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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Moon Stallion

Jeremy Briggs makes a welcome return (and I can watch Heroes tonight!) with a look at a previously unrecorded telefantasy comic adaptation...

THE MOON STALLION

In 1995 Time Screen fanzine published a guide by Andrew Pixley to British Telefantasy In Comics. In it they listed all the comics which had comic strips of British television programmes such as Doctor Who, Thunderbirds, The Avengers and Robin Of Sherwood, amongst many others. The list has since been put onto the net and more than a decade later it still stands tall as the definitive work on the subject.One of the reasons that it is so well regarded is that there have been very few omissions discovered in it. The best known omission, then unknown to the wider telefantasy community, was the short lived comic strip in The Beezer of the black and white science fiction puppet series Space Patrol which has since been well documented on the Space Patrol website and added to the online version of the Time Screen listing. So when I picked up a copy of IPC's Tammy comic recently, amongst a selection of other totally unrelated comics, I was surprised to open it and find a comic strip of the BBC TV series The Moon Stallion.

The Moon Stallion was broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday afternoons in November and December 1978, and repeated in June and July 1980. It was written by Brian Hayles, the creator of Doctor Who's Ice Warriors and the planet Peladon, and starred amongst others a young Sarah Sutton, three years before she would become the Doctor's companion Nyssa. This six part series told the story of the blind Diana Purcell who moves to the Vale of the White Horse and her midnight adventures with a ghostly stallion. The white horse in this case is the Bronze Age White Horse of Uffington which is a real chalk carving in Oxfordshire.

The series is well remembered by those who saw it but, since it has never been released on DVD and only released as a cut down video version in the early days of BBC Video (on both VHS and Betamax), it is not that well known a series. Indeed the only piece of contemporary related merchandise was thought to be the paperback novelisation by the original script writer which was released by Mirror Books in November 1978. Since this novelisation was included in the Time Screen Telefantasy Book List, The Moon Stallion is a title they would have had in the Comics List if they had known of it.

The single issue of Tammy that I have is dated 17 February 1979 and has the story as a two page black and white strip, with the story being told in text boxes only with no speech balloons. I have no details of when it started or how long it ran since this particular issue is within the body of the story.

It just goes to show however that other than Girl, Misty and a very few others, the comic titles aimed at girls are akin to an undiscovered country with who knows what sights waiting to be discovered by the intrepid explorer (whether he be on horseback or not).

(* As far as I'm aware, the strip began towards the end of 1978. The artist was Mario Capaldi.)

3 comments:

qu0thraven said...

Wow. I saw the VHS release in the early 90's and became thoroughly entranced. It was given to me as a Christmas gift and has somehow dissapeared in my travels. I have been looking for it to be released on DVDl; I really wish they would. I went through quite a lot to try to track down Robin of Sherwood on DVD as well. For a long time it was only available for DVD country codes other than North America. In my search I ended up with a copy of 'Robin of Sherwood' that is totally bootleg :( and one that looks like it might be legitimate. Maybe. I guess my generation is spoiled to think that we should be able to order a nicely packaged official release copy of any program we like... eh?

Pegasus said...

There is a DVD of it - for some reason the packagin is in German, but obv. the DVD itself is in English (as well as German dubbed version). Here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moon-Stallion-Caroline-Goodall/dp/B002RHIEH0/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282379085&sr=1-2

I used to watch this as a kid on German TV and I loved it. I was thrillied to bits when I got to visit the actual horse in Uffington.

Anonymous said...

Being from the States, I was lucky to come across a Canadian video of the movie version of The Moon Stallion. I have no idea how much they cut out of the 6 part series to make the film. Sure would love a DVD release of the original TV series as it was intended to be shown.