game named "the chase", however when he asks the shop keeper how much it is, he begins a long monologue about 4 people being chased, one of whom is strong, but is getting stronger. He then gives David the game for nothing, insisting that he come back later and pay him what he thinks its worth.
The siblings leave the shop and eventually end up in the grounds of an abandoned church, which they end up looking inside when Roland kicks a football through one of the windows, and they enter to try and retrieve it.
Throughout the day, Roland has been seeing a robed, hooded figure seemingly following and watching them, none of the others have noticed this, so dismiss his claims as being stupid, however this figure is Malebron, a man from Elidor who, using magic, has travelled through "the gate" (a place where the walls of reality are thin) to find the four children and get them to find the lost treasures.
The Darkness though has also seen this, and has sent a warrior, along with a creature called a "sniffer" (a sort of goblin like creature that can track scents) to stop the children from completing their task by using both sword and sorcery, as well as trickery.

Most of the story focuses on Roland, the aforementioned one who is "strong, but getting stronger", as he tries to figure out what is going on and what to do in the strange world of Elidor, all while trying to get the treasures (a spear, a sword, a chalice and a stone tablet) to the last remaining castle, where Malebron says he will bring Fyndhorne, the last Unicorn, so he can sing and restore light to Elidor...or something...

I have never read the original book, but from watching the series, I get the distinct impression that there is a lot of stuff missing from the adaptation,  I could be wrong, but it does seem that way.
The special effects used in the series look a bit dated now, being a mix of green screen and early CGI, and the acting, well, the less said about that the better.

All in all, Elidor is a bit of a confusing mess, and watches a bit like how you would expect to see people doing LARP for the first time act as they wander around the woods and dales mumbling pseudo medieval dialogue.
Yeah, its not very good, I didn't like it much back when I first saw it in 1995, and I like it even less now.

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