Haunters of the Deep

UK 1984, 61 mins
Director: Andrew Bogle

Haunters of the Deep

One of the later Children’s Film Foundation adventures. I must have seen this around the time it came out. Enys Men shares many of the same locations in West Cornwall. Having recently re-watched it, I realise I may have borrowed some shots for my film. It obviously made a mark at an impressionable age.
Mark Jenkin

When US company Aminco Mining begin to explore the old Cornish Strangles Head Mine and find a rich seam of tin, the mine’s deadly reputation proves founded when a collapse traps the investigating miners hundreds of feet below the sea (‘That mine’s run by devils, not you,’ old Tregellis, a former mine Captain, warns them). Contacted by the ghost of a child miner who perished in 1911, local boy Josh, accompanied by the daughter of Aminco’s CEO, Becky, must interpret the ghost’s clues to save the men.

In many ways, Haunters of the Deep is classic CFF. The children are curious, independent and resourceful; while Tregellis helps them by translating the ghost’s clues from Cornish, and finding the forgotten escape route, an old injury prevents his participation and the children must go it alone to rescue the men, Becky’s father and Josh’s brother among them.

This ghostly adventure (produced by Gordon Scott, who also worked on The Dam Busters (1955) and The Avengers (1961)) is given an exciting frisson by the location shooting on the dramatic Penwith peninsular in West Cornwall, and by the story’s dependence on classic Cornish myths and fables, as well as the county’s image as a picturesque location which is also both potentially dangerous and a site for supernatural happenings. Undoubtedly influenced by the enormous popularity and success of the BBC’s adaptation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels, Haunters of the Deep is replete with beautiful shots of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the Cornish cliffs, and of the ruins of the mine chimneys and engine houses which scatter the coastline. It is the mythical Cornish Spriggens, the ghosts of miners who previously perished, whose taps and moans warn the miners of imminent disaster and lead them to safety.

The film’s attention to its Cornish setting is not merely picturesque, however. The writers paid attention to regional politics, with the screenplay and imagery making important points about the impact of the decline of mining, the value of local knowledge, the widespread emigration of Cornish miners and the plunder of the land by external forces. One might interpret the mine collapse as the natural world’s response to such exploitation: sound design produces the Cornish ground as animate, the sighing and tapping in the mine often indistinguishable from the sounds of the wind, waves and gulls. The special effects – the mist, editing and superimposed faces of perished miners – produce a powerful but subtle supernatural adventure, at once typical CFF fare, and a cautionary tale of Cornwall.
Rachel Moseley, booklet notes for Children’s Film Foundation Collection: Scary Stories DVD
(BFI, 2013)

The Living and the Dead

I came across this ghostly series by chance on BBC iPlayer. It’s so thoughtfully put together, with the cinematography and colour grading emulating the old two-strip process. This episode shares a storyline with Haunters of the Deep, drawing attention to the danger, exploitation and cruelty of the mining industry, especially with regard to child labour. It’s a real shame there was never a second series.
Mark Jenkin

Point a camera at a field of wheat on an English summer’s day. What do you see? A blue sky over yellow crop. A soft breeze moving the wheat like an inland sea. The murmur of a bee. It’s pretty. It’s comforting, nostalgic. But let’s leave the camera running. Keep our attention fixed on that same landscape. Perhaps a cloud slides across the sun, slowly darkening the yellow. Or a stronger gust of wind makes the branches in the trees grind. A crow caws. Now the English landscape can feel unsettling, a place drenched in a history that includes war and death and unhappiness. Eerie, that’s the word. And that was the starting place for The Living and the Dead, to see the skull beneath the skin of English pastoral.

The series is set in an isolated Somerset valley in 1894, a place where the implications of the industrial revolution are still being keenly felt, a place where centuries of living a certain way of life are coming abruptly to an end. Into this place comes Nathan Appleby and his young wife, Charlotte. Nathan charming, intelligent, is a brilliant London psychologist, a pioneer in that new science. Nathan is a man of science and believes that everything has a rational explanation. Charlotte Appleby is his vivacious, independent wife, herself something of a pioneer as a leading society photographer in London. When they inherit the run-down farm of Shepzoy House none of their friends expect them to actually go and live there and learn to be farmers, but the Applebys have lived there for generations and his sense of duty and belonging is powerful.

The early weeks are a joy. Yes, there is a lot to learn and yes, some of their ideas about modernising the farm are met with surly incomprehension from their workers, but the sun shines and the wheat grows and harvest beckons. Then the parish vicar, Reverend Denning, brings his troubled young daughter Harriet to see Nathan. At first Nathan thinks she is just having an especially difficult journey into adulthood but she tells him things she couldn’t possibly know, in voices that she couldn’t possibly ever have heard. The voices of the dead. Even Nathan Appleby, man of science, is rattled. Very quickly, the rural idyll is touched with darkness and fear.
Ashley Pharoah, Writer/Creator

