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A Twist in the Tale (TV series)

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Title: A Twist in the Tale (TV series)  
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Subject: The Tribe (TV series), Michelle Ang, Antonia Prebble, Beth Allen, Raymond Thompson, Victoria Spence, Dwayne Cameron, Chantelle Brader, Sarah Major, Amy Morrison
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A Twist in the Tale (TV series)

A Twist in the Tale
Genre Family
Created by Raymond Thompson
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 15
New Zealand
Production companies Cloud 9 Entertainment
External links

A Twist in the Tale is a 1998 TV series starring William Shatner. Willam Shatner's A Twist In The Tale was a 15 episode short lived television series in the late 1990s. Every week the narrator/host (Shatner) would have a group of children he would tell a story to. The main children were always in the story itself.


# Title Original air date
1 "Obsession in August" February 6, 1999 (1999-02-06)

"...The two enduring English folk-heroes are Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest and King Arthur of Camelot. We know Sherwood Forest existed - it's still there. But where was Camelot? ... A hundred years ago three brilliant men were prepared to risk their sanity - and their lives - to prove they knew its exact location ... "

Our story opens in Victorian England. Vicky (14) and Aidan (11) Tudor are wildly excited about the imminent return of their mother and father after three years traveling abroad. However, the carriage that finally rumbles up the driveway contains not their parents but their beloved uncle, the gentle and scholarly Lance Dulac (36). The Tudors' ship has been delayed, and in their absence Lance has come to take the children with him to visit his dear friend, Arthur LeRoy, the Earl of Sackville, and - perhaps even dearer to Lance - the Earl's lovely and lively daughter Guinevere (18), known to all simply as Jenny.

To Aidan's particular delight, the Sackville's estate, Gramayre, is in Dorset, deep in Cameliard: the land of King Arthur and his court of Camelot. But despite the warm welcome the children receive from the Sackvilles, this is far from being a simple holiday in the countryside. Even as they approach Gramarye for the first time, a mysterious wind blows up around them: harsh, hot and dry, a terrifying roar filled with menace. Strangest of all, although the sound of the wind is deafening, it seems to move nothing in its path. As the children react in fright, we see their carriage is being watched through narrowed eyes by the sinister gypsy Morgana.

Jenny is particularly pleased to make the children's acquaintance, and it doesn't take long for quick-witted Vicky to notice that Jenny and her uncle have a certain understanding between them. However, Lance's primary purpose in coming to Gramarye is the pursuit of knowledge rather than love: he, the Earl and a third party, the sombre Merlyn Tredinnick, have been working on an excavation site within the estate for fifteen years, and their work is nearing completion. Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin and the lady Guinevere drawn together again: Aidan is delighted by the coincidence, but as Jenny points out, if he remembers the legend correctly, it is not necessarily a happy one ...

To the children's disappointment, their first day at Gramarye dawns gloomily. Confined indoors, they decide to explore the house - and very rapidly make an intriguing discovery: a shrine concealed behind an ornate mirror, and within it, a sword and anvil beneath a medieval tapestry. The face of the knight figured there is startlingly like that of their host, the current Lord Sackville. But when the children tell Jenny of their discovery she is half-uneasy, half-indifferent. Jenny, indeed, is the only adult in the household not in the thrall of the Arthurian legend, and perhaps she has good reason. Lance has formally proposed to her, but they cannot marry until the work on the excavation site is complete.

As Jenny tells the children, if you become too obsessed with the past it leaves no time for the present: and the present is where we live. The second day dawns fine, and with the men busy at the site, Jenny, Vicky and Aidan set out for a picnic on the lake. Aidan, who true to form is paddling his own canoe, is ahead and out of sight of the others when he finds himself being dragged off-course. He is horrified to see guiding the wayward canoe a woman's arm, clothed in white, rising from the waters of the lake. Leaping ashore in terror, Aidan sees a figure in white beckoning him on ... and as if hypnotized, he sets out to follow her... The modern day king, knight and necromancer have uncovered an astonishing find: a Roman tessellation, perfectly preserved: and in the center, the figure of a medieval monarch - King Arthur. As Professor Dulac gravely observes, this is potentially the most dangerous archaeological discovery ever made - because it utterly defies both time and history. Echoing the Obsession in August cont. knight in the children's tapestry, the face of the King is ... that of the Victorian Arthur LeRoy. Into this solemn conclave comes Aidan, hot, dusty, frightened, and whooping for breath.

The Earl wheels on him in fury - the nature of their work has always been contained in complete secrecy. Sobbing and distressed, still under the partial thrall of a magic he does not understand, Aidan bolts away through the forest, with a mysterious voice singing threateningly in his head: the King needs him, the King needs him... Jenny and Vicky are not the only ones relieved when Aidan stumbles upon their picnic site. There is a nasty consequence for Aidan of his afternoon's adventure, however - he has run through hemlock, and the pollen has burned him badly: Vicky finds him in the bedroom very ill indeed. Jenny is reassuring - she has seen hemlock burn before: the old gypsy Morgana will be able to mix a potion to counter the poison. Vicky approaches Morgana's caravan in great fear and trembling, and certainly the wise woman's reception of her is chilling. She sends Vicky running with both the antidote and a flea in her ear. Stumbling round the side of the caravan, Vicky sees, to her horror, a crude small gallows from which three clay figures dangle ...

