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directed by Christine Secombe
UK 1989

When his younger brother Peter (Simon Fenton, MATINEE) contracts measles at the start of school holidays, Tom Long (Jeremy Rampling) must not only go into quarantine, but do so miles away with stuffy Uncle Alan (Shaughan Seymour, LOVE ACTUALLY) and Aunt Gwen (Isabelle Amyes, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY) in a small flat that is part of a converted manor house. Tom is miles away from the village, he cannot meet or speak to the other tenants in case he does have measles, and there is not even a garden out back to play. Unable to expend excess energy, Tom has trouble sleeping and is kept awake by the downstairs grandfather clock - tended by owner Mrs. Bartholomew (Renée Asherson, RASPUTIN, THE MAD MONK) who lives in a flat in one of the towers - that keeps accurate time but strikes odd hours. One night when the clock strikes thirteen at midnight, Tom investigates and discovers a Victorian garden where his uncle insists is only a small yard festooned with junk. The inside of the house also seems to have transformed into the way it must have looked once. Nightly, Tom visits the garden and none of its Victorian inhabitants - groom Abel (Richard Garnett, LINK), cruel Aunt Grace (Katherine Schofield, LIFEFORCE), or her three sons - can see him; and yet, he feels that he is being watched. One day in the garden - for it can be night or day in the garden even if it is always midnight in the outside world - Tom discovers that the family's poor relation Hatty (Miranda Burton) can indeed see him and believes him to be a ghost (and is just as surprised that he believes she is a ghost). Her interactions with him have her cousins believing that she is either imaginative or crazy, and Tom begins to see that her pretense of being a banished princess is a defense for the incredible loneliness she feels at the loss of her parents and the indifference of her carers. As Tom's quarantine nears its completion, he must find a way to stay on - and only his brother Peter to whom he writes daily knows why - to solve the mystery of the even odder occurrences in the secret garden and if he can master the ability to bend time without becoming trapped in the midnight garden himself. Based on the children's novel by Philippa Pearce - previously adapted for television in 1968 and 1974 and subsequently as a feature in 1999 - TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN's six episodes follow the source very closely, even with its excessive use of narrated thoughts and a closing shot that seems abrupt without the context of the novel's description. Fans of science fiction may find the concepts behind the midnight garden stimulating even if they are explored through the naive mind of the young protagonist and his own concepts of time (where a fortnight is an eternity and he does not realize that an epitaph with words "exchanged time for eternity" is a euphemism for death).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 4 January 1989 - 8 February 1989 (UK TV)

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DVD Review: Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Second Sight

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 2:30:50

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.16 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English HoH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Sight

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� Episodes (with 'Play All' option; 2:30:50):
� - One (26:42)
� - Two (25:00)
� - Three (23:45)
� - Four (25:22)
� - Five (24:59)
� - Six (25:02)

DVD Release Date: November 12th, 2018

Chapters 31



Not to be confused with the 1999 film (also available from Second Sight), Second Sight's dual-layer, fullscreen encode of this eighties TV series looks as best as it can with the eighties videotape looking best in the bright outdoor scenes. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track fares well, and English HoH subtitles are also provided. There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Second Sight

Region 2 - PAL


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