I’m currently enjoying the boxed DVD set of Ace of Wands, a 70s TV series about a telepathic magician called Tarot who, with his loyal assistants, solves intriguing mysteries. When I was a kid I absolutely loved this. I was in love with Tarot. I was always a sucker for a hero with superpowers. As soon as I pressed Play and heard the theme music from the series I became an idealistic dreamer again. Maybe this is sentimental nostalgia rather than any logical thought, but I remember the 70s as a more innocent, naïve age somehow. I miss it.
I recently re-acquainted myself with another children’s TV series of the70s, The Tomorrow People. About a group of telepaths from the future who solve mysteries and save the world. Sounds familiar.....
In both dramas, the heroes and heroines are pacifists. The acting might be a bit wooden and the sets wobbly but what they have in common is their positive outlook and the fact that good always triumphs over evil.
Watching programmes like this triggers off a whole chain of emotions. Pleasure, wistfulness, joy. For a short magical while, I am transported back to a time before mortgages and emotional responsibility, before life got complicated and grown up. I think it’s good for our souls to revisit this part of ourselves.
As a pony-mad youngster, my favourite programmes included The Adventures of Black Beauty and The White Horses. Both featured a girl who loved horses and her adventures, whether in Victorian England or 60s Yugoslavia. I longed to be that girl with a horse. It was my ambition, a dream that kept me warm for a long while. The sense of longing this ignited was part of growing up. I never became that girl but it doesn’t matter. That craving inspired and fuelled my writing and is still there when I write my pony books 40 years later.
Happy endings are reassuring. That’s what the children’s dramas I enjoyed had in common. Maybe that’s why I feel good when I revisit them, tinged with a whisper of sadness for something lost.
These days, the only kid’s series that makes me smile is Shaun the Sheep. Fun, funny, lovable, simple and with a positive message. Always a happy ending. It’s what we all hope for.