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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (BBC serial)

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"Could you believe me if I said I'd been right out of the world--outside this world--last summer?"
C.S. Lewis' signature

This article is Out of Universe: it covers a subject that does not exist in the world of Narnia. (See the WikiNarnia Format for more information.)

Narnia 1

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was an adaptation of the novel of the same name which formed the first of 4 Narnia miniseries produced by the BBC. It was later edited into a feature-length film and released on DVD.

Cast and Crew

Cast

Crew

  • Directed By: Marilyn Fox
  • Teleplay By: Alan Seymour
  • Produced by: Paul Stone

Broadcast Dates

Episode One: 13 November 1988

Episode Two: 20 November 1988

Episode Three: 27 November 1988

Episode Four: 4 December 1988

Episode Five: 11 December 1988

Episode Six: 18 December 1988


Episode One

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are evacuated from London in 1940 because of World War II. They go and live with Professor Digory Kirke at his large house in the countryside. The professor lives with his housekeeper Mrs. Macready as well as three other servants whose names are not mentioned in the programme, though in the book they are Ivy, Margaret and Betty.

Soon after their arrival, the four children are exploring the house when Lucy looks into a wardrobe and finds a snowy wood with a lamppost. She meets a faun called Mr. Tumnus and he invites her back to his cave for tea. He lulls her to sleep with his flute and when Lucy awakes Mr. Tumnus is in tears. He admits that he is working for the White Witch who rules over Narnia and makes it "always winter and never Christmas". She ordered that if he ever saw a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve (human) in the forest, he was to take them to her. Mr. Tumnus feared that if he disobeyed the Witch, she'd find out and have him turned to stone. In the end he cannot bring himself to give Lucy up to the Witch, so he guides her back to the lamppost.

When Lucy returns to her siblings, they don't believe her story about the country in the wardrobe and Edmund is especially nasty to her about it.

A few days later, the children are playing hide and seek when Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe. He gets into Narnia but can't find Lucy anywhere. He then hears a jingling of bells in the distance and a horse-drawn sleigh comes into sight, with a dwarf driving it and a woman sitting on the back seat.

Episode Two

The lady introduces herself as the Queen of Narnia, and invites Edmund to come and sit on her sleigh. She uses her magical powers to give Edmund a drink and he is especially pleased when she gives him his favourite food - Turkish Delight. The Queen then asks Edmund questions about himself. He tells her that he has a brother and two sisters, and that one of his sisters had already been in Narnia and had tea with a faun. She seems particularly interested in the fact that there are four of them, and asks Edmund to bring them to her house with him some other time. The Queen promises to make Edmund a Prince, as she has no children of her own, and later a King when she dies. She then bids farewell.

Edmund returns to the lamppost and Lucy appears, telling him that she has been to see Mr. Tumnus and that the White Witch has done nothing to him for not handing her over. Edmund then asks Lucy who the White Witch is and immediately knows that she is none other than the Queen of Narnia who he has just made friends with.

When Edmund and Lucy catch up with Peter and Susan, Edmund tells the others that he and Lucy had been playing a game by pretending that the country in the wardrobe was true. Lucy is very upset and Peter is angry with Edmund for encouraging Lucy. Peter and Susan speak to the professor about Lucy's recent behaviour and the professor says that her story could well be true, as it is obvious that she is not mad and does not tell lies.

A few days later, the children are exploring the house when they come across Mrs. Macready who is accompanied by a group of visitors. Mrs. Macready is not pleased with the children for being around when she was showing the house to the visitors, and they proceed to the room with the wardrobe. They hear Mrs. Macready approaching and jump in the wardrobe. The children suddenly notice that there is indeed a snowy wood in the back of the wardrobe. They have been walking for a few minutes when Edmund forgets himself and tells them that they should be walking in the direction of the lamppost. Peter is livid with Edmund for trying to make out that Lucy was telling lies.

Lucy then tells the other three children that she is taking them to see Mr. Tumnus, but when they reach his cave, Mr. Tumnus is gone and his cave has been ransacked. A letter has been left behind that informs the children that Mr. Tumnus is under arrest and awaiting trial on a charge of high treason against the Queen of Narnia. It is signed "Maugrim, Captain of the Secret Police".

