"Its not Sally's baby he's so anxious to see born, its his own..." - Pet



At the mill, which is still occupied by the younger members of the community, a rope
climbing game is in progress. Alan is climbing the rope whilst it is held at the top floor of
the mill by Dave, Pete, Barbara and Ann. Alan's objective is to reach the top before each
of them in turn is instructed to leave go of the rope at timed intervals. He just makes it in
time. Mel, who has been timing the game, knows he did it to impress her.



Hubert learns about Greg's methane system. Before long Charles arrives on the scene. Greg
discusses with him the possibility of using a tractor on the farm. Charles is not happy with
the idea as it goes back on their policy of not being dependent on anything they can't make
themselves.


Alan and Melanie are enjoying some free time away from everyone else. Alan clearly wants to
sleep with Melanie, but she is playing hard to get and refuses his advances.


Sally tells Pet that she thinks she may be pregnant as she is seven weeks late. Pet advises her
to see Ruth.


By the river Alan and Melanie are drying off after having been for a swim. She tells him straight
that she will not sleep with him at this time of the month as she would run the risk of getting
pregnant. Alan tries to make out this would be no bad thing, saying Charles would be knocked
out by the news.


Pet tells Charles about Sally. He is very happy to hear the news and thinks that Ruth will
reassure her about any concerns she might have.


At the mill, Sally tells Dave she is pregnant by Alan. She is concerned because he appears
to have paired off with Melanie. She adds that she is in love with Alan.


Alan arrives back at the mill and Dave tells him about Sally. He is angry at the way he has
treated her. Sally tells Alan the baby is his and that she loves him and wants to live with him
as his wife.


Greg and Mel discuss marriage. She is pleased that the death has meant people don't get
married anymore. Greg is not so sure. Sally visits Pet and tells her that Alan doesn't want to
live with her.


A group is haymaking in the fields. Alan tells Charles about Melanie's system that prevents
the girls from becoming pregnant. Later he finds Mel and Greg talking and muses with Mel
on the possibility of finding places as yet untouched by the death. Greg is certain that
nowhere has escaped the catastrophe. Alan states that he doesn't want to spend the rest of
his life at Whitecross.


Pet discuses Sally's rejection and fears with Charles and suggests a party in honour of
Sally. Charles thinks this is a great idea. Charles leaves to make arrangements. Ruth arrives
and is sarcastic about Charles simplistic views on natural childbirth and his idea that Jenny
should talk to Sally. Pet tells her that Charles enthusiasm about Sally's baby really stems
from his desire for a child of his own, something Pet has thus far proved unable to provide.


Charles tries to reassure Sally about the pregnancy and tells here about the party. He tells
that there aren't enough people at the settlement to expect Alan to pair off with her
permanently. He leaves her to speak to Daniella about the party.


Hubert asks Sally if she has been up to no good and upsets her. Charles tries to make
an enthusiastic Daniella understand that the party is not a wedding banquet for Sally and
Alan but gives up. The party will be held on Midsummer's Night.


Sally asks Ruth if she can help her to get rid of the baby. Charles visits Greg and Jenny and
asks Jenny if she will speak to Sally. She tells Greg she is not so sure her having a child is
a good thing.


Ruth tells Charles about Sally's request. She tells him that she refused her but he is still
furious and they embark on an argument about women's freedom and the repopulation
of the world. Charles's tirade becomes personal to Ruth and she tells him she doesn't
want to have children as she is fulfilled. Pet arrives as the argument comes to a close.
Pet wonders if Ruth could give Charles the child he wants.


During a thunderstorm, Jenny tells Greg that she doesn't want to speak to Sally. After the
rains subside, Greg and Charles check out the valley. Greg tells him not to rely on Jenny.
They also discuss Mel and Alan's view that there is always something better on the other
side of the hill.


The party gets underway and Charles toasts Sally and speaks at length about his joy at her
pregnancy and how it brings the community together. He also toasts the future.


Greg plays the guitar and sings his 'reaping and sowing' song. Hubert once more upsets
Sally by making references to Alan.


