"I told him. I said, they're for when the harvest's home. That's when you hang up a Corn
Dolly. Not winter. Not when you're threshing to get a few handfuls of corn for bread"
- Isla

Abby, Greg and Jenny are driving back to the former's village in search of Peter.

On the way they run out of petrol. Abby goes off in search of a garage, whilst Greg and Jenny
set up camp.

Abby finds a notice detailing a nearby settlement. It has been posted by a girl called Lorraine
who is surveying the area with a man called Charles Vaughan.

In of the houses, Charles and Lorraine discover a young boy called Mick who agrees to join
their community. As they leave the house, Charles spies a stray pig and attempts to catch it.

Lorraine and Mick cheer him on and eventually he catches it. Shortly after, the trio meet
Abby, Jenny and Greg at the garage.

Back at his caravan Charles explains to them that he was an architect before the sickness,
who had already been living a self-sufficient lifestyle. He now leads a settlement at a farm,
but wants to expand. He has some impressive plans for the future, and is already talking
about restoring hydro-electric power.

Charles is convinced that the survivors must produce the next generation as quickly as
possible. He estimates that only 1 in every 15,000 people have survived the death and thinks
that no two people who knew each other, have survived either. He invites them back to his

When they arrive, they are greeted with the grim news that all but one of the community
members are dying of food poisoning having eaten fish they caught in the local river.

Charles decides to put his dying friends out of their misery with drugs from a nearby town.
Jenny and Greg meanwhile learn how to make bread with a woman called Isla.

Jenny and Greg are becoming closer and share their first kiss.

It soon transpires that Charles is unnaturally obsessed with re-population and he propositions
Abby despite his apparent attachment to Lorraine. Abby refuses him and learns that he has
already made four women at the community pregnant since the death.

Abby decides she wants to carry on to her home. Jenny and Greg decide to go with her
having found out about Charles activities and beliefs.

Charles tries to persuade them to stay but they leave after helping him to build a funeral pyre
for the dead members of his community.


Episode Review

Corn Dolly maintains the high standard set by the first three episodes of the first series. Many principles and themes are introduced here which are to become mainstays of the series: the quest for hydro-electric power, the issue of re-population, the danger of roaming packs of dogs and the pattern of the death plague. Here we learn of the theory that no two relatives have survived the death. This is later disproved by the four-strong Walters family in Law of the Jungle, Bridgehead and the discovery of Janet Millon in Reunion.

Charles is portrayed excellently by Denis Lill, making his return in Series 2, albeit in toned down form, hardly surprising. His obsession with reproduction of the species is unnerving so soon after the death, especially when contrasted with the death of so many members of his community. This episode also brings the welcome development of Greg and Jenny's increased attachment to each other. The main trio are now well rounded characters whom the viewer is behind 100%.

Special mention should also go to Keith Jayne for his sensitive portrayal of Mick

Rating: 9/10


Episode 4: Corn Dolly

writer: Jack Ronder
first broadcast: 7th May 1975

Regular Cast:

Abby Grant: Carolyn Seymour
Jenny Richards:
Lucy Fleming
Greg Preston: Ian McCulloch

and introducing...

Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill

Guest Cast:

Mick: Keith Jayne
Lorraine: Annie Hayes
Yvonne Bonnamy
Tessa: June Bolton

designer: Austin Ruddy
director: Pennant Roberts
producer: Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 21st - 22nd March 1975


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Page Last Updated: 25th February 2003  All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC