Escape Into Night

1972 | United Kingdom

Based on Catherine Storr's 1958 novel Marianne and adapted for television by Ruth Boswell, whose other credits as script editor or producer on children's drama series include Timeslip, The Tomorrow People, The Molly Wopsies, Horse In The House, Shadows and Warrior Queen. Escape Into Night is a haunting story full of vivid images that were probably the cause of many a nightmare back in April 1972. 

The somewhat complex storyline revolves round a young girl, Marianne (Vikki Chambers) who has the ability to dream herself into sketches that she has drawn. But this is no Mary Poppins tale of cartoon characters and comedy dance routines. The picture she ends up inside is one of a creepy old house ringed by a circle of standing stones. Also into the picture she dreams Mark (Steven Jones), a young boy who is confined to bed through illness. When the two of them fall out, Marianne, in a fit of temper, draws window bars and a high wall around the house and a single green eye on each of the stones to make sure Mark can't escape. But Mark is no figment of Marianne's imagination. He is real, and so is his illness. Only by helping him to escape the house will Marianne be able to help him recover in the real world. 

Escape Into Night
The circle of stones in Escape Into Night

This was a tense psychological drama that kept the viewer guessing which was the real world and which the make believe. As with many children's dramas at this time the budgetary constraints on the production meant light on the effects but heavy on the atmosphere. But beyond doubt it's the stones, more than anything else that seem to have left the biggest impression on the nation's children and even in adulthood those images do not go away.

"It was very frightening, something about a young girl crouching behind her front door, afraid to go outside because the stones would get her. Seriously scary." -Television Heaven Forum 2004.

Published on December 10th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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