Episode Three

The four children walk away from Mr Tumnus's cave and are suddenly attracted by a beaver, who appears to be waving for them to come to him. He gives Lucy the handkerchief that she gave to Mr Tumnus when he was crying, and tells them all that Aslan is on the move. He does not tell the children who Aslan is, but each of them feels a mysterious sensation.

Mr Beaver guides the children to his house which is on top of the dam next to a frozen river. His wife, Mrs Beaver, is cooking dinner and is thrilled to see the children. The two beavers and the four children finish their dinner and Mr Beaver tells them what he knows about Mr. Tumnus.

Mr Beaver is certain that Mr. Tumnus has been taken away by the Secret Police to the White Witch's house. He cannot say for sure what has happened to Mr. Tumnus, but few people taken in the White Witch's house ever come out again. The courtyard and the hall are believed to be full of statues of people that she has turned to stone. Peter is determined to do something to stop Mr. Tumnus from suffering this fate, but Mr Beaver says that Aslan - the great lion who has not been to Narnia for years - is on the move and it will be him who saves Mr. Tumnus. Mr Beaver tells the children that he will take them to see Aslan tomorrow at the Stone Table. He then tells them about the White Witch and explains that she is always on the lookout for humans in Narnia, and if she knew that there were four of them she would be more dangerous still. Mrs Beaver explains that there is a prophecy that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit on the four thrones at Cair Paravel - the palace on the Narnian coast - then it will be the end not only of the White Witch's reign, but of her life.

Lucy suddenly notices that Edmund is missing, and they all rush outside and shout his name over and over again, but he is nowhere to be seen. Mr Beaver says that there is no point in going to look for him, because they already knew where he'd gone. He is certain that Edmund had gone to the White Witch and on hearing that Edmund had already been in Narnia on his own, was convinced that he had joined the Witch's side. He had the look of one who had met the Witch, and eaten her food, and been told where she lives.

As everyone had been certain, Edmund had gone to the White Witch's house. He had first encountered Maugrim at the entrance to her castle, having passed numerous statues in the courtyard. Maugrim went inside to inform the Witch of Edmund's arrival, and reappeared soon afterwards to let Edmund in. The Witch was furious with Edmund for coming alone, and he explained that he had brought them into Narnia and that they were at the Beaver's house. When Edmund told the Witch that Aslan had also come to Narnia, she was angrier still and ordered her dwarf to prepare the sledge and use the harness without bells. "We'll creep up silently and burst upon them!" she remarked.

Episode Four

The Beavers and the three remaining children began packing bags of supplies as soon as they realised what Edmund had done, and were finally ready for the journey to the Stone Table.

Before the Witch, her dwarf and Edmund departed on the sledge, the Witch summoned Maugrim and sent him to the House of the Beavers, ordering him to kill everyone that he found, and to make all speed to the Stone Table if they have already gone. Maugrim took another wolf with him and they reached the Beaver's house, he broke into the house only to find it empty.

The children and the Beavers were now well into their journey and walking through the snowy night. Mr Beaver suddenly disappeared into a hole and everyone else followed him inside. They were inside an old hiding place for beavers in bad times, where they were to stay for a few hours of sleep.

They were roused in the morning by the jingling of bells. Mr Beaver went outside to investigate and minutes later called everyone else outside. It wasn't the Witch, as they had expected, but it was Father Christmas, who had got into Narnia at last. He presented the children with their gifts: Peter had a sword and shield, Susan had a bow and arrow with a horn, and Lucy had a bottle of cordial which would restore anyone who was ill or injured. He also promised the fix Mr Beaver's dam and fit a new sluicegate as well as delivering a new sewing machine for Mrs Beaver. He then presented them all with Christmas dinner and departed, wishing them a Merry Christmas.

Meanwhile, Edmund and the White Witch travelled throughout the night on the sledge. In the morning they came across a merry party of animals eating Christmas dinner. The Witch was furious when one of the party - an old dog-fox - said that Father Christmas had given them the food, and turned them all into stone. The Witch orders the dwarf to drive on, but they are soon grounded to a halt because the snow is melting. The dwarf and Edmund try to get the sledge to move but it is no good. The Witch orders the dwarf to cut the harness from the horses and they continue the journey on foot. The dwarf later tells the Witch that her winter has been destroyed by Aslan, and she threatens to kill whichever one of them mentioned "that name" again.

