The Rural Life,  The Stables

My Favourite Equestrian TV Series: Flambards

Throughout the month of August, I posted through the #HorseBloggers channel, a top tip every day in keeping topics flowing when it comes to blogging about all things equine. I have decided to write thirty one posts, each taking on board the tips that I recommended. So my seventh post is not about my favourite equestrian film but my favourite equestrian tv series and why I loved it!

Throughout my childhood, television time was a few snatched hours in the afternoon and early evening. There were only three channels to choose from and television series were gradually becoming more popular throughout the seventies (see I divulged my age now!)

Looking back on that era, I feel there were more programmes for the horse lover than there are now. The Adventures of Black Beauty, Follyfoot Farm, The White Horses were among some the shows that horse mad children would tune in, watch and follow weekly.

I loved them all but there was one series that I really enjoyed and that was Flambards. It was first aired in 1979 with thirteen episodes based on the Flambards novels written by English author K M Peyton. It was so popular that the United States bought the production and it was televised there in 1980.

The story focused on Christina, who was an orphaned heiress who came to live at the dilapidated country estate in Essex set in 1909 through to 1918. It was owned by her mothers half brother, the crippled and arrogant Uncle Russell who lived there with his two sons Mark and Will. The story focused heavily on hunting horses and how Christina loved to ride her sturdy steed in side saddle, much to the annoyance of Will who was terrified of horses after a hunting accident.

Her Aunt Grace had romantic plans for Christina to marry the insolent Mark in order to bring Flambards back to glory, using her large inheritance when she turned twenty one. Without giving too much of the story away, the series depicted countryside life back in an era romanticising hunting and farming in a very nostalgic way. I loved watching who Christina was going to fall for. Would it be Mark who passionately shared her love of hunting and horses or Will who hated everything that hunting stood for and yearned to take to the skies in the very early era of aviation? The series challenged class boundaries and I watched with fascination who Christina would give her heart to.

Recently I found Flambards on Amazon with the whole series on DVD. Watching the first episode I was immediately transported back to my childhood. The acting was a little wooden and dated in its voice and outlook, but I still loved it all the same.

Flambards was so popular that in 1976 Douglas Kingsford Hale and his wife Audrey opened up an aviation museum in Helston, Cornwall. To complement the old aircraft and to re-enact scenes from the television drama, a kitchen, workshop and a nursery of that period were built. They proved a hit with visitors and today Flambards is still open with now 60 shops and homes all set in genuine cobbled streets with carriages and costumes of the period.

So do let me know if you were a Flambards fan or if this is before your time, let me know what equestrian programmes you loved watching too.

Written by Samantha Hobden