Director: Andrew Bogle
Production Company: Longbow Film Company
For: Children’s Film and Television Foundation
Producer: Gordon L.T. Scott
Production Manager: Denis Johnson Sr
Assistant Director: Simon Haveland
Screenplay: Andrew Bogle, Tony Attard, Terry Barbour
Based on an idea by: Terry Barbour
Director of Photography: Ronnie Maasz
Editor: Jeanne Henderson
Production Designer: Keith Wilson
Costume Supervisor: Iona McLeish
Make-up: Amanda Mulvey
Music Composed and Conducted by: Ed Welch
Sound Recording: Laurie Clarkson
Sound Re-recording: Ken Somerville

Andrew Keir (Captain Tregellis)
Barbara Ewing (Mrs Holman)
Bob Sherman (Roche)
Brian Osborne (Mr Holman)
Tom Watson (Frank Lacey)
Sean Arnold (Shannon)
Peter Lovstrom (Daniel)
Patrick Murray (Jack)
Barry Craine (rescue leader)
Gary Simmons (Josh)
Amy Taylor (Becky)
Philip Martin (Billy Bray)

UK 1984
61 mins

Series Created and Written by: Ashley Pharoah
©: BBC
Directed by: Alice Troughton
A BBC Cymru Wales Drama production
In association with: Monastic Productions
Co-produced with: BBC America
Executive Producers: Ashley Pharoah, Faith Penhale, Katie McAleese
Head of Production, Drama: Gordon Ronald
Line Producer: Katrine Dudley
Production Accountant: Rachel Quigley-Smith
Production Co-ordinator: David Packham
Casting Director: Gary Davy
Supervising Location Manager: Dee Gregson
Location Manager: Jake Sainsbury
Unit Manager: Sophie Pinch
1st Assistant Director: Alex Mercer
Script Supervisor: Phillip Trow
Story Producer: Darren Guthrie
Script Editor: Katie Kelly
Director of Photography: Matt Gray
Steadicam Operator: Gareth Hughes
Post-production Supervisors: Shuna Frodd, Sam Lucas
Editor: Simon Reglar
Assistant Editor: Craig Walters
Online Editor: Gareth Parry
Production Designer: Pat Campbell
Supervising Art Director: Sam Stokes
Set Decorator: Elaine McLenachan
Art Director: Kira Kemble
Property Master: Chris Allen
Special Effects Supervisor: Tom Harris
Visual Effects: Lexhag Ltd.
Titles: Lipsync Design
Costume Designer: Phoebe De Gaye
Assistant Costume Designer: Kitty Bennett
Costume Supervisor: Victoria Salway
Make-up and Hair Designer: Vickie Lang
Hair and Make-up Supervisor: Sarah Nuth
Hair and Make-up Artists: Carol Robinson, Sharon Nicholas
Original Music: The Insects
Sound Recordist: Tim Barker
Sound Effects Editor: Tim Barker
Dialogue Editor: Laura Lovejoy
Re-recording Mixer: Richard Davey
Stunt Co-ordinators: Crispin Layfield, Jo McLaren
Horse Master: Mark Atkinson
Animal Handler: Sue Clarke

Colin Morgan (Nathan Appleby)
Charlotte Spencer (Charlotte Appleby)
Nicholas Woodeson (Matthew Denning)
Kerrie Hayes (Gwen Pearce)
Tallulah Haddon (Harriet Denning)
Malcolm Storry (Gideon Langtree)
Steve Oram (John Roebuck)
Marianne Oldham (Mary Denning)
David Sterne (Abel North)
Joanna David (Victoria Appleby)
Elizabeth Berrington (Maud Hare)
Pooky Quesnel (Agnes Thatcher)
Joel Gilman (Jack Langtree)
Isaac Andrews (Charlie Thatcher)
Liam McMahon (Tinker)
Chloe Pirrie (Lara)

UK 2016©
59 mins

Walkabout + Oss Oss Wee Oss
Sun 1 Jan 13:10; Mon 9 Jan 20:30
The Stone Tape + Journey to Avebury
Mon 2 Jan 15:40
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Wed 4 Jan 18:30; Sat 28 Jan 16:15
Symptoms + Stigma
Fri 6 Jan 18:10; Sun 15 Jan 15:30
Lost Highway + Jaunt
Fri 6 Jan 20:15; Sun 22 Jan 18:10
Haunters of the Deep + The Living and the Dead Episode 2
Sun 8 Jan 13:20; Sat 14 Jan 20:40
Long Weekend + Between the Tides
Tue 10 Jan 18:20; Mon 23 Jan 20:30
Penda’s Fen + A Warning to the Curious
Wed 11 Jan 17:50
Two Years at Sea + A Portrait of Ga
Sat 14 Jan 18:00 (+ intro and Q&A with Mark Jenkin and Ben Rivers); Tue 24 Jan 20:45
Daguerréotypes + World of Glory
Sun 15 Jan 12:00 (+ intro by Mark Jenkin); Thu 26 Jan 20:50
Sun 15 Jan 18:00; Mon 30 Jan 20:50
Requiem for a Village + The Signalman
Fri 27 Jan 18:20; Tue 31 Jan 20:40
Berberian Sound Studio + Wind
Sun 29 Jan 15:30 (+ intro by Mark Jenkin and Peter Strickland); Tue 31 Jan 18:10

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
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