This is the first of four 30' parts of the complete, double BAFTA winning, 2hr, SUMMERHILL, a drama that I directed and executive produced for the BBC about the true life story of the eponymous school's battle with OFSTED in 1999. It was an unusual project in that it had to deliver both as a 4 x 30' serial to CBBC for children and as a 100' single film to BBC4 for adults. The serial was largely shot at the real Summerhill school in Suffolk and many of the school's pupils took part either in main roles or as background artists. This is the entire 30' first episode of the serial.

The drama was very well reviewed, for both its CBBC and BBC4 screenings. Here are a selection of the previews and reviews:


The Independent

The Times
“Ambitious… won’t patronize younger viewers.”

The Daily Telegraph
(full page article: “The school where lessons are optional.”)
“A compelling four-part drama”.

Daily Mirror
“Gripping… a classy kids’ drama”

Daily Star
“It’ll entertain the whole family.”

Daily Mail
“Engaging for parents and children alike.”

The Herald
(2 page article: “A School breaking all the rules”)
“A gripping four-part drama.”

“An interesting idea… works well.”

Scotland on Sunday
(Pick of the week)
“Glorious… fantastic new CBBC drama. This is splendid stuff, buoyed up by sharp scripting and terrific performances. Little wonder that a re-edited version is set to run on BBC4. In short, it’s that rarest of things: a drama that’s both smart enough for weans and exciting enough for adults.”

Plus Choice / pick of the day in;
The Sun
News of the World
The Sunday Times
The Observer
The Guardian
Mail on Sunday
The Sunday Herald
The Metro
Leicester Mercury


The Independent
“It’s a great idea, boldly done.”

The Daily Telegraph & The Sunday Telegraph
“Summerhill has charm.” “Funny and touching.”

“a fun, imaginatively told story… it’s pleasing to see children’s television, especially drama, being made well.” “a great modern story”

The Times
“In 20 years time it will seem semi-legendary.”

The Mail
“Dramatic… powerful.”

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