Who Pays the Ferryman?

1977 | United Kingdom

Who Pays The Ferryman? was the second major drama series from the pen of Michael J. Bird. 

Rooted in the tensions between old Cretan values and modern Greece, it tells how British ex-serviceman Alan Haldane's return to Crete after 30 years becomes the catalyst for a frightening chain of events. Haldane discovers that while he was on the island he fathered a child, who is now a young woman with a family of her own. Unable to tell them the truth he decides to settle on the island to be near his new family, unaware that there are others who are secretly plotting against him. 

The theme of undisclosed parentage was one to which Bird would return more than once in future writings, and the central story of an old-woman's "vendetta" is in every sense a Greek tragedy. Although not strictly a sequel to Bird's earlier series, The Lotus Eaters, there were many similarities. Set in the same part of Crete it features one recurring character in the form of the police chief played by Stefan Gryff. Also very much in the style of Lotus Eaters Bird offered diversions along the way in a couple of episodes unconnected to the main storyline. 

The soundtrack for the series, by Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos, became a phenomenon in its own right. It made the UK top ten twice and the soundtrack LP still comes up regularly for sale on E-bay. It was reissued on CD in 2000 by EMI Greece. 'Ferryman' ran for eight episodes beginning on 7 November 1977 and ending on Boxing Day.

Published on February 12th, 2019. Written by Dave Rice (2004) for Television Heaven.

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