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I remember watching a children's TV drama/serial here in the UK in the late 70s or early 80s, likely on BBC1 (because that is the only channel that mum liked us to watch and/or there were not as many alternatives back then). It would have been shown in the just before tea slot later filled by Grange Hill and the like. I have flashes of plot and vague feelings of memory but no concrete name or author:

  • There had been some apocalyptic event and now everyone was scared of machinery and electricity.

  • A romany family was (or may have been) involved in some way. A girl with long red/brown hair, maybe.

  • I distinctly remember her being terrified to walk under electricity pylons and them making some weird humming noise that only she could hear.

Not much to go on, I know, but if this rings a bell to anyone, I would love to track down and read the book. I may be mixing up more than one story/drama/programme/book, I guess…

ETA links from the comments:
The trilogy - and the TV series - is called The Changes by Peter Dickinson.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 30th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
I think that might be "The Changes", adapted from


The Changes posits a Britain where a sudden enveloping noise emanating from all machinery and technology causes the population to destroy them. The resulting upheaval displaces many people and reverts society back to a pre-industrial age where there is a deep suspicion of anyone who may be harbouring machinery. Even the words for technology are taboo. The remnants of modern technology that escape destruction (such as electricity pylons) produce a physical and sometimes violent repulsion among those left in Britain.
May. 30th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
That could be it! Thank you!
May. 30th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
P.S. Where did you find me / my post?
May. 30th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Although it's not the noise ;)
May. 30th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
and this is the book (the TV series was adapted from the first in the trilogy)

May. 30th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
May. 30th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
You are remembering the BBC production of Peter Dickinson's The Devil's Children. The girl is Nicola and it begins with her in London, hoping he family will come back (they have fled to france), when a group of very brightly dressed people with a cart come through London and on impulse she decides to leave with them. They don't have The Fear of machines, and she becomes their canary.

They are Sikhs rather than Romany (the Puffin illustrations are wonderful).

I recommend the book *very* highly.
May. 30th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
May. 30th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
The trilogy - and the TV series - is called The Changes by Peter Dickinson. That is actually the third book, The Devils Children, which is set early on. Heartsease, the middle book is set in the vale of Evesham and has horses and locks and boats and the tension between family and its constrictions and exploring. the first book, The Weathermonger, explains why The Changes happen and how they end and has a Rolls-Royce silver ghost. Dickinson is a superb writer and the books hold up very well. I still have mine in the original slip case.

If you're conflating with anything it might be The Didakoi by (i think) Rumor Godden; also a book and a tv series about a romany child adopted by fixed folk after her grandmother dies.
May. 30th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You agree with earlier commenters and now I think I need to find these books as epubs!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


Nat S Ford
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