Come Back Lucy

1978 | United Kingdom

Having grown up in the care of her elderly aunt Olive, Lucy's world is torn apart when her loving protectress passes away and she is compelled to live with an aunt and uncle that she hardly knows. Although the new relatives do everything they can to make Lucy feel at home, she simply doesn't fit in with their more modern lifestyle. The couple have three children who also try to encourage Lucy, but she makes very little effort to join in with her cousins' high spirited way of life. 

Exploring the Victorian house where the family lives, Lucy is shown the only room that has not been modernised; an attic with old furniture, a vintage rocking horse and ornate mirrors which are stacked haphazardly on the floor. It is through one of these mirrors that Alice appears. A young girl of similar age to Lucy, Alice claims to live in the house, which has suddenly been transformed into a vision of an age long ago. The dusty old attic looks clean and fresh, the mirrors are hanging on the wall and the rocking horse looks brand new. 

At first, Alice seems friendly (if a little pushy) and eager to play with Lucy but she gradually becomes more demanding until her behaviour turns to one of out and out malevolence. Alice tries to persuade Lucy to stay in the past with her, but Lucy flees back to her own time. At the climax of the story Alice manages to lure Lucy out of the house and into a park with a frozen lake. As she walks across the frosted surface it gives way and Lucy plunges into the ice cold water with Alice pulling at her legs in order to drag her under. 

Come Back Lucy was written by Pamela Sykes in 1973 and adapted for television by Colin Shindler and Gail Renard. Sykes wrote a sequel, Lucy Beware, in 1983, which concerned the reappearance of Alice. The themes explored in Come Back Lucy are very similar to those in Sapphire and Steel, which debuted the following year. Producer Shaun O'Riordan worked on both series.

Published on November 13th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.