The Pattern Under the Plough: Folk Horror in 1970s British Children’s Television

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


While ‘folk horror’ might be thought of as an adult genre, a startling amount of 1970s children’s television deployed the themes and iconography of folk horror, including (but not confined to) Catweazle (LWT 1970-71), The Adventures of Rupert the Bear (ATV 1970-74), Lizzie Dripping (BBC 1973-75), Sky (HTV 1975), The Changes (1975), Raven (ATV 1977) and Worzel Gummidge (Southern 1979-1981). While some of these programmes have been written about elsewhere, they have not been collected together within the folk horror label, but all conform to the conventions of the ‘folk horror chain’ (Scovell 2017). This chapter explores how these programmes adapt folk horror tropes for children’s television, and how they work through concerns about technological and social change in 1970s Britain.

Changing production technologies, notably increasing use of 16mm film, allowed many of these productions to shoot on location, and the chapter therefore focuses on how these productions turn their space of production from ‘site’ into ‘sight’. The chapter uses John Urry’s notion of ‘consuming places’ and Peter Hutchings’ ‘anti-landscape’ to consider how space, place and aesthetic combine in these influential texts as they work through anxieties about modernity, social change and national identity in 1970s British culture.


Hutchings, P. 2004. Uncanny Landscapes in British Film and Television. Journal of Visual Culture in Britain 5 (2), pp.27-40

Scovell, A. 2017. Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange. Leighton Buzzard: Auteur

Urry, J. 1995. Consuming Places. Abingdon: Routledge
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Folk Horror
EditorsRobert Edgar, Wayne Johnson
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge; Taylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003191292
ISBN (Print)9781032042831
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Folk horror
  • Landscape
  • Television
  • Film
  • chronotope
  • children


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