Century Falls

From Academic Kids

Century Falls is a British science-fiction television serial for children broadcast in six twenty-five minute episodes on BBC ONE in early 1993. Written by Russell T. Davies, it tells the story of teenager Tess Hunter and her mother, who move to the seemingly idyllic rural village of Century Falls, only to find that it hides many powerful secrets.



Russell T. Davies had worked in the BBC Children's Department for many years, writing the science-fiction serial Dark Season for the weekday afternoon Children's BBC strand in 1991. The following year, he had left the BBC to work for Granada Television, where he was producing and writing for their children's medical drama Children's Ward.

The director of Dark Season, Colin Cant, had been assigned to direct another children's serial for BBC ONE, but had little enthusiasm for the script. Instead, he wrote to Davies asking if he could provide something else. Davies quickly wrote the first episode of Century Falls for Cant to take to his superiors, who then fully commissioned the programme.

The serial was broadcast as part of CBBC on BBC ONE on Wednesday afternoons at 5.10pm from February 17 to March 24 1993.


When Tess Hunter and her mother arrive in Century Falls, they gradually find it to be a strange village haunted by a disaster which befell during the performance of an occult ceremony forty years previously.

Tess befriends the only other children in the village, brother and sister Ben and Carey Naismith, and finds that Ben has strange powers which he draws from the waterfall that gives the village its name, Century Falls.

The Naismiths' uncle Richard is working with his aged father Dr Josiah Naismith to complete the unfinished 1950s ceremony using Ben's powers, hoping to raise the spirit of a mysterious God-like being, Century. They are eventually stopped by Tess's actions, aided by the local Harkness sisters, who knew the original tragedy of the 1950s events.

Cast and Crew

Russell T. Davies had already gained a good reputation as a writer of children's drama from his work on Dark Season and Children's Ward. He would go on to forge a career as one of Britain's top writers of adult television drama, although he did not write again for the BBC until he penned an episode of Linda Green, transmitted on BBC ONE in 2001.

Colin Cant had for many years been the Producer of the BBC's long-running school drama Grange Hill, and had gone on to direct several well-received children's serials before Century Falls, such as Moondial (1990) and Dark Season.

Of the cast, the three teenage leads were unknown: Catherine Sanderson as Tess, Simon Fenton as Ben and Emma Jane Lavin as Carey. Simon Fenton has since gone on to appear in several well-known television dramas, such as ITV's police soap opera The Bill (in 2002) and Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers (2001).

Many of the adult cast were already well-known character actors from a range of British television dramas. Bernard Kay (Richard Naismith) had appeared in episodes of many long-running British television dramas, such as Doctor Who, Crossroads, Dixon of Dock Green and Z-Cars, as well as films such as Carry On Sergeant (1958) and Doctor Zhivago (1965). Mary Wimbush (Esme Harkness) appeared in the BBC's famous adaptation of Poldark (1975) and several episodes of ITV's Jeeves and Wooster (1990-92). She is probably best known, however, as the voice of Julia Pargetter in BBC Radio 4's long-running rural soap opera The Archers.

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