BBC Radio 7, 27 September - 1 October 2010
This charming adaptation of the classic tale took us back to more
innocent times, when transport was restricted to horses and carts, home life actually meant something, and children relied
on their imaginations to take them out of a workaday world into something rich and strange. In Sally Avens' production,
the principal focus of attention centred on Anne (Barbara Barnes), an ugly duckling transformed into a swan. Although
fundamentally good-natured, she remained true to herself - a plain-speaking, open-hearted little soul - while at the same
time understanding the importance of respecting her elders. Such qualities lay at the heart of her transdformation.
Such heart-warming tales might seem rather anachronistic today, it was a credit to
Avens' production that this did not seem the case. This was chiefly due to Barnes' performance as a girl with an unshakeable belief
in human goodness. The story itself meandered along from incident to incident, from home to school, involving an
entire community in a remote Canadian village. However this made it eminently suitable for a five-part adaptation: we
did not need to remember all the strands of the plot to be able to enjoy it. All that mattered was Barnes herself.