|Into the Labyrinth|
Peter Graham Scott
|Directed by||Peter Graham Scott|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||21|
|Location(s)||Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England, UK|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||HTV West|
|Original run||13 May 1981 – 8 September 1982|
Into the Labyrinth is a British children's television series produced by HTV for the ITV network between 1980 and 1982. Three series, each consisting of seven 25-minute episodes, were produced and directed by Peter Graham Scott. The series was created by Scott along with Bob Baker, who had previously written several stories for Doctor Who.
The series was based around the struggle of two timeless, feuding sorcerers - the noble Rothgo (Ron Moody) and the evil Belor (Pamela Salem). Each aimed to obtain possession of the Nidus, a magical object of limitless power. The Nidus actually belonged to Rothgo and was the source of his power, but it was stolen by Belor who used her own magic to send it through time and space so that Rothgo would not be able to find it. Without the power of the Nidus, Rothgo would ultimately die. The first two seasons followed a group of modern-day children (Phil, Helen and Terry) who find Rothgo, almost lifeless, in a labyrinthine cave. Rothgo sends the children through different periods of time to search for the Nidus, which is disguised as a different object in each time period and can only be seen in reflection. The children arrive at various points of history (the French Revolution, Ancient Greece, English Civil War, etc), however their attempts are constantly thwarted by Belor who also appears in each time period, and who uses her magic to hurl the Nidus further through time to prevent Rothgo and the children from obtaining it (using her magical incantation "I deny you the Nidus!" as a bolt of lightning emanates from her fingertips). Belor cannot actually touch the Nidus whilst Rothgo still lives, and so she can only hope to deny him possession of the artefact until he eventually dies. At the end of the first series, the children locate the Nidus (now in the shape of a sword) and finally manage to outwit Belor and return the Nidus to Rothgo, leaving Belor defeated.
In the second series, Belor returns with her own power source, the Albedo, with which she hopes to destroy Rothgo and take possession of the Nidus. However, during their battle, the two power sources collide leaving the Albedo destroyed and the Nidus split into five segments which scatter throughout time and space. As before, Rothgo enlists the help of Phil, Terry and Helen to retrieve the fragments. Again, their efforts are hampered by Belor, until the final episode of the second series, when the children manage to reconstitute the Nidus. However, this time they are unable to escape Belor and so instead they hurl the Nidus into a bottomless pool of water, where it remained lost forever.
In the third and final series, only Phil returned to assist a new sorcerer, Lazlo (played by Chris Harris). Lazlo's source of power was the Scarabeus, a magical amulet that fitted onto a bracelet he wore. Now no longer able to possess the Nidus, that was lost at the end of the previous series, Belor attempts to steal Lazlo's Scarabeus by once again hiding it from him in different time periods. Lazlo and Phil try to trace the Scarabeus using the bracelet, but they are constantly thwarted by Belor, until the final episode when they are victorious.
Some of the Labyrinth scenes were shot on location in the Cheddar Gorge caves. These provided the opening and closing closing scenes of season one, and footage used as CSO backdrops. Most of the historical escapades were studio based around the same cave sets, which were redressed for each time period. The opening and closing book ends for seasons two and three were shot at Avebury stone circle and Glastonbury Tor, respectively.
The solo voice that sings the haunting theme of Into the Labyrinth is Lynda Richardson, who also sings the main melody line of the Children of the Stones theme. Patrick Dromgoole was the executive producer and Sidney Sager wrote the music for both of these series.
The three child actors continued acting as adults. Simon Beal now acts under the stage name Charlie Caine, and had a small role in Bridget Jones's Diary. Lisa Turner had a lead role in the UK drama Bad Girls. Simon Henderson played Eddie Hunter in EastEnders.
The first series was released on VHS (on two cassettes) in the 1980s. Network DVD released the complete series in a three disc DVD boxset on the 14th July 2008.