Discordant vocals and blinding light
The moment of petrification in Children of the Stones
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This chapter provides an opportunity not only to take children’s television seriously on both artistic and cultural terms but also to gesture towards Children of the Stones’s significance in terms of TV’s art history. Undertaking an exploration of this TV series via the binary of sound/image, the moment in television, as far as this chapter is concerned, is the climax of the final episode, ‘Full Circle’: the point at which the villagers are, in a blindingly white flash of psychic energy, and amid a sonic swirl of discordant wails, turned into stone – that is, the moment of petrification. This chapter engages with sound/image binaries in ways that not only refuse to separate sound out from image but seek out the dynamic third space to be found in between them. In fact, Children of the Stones is more than an isolated moment, as the series is seen as part of a much wider sonic-visual space-time continuum, whereby this classic example of paranormal-fixated children’s cult television of the late-1970s allowed its young viewers to connect with a Neolithic past, and also to contemplate the far more nuanced relationship that the past, present and future hold between themselves. As an example of British Gothic televisuality, this series set itself apart from what had gone before, whilst the contemporary viewer’s ability to recognise the distinct aesthetic qualities of such televisuality means that Children of the Stones is forever embedded within our collective televisual memories.

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Moments in television

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