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The MoondialMoondialThe Moondial

Written by Helen Cresswell

"Moondial's Tom" played by Tony Sands

Tom Tom does not believe that Minty is real He still is not 100% sure that she isn't a ghost

Tom lost for a moment in thought He decides to risk shaking hands Tom must get with his work

More images of Tony below in "The Krays"

Interview with Tony

Question 1. What lead you to the part of Tom in Moondial ?

Tony - I went to the Anna Scher Theatre school and they took me onto their books. Moondial was my third audition. I got my first one (a social work video or something similar), missed out on the second one, I think it was a Shakespearian play, and was lucky enough to be picked for Moondial.

Question 2. Was the making of the program and the part of of Tom fun to do ?

Tony - It was such a buzz. Drama and English were my favourite subjects in school and I'm such a massive film fan. It was like living a dream. Plus I got to wear all those trendy clothes. Everyone was so nice too. The cast, the crew, everyone. It was a fantastic experience. I was only fifteen and felt very lucky to be there.

Question 3. Did anything memorable happen during the filming of Moondial ?

Tony - There was that huge storm that struck , I remember turning on the TV that morning and the news was on with all these pictures of devastation. We were lucky and only got the tail end of it. There's lots I remember about the filming but it'd probably bore you. Nothing exciting, just terrible jokes and fluffed takes. I think I might've had the record for most takes.

Question 4. How did you resolve problems of school etc. during the making of Moondial ?

Tony - We had a tutor. My school gave me work and Jane, the tutor, just went from there. She was very nice too. I'm using that word a lot. Siri was sixteen so she got away from doing school work. Lucky her! But Helena and I and a girl called Angela who was Siri's stand in, I think, had to sit and do our work. It was fun though. Well, as fun as schoolwork can get at least. Actually Jane didn't feel like a teacher, more like one of us, which probably helped a lot.

Question 5. What was the reaction of your family and friends when Moondial was released for the first time on BBC1 ?

Tony - My family were obviously very pleased for me. I was in Ireland during the summer and my aunt and uncle there pulled out the video. I can't stand watching myself. But they were very happy for me and have kept a copy (obviously). I had a lot more friends after it was broadcast. I think everyone at school thought it was pretty cool. It was a bit embarrassing. One of my friends came back from Spain telling me he'd seen Moondial dubbed into Spanish.

Question 6. Did the author Helen Cresswell ever make an appearance during the filming of Moondial and if so what was her impression of the program ?

Tony - She popped up on set a few times. She was very friendly and seemed really happy with the way things were going. She told me she thought I fitted her picture of Tom perfectly. She gave Siri, Helena and me signed books. I still have mine....somewhere.

Question 7. Could you bring us up to date with what's happened to you since those days of Moondial ?

Tony - I had work here and there on TV and radio but nothing like Moondial. I had a couple of small roles in Peter Medaks films, "The Krays" and "Let him have it". I haven't been involved too much in acting recently. I was involved in a film project about a year ago but it fell through. I'm working with kids at the moment and loving it. I'm not sure which way to go next. I've always been a bit of an attention seeker, so I may start putting out the feelers again and see what pops up. Who knows, but I'm very happy at the moment.

The Krays The Krays

Tony Sands starring in "The Krays"

Question 8. Do you keep in contact with any of the other cast of Moondial ?

Tony - I lost touch with everyone. I bumped into Siri's cousin a few years ago and he gave me her number, which I lost. Silly me!! I got on well with Siri and Helena. Siri and I would practice our lines together...most of the time we'd end up knowing each others lines better than our own. I'd love to know how she and Helena are doing. Helena was very sweet. We had the same chaperone, you need a person to look after you when you are under sixteen, who was called Jean. She was lovely. So, erm..nice. She'd met people like Tommy Steele and Roger Moore and probably got a bit tired of me asking what they were all like in person, but, she always told me what she thought of them and never sounded bored of my questions.

Question 9. What are you up to now ?

Tony - I work with special needs kids. I really enjoy it.

Question 10. What are your favourite films and TV ?

Tony - My favourite film is "Singin' in the rain". The Bills very good. I don't have any particular faves at the moment. I used to like Quantum Leap. Black Adder was good. I like Star Trek. Nothing I watch regularly at the moment though.

Question 11. What children's TV did you watch when you were a kid ?

Tony - I used to watch Dogtanian and Ulysses 31. Dangermouse was brilliant. Dungeons & Dragons, that was pretty good. I can't think of anything else.

Question 12. Anything else you would like to add which we have not thought of ?

Tony - I usually have so much to say but I'm a bit lost for words. It's flattering for you to show an interest, especially after all these years. I'd thought Moondial had been forgotten. It's good to know people still remember it. Hope this is what you were looking for. Yours, Tony Sands

Many thanks to Tony for taking the time and trouble to answer all our questions concerning his time acting on the set of Moondial. Thanks also for making Moondial one of the best children's programs to have appeared on British Television.

Click images below to Navigate Moondial site

Moondial Page Interview with
Tony Sands
Part One
Part Two
Part Three