The Adventures of Black Beauty was a popular British children’s television series that aired between 1972 and 1974. Produced by London Weekend Television and shown on ITV, the show was based on the classic children’s novel by Anna Sewell and was distributed internationally. A continuation, The New Adventures of Black Beauty, premiered in 1990, setting the story twenty years after the original series.
Set in the late nineteenth century, the plot revolves around a beautiful black stallion named Black Beauty, adopted into the family of a local doctor and widower, James Gordon, and the adventures experienced by his children Vicky, Jenny, and Kevin, as well as their friends Albert, Robbie, and Ned.
Filming for the series took place throughout the picturesque Hertfordshire countryside, effectively bringing the story to life and capturing the essence of rural 19th-century England. The fictional village of Five Oaks provided the backdrop for the heartwarming tales.
The show’s storyline revolves around Black Beauty’s life after being rescued from cruel circumstances by the compassionate Dr Gordon, who later adopts the horse. Throughout the series, Black Beauty forms close relationships with Vicky and Kevin, and they embark on numerous adventures, often tackling difficult challenges and helping those in need.
Key characters in the series include Dr James Gordon (played by William Lucas), a kind and skilled veterinarian; his daughter Vicky (played by Judi Bowker and later by Stacy Dorning), who shares her father’s passion for helping animals; Kevin (played by Roderick Shaw), their adventurous friend who often joins Vicky and Black Beauty on their escapades; and of course, Black Beauty, the titular horse with a calm and noble disposition.
Set in the fictitious village of Five Oaks, the show’s creators sought to recreate the idyllic atmosphere of 19th-century England through the choice of filming locations. Since the Hertfordshire countryside beautifully encapsulates the picturesque landscape of the era, it served as the perfect backdrop for the show. Some of the notable locations used for filming throughout the series include various stately homes, wooded areas, and charming villages in the region. These real-life settings allowed the show to resonate with its audience and create a sense of authenticity.
The Adventures of Black Beauty revolves around the Gordon family, which comprises Dr James Gordon, a local doctor and widower, and his children Vicky (season one), Jenny (season two), and his son Kevin.
Dr James Gordon
Dr James Gordon, played by actor William Lucas, is a caring and dedicated father who values the well-being of his family and the community.
Vicky Gordon (played by Judi Bowker in season one) is a courageous and determined young girl with a great love for animals, particularly Black Beauty.
In season two, Vicky is replaced by Jenny Gordon (played by Stacy Dorning), who shares a similar passion for animals.
Kevin Gordon, the youngest member of the family, is portrayed by Roderick Shaw. He is an adventurous and lively boy who enjoys exploring the countryside with his siblings and Black Beauty.
Additionally, the series hosts a collection of supporting characters, often comprising the friends of the Gordon children, who join them on their adventures and contribute to the plotlines.