Recently I have been re-watching the first series of the original Demon Headmaster TV series; and it was pretty good! Created by Gillian Cross, and starring Terrence Hardiman, Frances Amey, and Gunnar Cauthery; The Demon Headmaster is a CBBC children’s TV series based on the book series of the same name by Cross. The story follows young girl Dinah Hunter, and her friends; who attend a strange school, overseen by a strange man with the power to hypnotize people. I remember first watching this when I was at primary school; and to this day still have great memories of watching it (and it’s rather rare repeats). Re-watching the show now is kind of interesting, especially after the recent sequel series from a few years ago. But the thing that’s even weirder thinking about it, is the producer’s decision to split the first series in two. It just feels odd, and as a kid you think; if it’s two different stories, it must be two separate series. The two stories do work though as shorter stories. They just get to the point; and include plenty of drama, whilst still creating weird situations.
The first half of series is based on the first book; and focuses on Dinah’s arrival into the Hunter household, and her first days at this weird school. It’s so creepy, and oozes with weird originalities. Plus it makes great use of Rose Carter (Katherine Wyeth), who has this really cool cruel vibe, which is very imposing and somewhat terrifying.
The second half of the series meanwhile is based on book two: The Prime Minister’s Brain. This one feels more action packed in it’s delivery, whilst also creating a nice detailed level of mystery until the first episode’s big reveal. It also makes use of a great keyboard solo variant, of the main theme tune.
The show though does have some issues, but are largely ignorable…to some degree. Some of the cast, like Jeff Morgan (Jake Curran) is supposed to look scary like Rose, but just comes across as an ordinary moaning kid. But that’s nothing compared to Ingrid (Kristy Bruce), who during the second half of the series, moans a lot, and carries close to no redeeming value. Some of the show’s effects are also pretty dated, but are largely still fit for use and don’t look in any way bad. Despite it’s minor flaws though, the show still creates this eerie weird vibe, which is also very nostalgic and fun to go back on. Altogether it was a fun experience to go back and re-watch them, and I can’t wait to both watch it all over again in the future; and watch the next series too. Plus, that epic theme tune never gets old!