For the North Yorkshire village, see Follifoot.
Created by Based on an idea by Monica Dickens
Starring Gillian Blake
Steve Hodson
Christian Rodska
Desmond Llewelyn
Arthur English
Country of origin United Kingdom
West Germany
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Camera setup Single camera
Running time 30 minutes
Original network Yorkshire Television for ITV
Original release 28 June 1971 (28 June 1971) – 15 September 1973 (15 September 1973)

Follyfoot was a children's television series co-produced by the majority-partner British television company Yorkshire Television (for transmission on ITV) and the independent West German company TV Munich (for transmission on the ZDF channel). It aired in the United Kingdom between 1971 and 1973, repeated for two years after that and again in the late 1980s. The series starred Gillian Blake in the lead role. Notable people connected with the series were actors Desmond Llewelyn and Arthur English and directors Jack Cardiff, Stephen Frears, Michael Apted and David Hemmings.

It was originally inspired by Monica Dickens' 1963 novel Cobbler's Dream (republished in 1995 as New Arrival at Follyfoot); she later wrote four further books in conjunction with the series—Follyfoot in 1971, Dora at Follyfoot in 1972, The Horses of Follyfoot in 1975, and Stranger at Follyfoot in 1976.[1]

Background and production

The series, which was filmed on the Harewood family estate, was set at a home of rest for horses. Despite an apparent appeal limited to young girls with an equine interest, Follyfoot was actually aimed squarely at the teenage market and often had challenging things to say about the treatment of horses and animals generally in British society. The ethos of Follyfoot generally was to give another chance to both horses and people who had been rejected by the rest of society: the stance of the series was recognisably pro-animal, and characters who resembled the archetypes of the Pullein-Thompson sisters et al. were overwhelmingly shown in a negative light. Continuity in the series was assured by the use of mostly one writer, Tony Essex (writing under the pen name Francis Stevens), but there were also contributions from Rosemary Anne Sisson.

The series' theme song, "The Lightning Tree", written by Steven Francis (pen name of Francis Essex, the brother of Tony Essex) and sung by The Settlers, is well-remembered, sometimes more so than the series itself. The song reached No. 36 in the UK charts.[2] An album featuring music from the series was also released.

The main actors were Gillian Blake as Dora, Steve Hodson as Steve, Christian Rodska as Ron Stryker, Desmond Llewelyn as the Colonel and Arthur English as Slugger. Several other famous people had minor roles, one being Pam St Clement, the others being Gretchen Franklin as the Colonel's housekeeper and Kathy Staff in two separate bit parts. But what really characterised the series was its rotation of directors, many of whom have since become revered figures in the UK film industry, including Stephen Frears, Michael Apted and even Jack Cardiff who took time out from working overseas with Kirk Douglas to direct two episodes of the series. Also, in the third series, most notably, David Hemmings took the time to appear in one episode, "Uncle Joe" and also to direct two other episodes which took place before and after that episode: "The Bridge Builder" and the final episode, "Walk In the Wood".

The series proved to be very popular and was sold to many countries at the time of the original UK transmission. The first series won the Harlequin award for best production at the 1972 BAFTA Awards, while the second series episode, "The Debt", reached the top 20 in the weekly television ratings—a rarity for an afternoon-timeslot show.[3][4] During production for the third series, it was intended that this would be the last, a film version of Follyfoot was planned, but the idea was ultimately shelved.[5] The children's magazine Look-in featured a picture-strip of the series each week as well as regular features, while five annuals were released in association with Yorkshire Television. These ran until 1976—long after the series had finished.[6]

Follifoot (note the slightly different spelling) is a small village just three miles from Harrogate, not far from the Yorkshire Television studios in Leeds.


Main Characters

Minor Characters


See List of Follyfoot episodes

VHS/DVD releases

The first three episodes were released on video in 1995. No further releases ever came to light, and this video has long been deleted.

However, on DVD, Series 1 (episodes 1 to 13) was released in 2007. Series 2 was released on DVD in April 2008, with Series 3 following in October 2008.[7] The DVDs are Region 2 encoded, and in PAL format. A complete boxset of the series was released in late 2008.


External links

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