This is not a transcript or in any way an effort to re-write the story or modify it in any way. If you wish to read the brilliance of Helen Cresswell then you should go and buy this excellent children's novel. The following is only meant to be a rough guide to what happens in the serial which was originally shown on BBC1 many years ago. Hopefully those of us who were school children during this time will remember this classic drama. Its acting, music, photography, overall suspense and direction will not be seen again and is why Moondial deserves its place in the "Little Gems" web pages.
The Story Part One
Moondial begins with an opening night sequence showing a girl in old fashioned nightdress running through a gateway and into a church ground, she then opens a very large gate and enters a garden garden - she reaches a large grey / white statue and clasps the moondial it supports. She then runs back towards a dark old house with a single light in the doorway. She runs along the path leading up to the light and then up some large stone steps. She peers inside and sees a small girl running towards her on the other side of the glass. Through the window a struggle between a young girl and an older person can be seen.
After the death of her father Minty and her mother visit Aunt Mary (Minty's godmother). It is hoped that the break in the country will help Minty and her mother come to terms with the loss. Aunt Mary used to look after Kate when she was younger as Minty has her bedroom. Her mum shows Minty round the bedroom - full of old photos and in particular an old patchwork quilt full of Aunt Mary's memories. Minty and her mum can see the church from the bedroom window and decide to go for a walk.
The scene then shifts to churchyard where Minty and her mother are walking. Minty goes round the corner of the church and discovers a barrier of cold air and a wind around particular stonework.
It is now time for her mum to leave and Minty gives her a hug before she leaves in her car. Minty goes back into the house and sits down at a table spread with jelly, sandwiches and cake. Before she can begin eating, the telephone rings and Aunt Mary goes to answer it. Minty then hears Aunt Mary saying "Oh my Lord" "What shall I say?". We then learn that there has been an accident between Minty's mum's car and a lorry. Aunt Mary then says that a Mr Benson (John) has gone to the hospital to see Minty's mum. Minty wants to go out for a walk but is told to stay away from the village. She is told to go and see the large House with Will World at the lodge.
Upon arriving at the lodge she meets Will who after some dialogue asks her
"come to meet the children, I dare say?" he asks
"You mean there are children living in the house?" Minty replies
"I didn't say anything about living" He continues
"you mean ghosts?" enquire Minty excitedly
"I didn't say that either" Will says ...."But the moment I set eyes on you, I knew that's her, that's the one to turn the key" "to set 'em free."
Minty does not understand and so leaves to go to the hospital to see her mum.
She then returns to the garden and walks down a long pathway set between the lawns. She seems to know that she has been here before but is unsure when. Minty then sees the Moondial (she calls it a sundial) and as in her dream the night before she touches it. Minty appears to become faint. She clasps her head in her hands as she is becoming more and more disorientated. All at once the spinning feeling reduces and Minty appears to come to herself although the surroundings appear slightly different. She sees an estate gardener in the distance disappear and then reappear before her eyes. The moondial then starts to spin very fast. Minty holds her head and keeps her eyes closed during this motion.
She steps off the moondial unsure of where she is and runs towards the house.
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