Quick DVD Review – ‘The Return of the Psammead’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ and I’m Tim Bradley!

After checking out the BBC’s 1991 TV adaptation of ‘Five Children and It’, my parents and I soon checked out another Christmas present that my Mum had over Christmas 2020. This was of course the sequel to 1991’s ‘Five Children and It’ called ‘The Return of the Psammead’. It was made in 1993!

This was an intriguing sequel as it’s not an adaptation of any of the books by E. Nesbit. E. Nesbit wrote a trilogy of books involving ‘Five Children and It’. There was ‘Five Children and It’ itself, ‘The Phoenix and the Carpet’ and ‘The Story of the Amulet’. I haven’t read any of these books by the way.

‘The Return of the Psammead’ is loosely based on the books by E. Nesbit and is written by Helen Cresswell who adapted ‘Five Children and It’ for TV in 1991. I’ve also come across Helen Cresswell in adapting ‘The Demon Headmaster’ books for TV. I’ve enjoyed her writing of the ‘Psammead’ tales. 🙂

I think it would be fair to say ‘The Return of the Psammead’ is a better story compared to ‘Five Children and It’. That’s not to say it’s excellent, but I found the story very interesting in terms of how the four children were granted their wishes by the Psammead in meeting him in the story itself here.

The children in this story are new ones compared to the 1991 ‘Five Children and It’ tale. They’re Toby-Ufindell-Phillips as George, Laura Clarke as Ellie, Leonard Kirby as Pip and Vicci Avery as Lucy. Francis Wright returns to play the Psammead whilst Anna Massey guest stars as Aunt Marchmont. 🙂

I’ve come across Anna Massey before as she was in the ‘Doctor Who’ audio drama ‘The Girl Who Never Was’ with Paul McGann. 🙂 There’s also Simon Slater as Dawkins. I’ve seen Simon Slater as Mr. Fleming in ‘Monarch of the Glen’ and he did ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ story ‘Terror of the Vervoids’.

Unlike the 1991 adaptation of ‘Five Children and It’ where the wish-making seemed to be random, I did like how the four children George, Ellie, Pip and Lucy seemed to be learning lessons about their wish-making. They also seemed to form a bond with Aunt Marchmont who was quite stern at first. 😐

I think the story got ruined by the end when the four children as well as Joanna Barrett as Lil, Dawkins’ daughter, wished to fly with wings at the end, just like how the previous four children wished for that wish again. Mind you, wishing Dawkins fell in love with Bessie wouldn’t have worked since the wishes expire by sunset.

Oh yeah, Polly Kemp stars as Bessie, the maid who looks after the four children during the time they stay with their Aunt Marchmont in the country. There’s also Frank Taylor as Mr. Dobbs, the gardener and Anne Orwin as Mrs. Dobbs, the housekeeper, who seem to hate children rather unnecessarily. 😦

I think the Psammead seems to have gotten grumpier over the years since he’s not as sweet and kind as the four children make him out to be. Maybe it’s due to living over a thousand years or so, but the Psammead could have been nicer to the children when they asked for wishes to be granted.

Incidentally, it was amusing to have the four children wishing to go into the future and ending up in 1993. I wasn’t expecting to see that in the story and it gets awkward when they don’t have the currency to pay for food from the supermarket and when they go to a disco party at the old house. 🙂

I also enjoyed it when Aunt Marchmont ended up being childlike when she wished to feel like a child again. The jacket coming back on her once she reverted back to her normal self was weird though. 😐 I found it amusing once Pip wished he was invisible and he ended up being ‘starkers’ in the process. 🙂

‘The Return of the Psammead’ is a very entertaining sequel to ‘Five Children and It’ by the BBC! I wouldn’t say it was a great story but it was certainly better than ‘Five Children and It’. I also liked how the four children were getting to know Aunt Marchmont and she became nicer to them later on.

Also, the Psammead got moved out of his sandpit unwillingly for a bit in the story, which was fascinating to see.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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