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An old-fashioned treasure
on May 22, 2009
For those of a certain age, the unexpected DVD release of this fine series in America will be a joy. It's family entertainment in the best sense of the phrase: suitable for all ages, but not overly saccharine or dumbed down in the least. The English landscape is lush & beautiful; the period flavor is just right, transporting the viewer into another time, when an adventure was always waiting just over the next hill.
The setup is classic: a widowed doctor, compassionate & strong; his warm but no-nonsense housekeeper; and his two children, full of life & curiosity. And of course, Black Beauty, the magnificent horse that becomes a beloved member of the family as well, especially for young Vicky Gordon.
Here we get to one of the show's most appealing aspects: the stunning Judi Bowker, who provided a lovely, spirited role model for girls, and was deeply & hopelessly adored by any shy, sensitive boy who watched each week. She was the daughter every parent wanted, and the girl every child wanted to befriend -- or become. She made Vicky Gorden plucky, thoughtful, and genuinely good & decent without ever being bland.
While the picture quality can be a little dark in places, that's a minor quibble. The important thing is that this wonderful series is available at last. And while longtime fans will enjoy seeing it all over again, their children & grandchildren could easily discover a new viewing treasure themselves -- highly recommended!