The Growing Summer

1968 | United Kingdom

Alex, Penny, Robin and Naomi come home from school one day to find their predictable secure pattern of life completely changed. For the first time they have to think for, and look after themselves. Their adventures start on a plane to Ireland to meet "mad" Aunt Dymphna. 

Presented under the Heydey Theatre banner (Sunday's 6.15) The Growing Summer was based on a book written by Noel Streatfeild who wondered what would happen to a group of children if they were transported into an entirely different environment. Given the basic idea, plus the central character inspired by an eccentric old cousin, Miss Streatfeild was away with a story which Eric (Magic Roundabout) Thompson turned into a play. "It was a magical experience," said Wendy Hiller, who played the part of Great Aunt Dymphna. 

Talking for a TV Times interview in 1968 Hiller said "We went to south-west Ireland, to the country where Noel Streatfeild set her story about four children who spend a summer with their great aunt. "Sometimes I think it is a pity we did not make a film about the filming. For example, as great-aunt Dymphna I was supposed to drive a battered old open car. I am a very bad driver, which meant all the children used to sit in the back and tell me when to change gear. It must have been alarming for the tourists when they saw this wild old lady careering along with a load of children, and even more alarming when that same old lady leaned out and bellowed: 'Out of my way, road hog!' They weren't to know that was in the script." The children were played by Hoagy Davies (13), Zuleika Robson (12), Mark Ward (10) and Laura Hartong (9).

Published on December 19th, 2018. Based on original TV Times article.