Beloved Mini-Series from the Olden Days.
I don’t remember how this old series from 1979 came to my attention-probably it was praised on one of the Facebook sites I frequent dealing with period drama or British series and shows. After I read the glowing to hyperbolic reviews, I was thrilled to find it at my library. I did enjoy it. It was very good. I loved the time period depicted-1909 to 1918-what a watershed period of history! So much going on.
We follow the likable, plucky, if a little barmy Christina as she is deposited at Flambards a debt-ridden estate owned by her brutish and bitter uncle. By the bye, his hairstyle makes him look like the Devil. I wonder if that was intended.
He has two sons. The handsome older brother, Mark, is equally brutish and as horse-mad as his father, and the youngest, William, is the complete antithesis of both of them: brilliant, forward-thinking, ambitious, hard-working, and kind. He couldn’t care less about horses, in fact he hates and fears them after an accident that left him a little lame. His passion is airplanes. He is continually treated with harshness and injustice by his brother and father, but he could not care less. I loved William. His father is no father to him, so he finds a substitute: An older gentleman who is his friend and mentor to his aeronautical ambitions. Christina and William become great friends even though she still gets on with Mark and his father most of the time, due to her own love of horses. William tells her right off the bat, by way of a warning, that she is meant to marry Mark for her fortune so he and Uncle can buy more horses and continue their aristocratic and wasteful lifestyle. Pay their debts? Develop their land? Restore the estate? Invest in the future? Please. Thanks to William, Christina has their number right away, and together William and she are an unbeatable team. They are adventurous, brave, and dauntless.
This approximately 12 hour series is divided into 3 parts. The first part ends with Christina and William escaping to London so William can follow his dreams but not before Christina carries on a flirtation with a devoted stable-hand and gets him fired by involving him in her desperate scheme to save her beloved horse from being slaughtered. Admittedly a noble cause, but still. Christina is impulsive but has good instincts. The second section involves their London adventures with William trying to break in to the airplane industry and their close friendship with a like-minded young couple. They are a fearsome foursome, if you will. WWI breaks out and William joins up and becomes a pilot.
In the last section, the resilient Christina takes over Flambards, determined to repair years of neglect, and bring it in to the 20th century. She is reunited with an old friend, and again has to deal with troublesome Mark who returns from the still on-going war.
Although tragedy and tough times are certainly part of Christina’s journey, overall, It remains upbeat and optimistic from first episode to last. I think this is because it is based on a trilogy of books aimed at young teens. Serious issues are addressed, bad things happen, but we soon realize that we are not going to be thrown to the wolves, so to speak. To add to the appeal we are treated to more than two nice love stories. Always a big plus. The strange musical score by David Fanshawe, I did not like or understand. But I can’t get it out of my head. **8 stars out of 10**
May 21, 2021