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First transmitted in 1984, Chocky is a six-part TV adaptation of John Wyndham's clever novel. Matthew, an apparently normal 12-year-old boy, starts talking to an invisible presence called Chocky, who quizzes him on a wide variety of subjects as if unfamiliar with life on Earth. Over the course of the serial it is suggested that Chocky is an alternate personality or, after Matthew has been helped by Chocky to rescue his sister from drowning, a guardian angel. But we realise early on that this non-imaginary friend is in fact an alien who has made exploratory contact with the boy. Though Chocky manifests as a swirl of blue light, this is a rare piece of TV science fiction that sticks to the domestic arena, exploring ideas rather than playing with special effects.
Wyndham's very 1950s-styled novel is updated by making the kids less well-spoken, and throwing in Rubik's cubes and space invaders video games, but adaptor Anthony Read's script preserves the virtues of the novel. Young Andrew Ellams is fine in a demanding role, and there's good-quality puzzled concern from dad James Hazeldine and 80s TV's resident sexy mum Carol Drinkwater. Apart from a few eye-abusing 1984 fashions--Jeremy Bulloch's huge glasses and blinding white jeans in a cameo as a psychiatrist--and the general leisurely pace, which is no bad thing in such a careful piece of drama, this has dated little. Those who remember its first broadcast will find it lives up to the memory, and those who weren't born then should still find it an entertaining watch.
On the DVD: Chocky on disc can be accessed as a marathon two-and-a-half-hour watch or as six individual episodes (the latter is recommended). Print quality is fine given the techniques of its production. A nice extra is a 20-minute, in-depth chat with writer Anthony Read.