Charles and Mel go off for a private talk. She tells him that she finds the idea of becoming
pregnant unreasonable and that he is obsessed. He tells her it is about time she became
responsible. She retorts that he wants to run a baby farm.


Greg has become drunk on Mel's gin and Pet takes him back to the farmhouse. Meanwhile
Jenny tells Ruth that she avoids contact with Greg as she doesn't want another baby.


At the farmhouse, Pet stops Greg from leaving and propositions him. He tells her Jenny is
the only woman he wants. She explains that she wants to have a child for Charles's sake.
He tells her that Charles has fathered children before and she is shocked.


The youngsters leave to have a 'real' party at the mill, leaving Charles alone.



Charles arrives back at the farmhouse and Pet questions him about the other women he
slept with. She also asks him how he 'got on' with Melanie. He tells her that the other
women seemed like years ago and that they were before he met her. He tells her he loves
her as his wife. They are reconciled.


Thanks to a pedal powered record player, the party at the mill is in full swing. When the
music stops, Sally suggests that they play the rope game.


At 6am in the morning John tells Jenny and Greg about the rope game. At the mill, Sally
asks to go next.


Sally begins her ascent. Jenny and Greg run to the mill to try and stop the game.


Sally makes it to the top thanks to help from Alan and Dave, just as Jenny and Greg arrive.
Sally is angry saying that she wouldn't have minded if she had fallen.


Ruth tells Charles and Pet that Sally has lost the baby. He complains that soon there
won't be a world if no-one believes in childbirth.


Greg gets his engine working. Melanie and Alan are impressed and start to think
about all the places they could go if they could travel again. Mel pointedly tells
Charles that it is the best thing that has ever happened at Whitecross. Charles is
not so sure and rides of on his horse...

 

 

Episode Review

An intense midsummer atmosphere surrounds this episode, which is just a little less heady than Mel's homemade gin. Sadly however, Martin Worth's second script for the series has been misjudged by the critics. The commonest criticism it receives from fans is that is sexist and misogynistic in approach. Interviews with the cast have shown that the programme's regulars shared the same concerns over this episode's content too.

Negative perception of this episode probably arises from confusing Charles' beliefs with the point of the episode. The actual message is that the Earth's dwindling population is an important issue for the survivors (and something that their future generations will definitely have to face), but that Charles goes about relating this fact to those around him in the wrong way, as he did in
Corn Dolly. The differences here are that Charles is now leader of an established community, who cannot be so easily ignored, coupled together with the revelation that his strong views are bound up in his deep seated desire for a child of his own. Both Charles and his opponents, Ruth and Mel, are given equal air time as they debate the role of women, conception and contraception. Charles ultimately loses the battle, as Sally takes matters into her own hands, however, he does gain a deeper understanding of Pet through it all, which is not a bad pay-off at all.

There are many other themes explored here in an episode which is tightly directed, colourful and full of incident. The problem of the generation gap which divides the two camps comes across particularly well with the characters of Charles and Mel representing opposing poles. The relationships of Charles and Pet, and Jenny and Greg are also furthered here. Both Charles and Greg verbally commit to their other halves as their wives - despite the absence of the marital state - in a sensitive and touching fashion. Whitecross's new arrivals are also fleshed out a little more, breathing life into a community which had seemed a little stale and pedestrian for much of the second series.


Rating: 9/10

 


Episode 25: Over the Hills


writer: Martin Worth
first broadcast:
16th June 1976


Regular Cast:

Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Melanie:
Heather Wright
Pet Simpson: Lorna Lewis
Ruth Anderson:
Celia Gregory
Alan:
Stephen Tate
Sally:
June Page
Jenny Richards:
Lucy Fleming
Greg Preston:
Ian McCulloch
Hubert Goss: John Abineri
Daniella:
Gigi Gatti
Dave: Peter Duncan
Pete:
Roger Monk
Lizzie Willoughby: Tanya Ronder
John Millon: Stephen Dudley

 

Guest Cast:

Barbara: Linda Robson
Ann: Nula Conwell

 


designer: Ian Watson
director:  Eric Hills
producer: Terence Dudley
episode recorded:
21st - 26th May 1976



NEXT EPISODE: NEW WORLD by Martin Worth



 

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