By the time the beavers and the children reach the Stone Table, the snow has completely melted.

Episode Five

Aslan welcomes the beavers and the children before showing Peter a far off sight - Cair Paravel - where he will be High King of Narnia. But they are soon interrupted by Susan's horn. Peter rushes to the Stone Table where he is confronted by Maugrim. After a brief but pulsating struggle, Peter kills Maugrim with his sword and Aslan gives him the title Lord Peter Wolf's Bane. Aslan then sends out his creatures to rescue Edmund. Upon hearing from a wolf that Maugrim is dead, the White Witch is advised by her dwarf that Aslan will be coming and that she'd better fly. Telling her dwarf that she won't flee, the White Witch sends the wolf to summon the Werewolves and the Dryads while she casts a spell to summon the Ghouls, Boggles, Cruels, Hags, Spectres, People of the Toadstools, Incubi, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Orknies, Sprites, Wooses, Ettins, and other evil creatures that work for her. The creatures sent by Aslan managed to rescue Edmund before the White Witch could kill him.

The White Witch later appears at the Stone Table and demands that Edmund should be handed over to her as a traitor. Aslan agrees to discuss the matter in private with the Witch and later announces to everyone that he has agreed with the Witch that Edmund should be spared.

That night, Susan and Lucy follow Aslan as he leaves the encampment in the woods, where they are staying the night before the battle. Aslan quickly notices that the two girls are following him and lets them walk with him until they reach the edge of the hill on which the Stone Table is situated. The Witch and her people are waiting there and Aslan is quickly tied to the table. The Witch then kills Aslan with a knife and just before doing so, says that she will go back on her word not to kill Edmund.

Episode Six

Susan and Lucy spent the whole night at the Stone Table and during that time they notice that mice and biting away at the cords which hold Aslan's dead body to the table. The Stone Table then cracks in half and Aslan comes back to life. He reveals that there was a deeper magic from before the dawn of time which the White Witch had never known. The magic meant that if a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed on the table, the table would crack in half and the victim would come back to life. The two girls then jump on Aslan's back and they fly to the White Witch's house, where Aslan's restores all the statues - including Mr Tumnus - and Giant Rumblebuffin kicks the locked gates open to let everyone out.

Meanwhile, both sides are preparing for battle in the woods which surround the Stone Table. By the time Aslan and the restored statues return, the battle is in full swing and the Witch has already turned a number of Aslan's people into stone. Edmund then brings his sword crashing down on the Witch's wand and she knocks him out with the butt of it, only to be chased to the top of a ravine by Peter. Aslan is standing on the far side of the ravine and roars so loudly that the Witch falls to the bottom of the ravine, dying instantly. Lucy then goes around the battlefield, restoring Edmund and the other injured Narnians to health.

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are later crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia. They rule Narnia for many happy years and bring peace and prosperity to a land which had previously been plagued by the White Witch's evil regime.

Many years after coming to the Narnian throne, the four monarchs - now adults - are passing through the forest when they come across the lamp-post which they had passed on their arrival in Narnia many years earlier. They then walk deeper into the forest, pass through the wardrobe door and find themselves in the spare room at the professor's house. Mrs Macready is still talking outside in the corridor, proving correct the professor's theory that Narnia had a different time to our world - while some 15 years had passed in Narnia, only a few minutes had passed in our world. The four children then went to inform the professor of their adventures and he told them that they would never be able to get back to Narnia through the wardrobe, although they would one day return there via another route. 'Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia', he commented, as the story drew to a close.

One notable change in the final episode is that there is no Hunting of the White Stag, as there was in the book. The four children (or adults as they had become) were simply enjoying a ride on their horses through the forest when they returned to their own world through the wardrobe.

Changes from the novel

  • When Edmund meets the White Witch, she magically makes a tent appear where she and Edmund talk.
  • The White Witch's sleigh was pulled by horses, instead of reindeer.
  • Like the 3 other movie adaptions of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Edmund asks for more Turkish delight. The White Witch angrily snaps "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" at him, before she says "No" gently to him. In the books, she was content with Edmund when he asked for more turkish delight and laughed.

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