I really enjoyed this adventure of Tarot and his young companions. Written by P.J. Hammond, future creator of the even more out-there "Sapphire And Steel" T.V. series, the three episodes here are mysterious, spooky and exciting, just the kind of thing my young adult self, okay I was only twelve at the time, wanted to watch when I got home from school.
"Peacock Pie" featured Peter Sallis, later of "Porridge" and "Last Of The Summer Wine" in a much tougher part than he usually played, as the steely-eyed modern witch Mr Peacock with mind-bending powers, able to make people see what he wants them to see. Staying at a small B and B with his supportive old landlord at his beck and call, he carries out on a whim a £40000 bank robbery just to demonstrate his power of suggestion over strangers. When he's casing the premises however he bumps into Mikki and identifies her superior psychic energy as a kindred spirit and from there it's not long before he crashes Tarot and Mikki's cabaret mind-reading act (well, it pays the rent) to gauge their capacities before he tries to bend their wills to his.
With some surprisingly good special effects, such as when Roy is firstly imprisoned, or so he thinks, in an electrified chamber and Tarot transported at least in his mind to the edge of a 40 feet high building, the trail leads back to the dowdy little B and B, only this time Mr Peacock makes it seem like it's a sumptuous town house and even transforms the old landlady herself into a well-dressed younger lady hostess.
The series hardly ever resorted to fisticuffs to further the action instead tilting the storyline to the psychological which I think lifted it well above whatever was passed off as children's entertainment at that time. As ever Michael MacKenzie was the trendily-dressed charismatic Tarot enthusiastically supported by Petra Markham and Roy Holder as his assistants.
Yes, the acting is a little underdone here and there, the sets aren't the most expensive and the special effects not always so very special, but I still think it stands up well today. And of course it had the coolest title sequence and theme tune around at the time.
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