Standing behind her, whispering in her ear, Morgana coaxes the girl to study the faces of the figures: and as Vicky watches they mix into those of Sackville, Dulac and Tredinnick - Arthur, Lancelot and Merlin. These three are meddling in a past that does not belong to them - and no good will come of it. The following day Aidan is better, but still not well enough to venture out of doors. The girls go off on a sketching expedition and leave him to his own devices. Bored and disgruntled, he returns to the hidden shrine - but discovers that the sword and anvil have vanished. How can this be? Then, terrifyingly, the face of the King in the tapestry speaks to him: he must not tamper with Camelot; it will destroy him if he disobeys. Aidan bolts, badly frightened. His dreams that night are full of menace and foreboding, but the children are powerless to dissuade the three men from setting out on the final day of the dig. Indeed, all three are hugely excited: they have uncovered, beyond the tessellation, what appears to be a granite tombstone - and in its side, engraved in Latin, are the words, "The once and future King." Could it be that the Holy Grail lies buried inside? 
2 "A Crack in Time" February 13, 1999 (1999-02-13)

The Johnsons live in a small country town. Their dairy farm has been in the family for three generations, and although in recent years they have been struggling, Mike - the father of David (13) and Katie (10) - is not about to let it go without a fight. David has his own worries - he is being bullied at school by Wayne Brogan (14), the son of a rich neighboring farmer. Wayne is particularly scornful of David's push-bike, which is no match for Wayne's own all-singing, all-dancing version.

On the day our story begins, Wayne chases David home from school, knocking him into a ditch and badly damaging the bike. Mike is as suspicious of Pat Brogan as David is of his son: for some years now Pat has been offering to buy up the Johnsons' farm. The chief money-spinner of the farm is their specialist cheeses: with the bank threatening to foreclose, despite the best efforts of the family's accountant Larry Sharpe, there could not be a worse time for the persistent and mystifying spoiling of the product. Mike is not beyond believing Pat Brogan to be somehow behind the contamination - and Nicky (19), the Johnsons' attractive dairy assistant, doesn't like him very much either...

The night of David's crash, there is a huge thunderstorm over the farm. David cowers under the sheets - and therefore misses the most spectacular effect of the lightning... ... Until he wakes the next morning - the morning of Friday the 13th - to find a girl in his room he has never seen before - insisting that he is trespassing in her room.

Jem Johnson - from the year 2098. Jem's father, back in the future, has designed a "compucator" - what Jem calls a commie. The commie is an astonishing invention: a kind of hand-held, intuitive supercomputer, which works by accessing the user's alpha waves and the universal matrix, the 21st century's version of the Internet. Jem has the prototype, and was being chased by a couple of what she calls "badlanders" for it when she crawled into her closet to come out in David's time.

Jem is charming, brave, quick witted - and impulsive. After a number of near-misses with David's bewildered family, and unable to get back to her own time, she finally takes matters into her own hands and introduces herself to Mary, the children's mother. Katie, David's sister, is very keen on Jem, particularly when Jem reveals a fantastic common skill of the future: telepathy, for which Katie displays a definite flair. Strangest of all, when Jem takes herself to school, she makes a surprising conquest - Wayne Brogan.

The only thing that worries responsible David are the two sinister men who seem to take as keen an interest in Jem as Wayne does... David is suspicious of Wayne's sudden transformation into Sir Galahad, and slightly jealous as well. When Jem's commie goes missing from her locker, he suspects Wayne has stolen it, despite Wayne's indignant denial - and when Jem goes missing next, he's certain of it. He and Mike have an angry confrontation with Pat and Wayne, but at midnight Jem is still not back. Unable to sleep with worry, David is startled by the appearance of Katie in his bedroom.

The telepathy game the children played has had an unexpected outcome: Katie is receiving persistent images she is sure are from Jem - images of an office, a filing cabinet, a night street seen through a window. The children slip out of the house with only their dog Bones for company and set off to the rescue; they are joined by an unexpected friend and ally - the erstwhile bully Wayne. Jem's images lead the children to the main street of their little town, and into the offices of ... Larry Sharpe. But what can the family's sympathetic accountant have to do with the kidnapping of Jem?

As Katie and Bones keep watch outside, Wayne and David begin the difficult task of breaking into Larry's inner office, where Jem is bound and gagged. Katie is horrified by the appearance of Larry and - of all people - Nicky, the Johnsons' dairy hand: what on earth are these two doing together? Leaping to her feet, Katie cannons into the fire exit door through which the children broke in - and to her horror it slams shut, locking her out and the two boys in. There follows a tense scene with Wayne and David in precarious hiding - but eavesdropping can sometimes be illuminating: it becomes clear not only that Larry and Nicky are behind the kidnap and the theft of the commie, but that they have long been in collusion over the jeopardizing of the farm's produce - the "accidental" spoiling of the cheeses - in order to force a sale - and force the Johnsons out.

With the appearance of the two men David has observed watching Jem, the dastardly quadrangle is complete. Larry pays off the kidnappers and he and Nicky leave, gloating. With not only the farm but the secrets of the commie in their grasp, they will be very rich villains indeed. Katie and Bones sneak into the building as David and Wayne free Jem. With her telepathic powers she unlocks the combination dial of the safe and regains her commie ... and David makes a very important discovery: documents that clearly implicate Larry in the fraudulent handling of the business affairs of the farm. The children's gleeful laughter merges with the rumble of an approaching thunder storm... ... and we open again on David asleep ... and his calendar, clearly showing Friday the 13th, as Mary shakes him awake.

David stumbles downstairs, bewildered: Jem is nowhere to be seen, and his inquiry about her meets with a blank response from Mary. But Mike and Mary certainly have enough to be distracted by - the morning mail brings the precious contract from Pacific Dairy Products they have been waiting for, and the paper the shocking news of the arrests of Larry Sharpe and Nicky. David is lost in thought, as the joyous dance of his parents mirrors the joyous dance of he and Jem the night before ... and Katie enters, bearing a puzzling object: the commie, which she has just found in David's room. David can only smile at her: it is something he has dreamed up, dreamed up for the future... 

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • YouTube

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