From Time to Time

DRAMA; 1hr 32min

STARRING: Maggie Smith, Alex Etel

Family jewels: Etel and Smith

All ghost stories should be set in a grand old home like Green Knowe: whether in 1944 or 1809, the twin eras in which From Time to Time takes place, the house is alive with possibilities. For 13-year-old Tolly Oldknow (Etel), despatched to Green Knowe by his mother while she searches for his absent soldier father in London, a Christmas visit with his reserved grandmother (Smith) takes a turn into hidden dimensions when the ghosts of his ancestors make their presence felt.


As he proved with his screenplay of Gosford Park, Julian Fellowes is a master of parallel worlds. While this slighter, family-friendly story is no panoramic GP, Fellowes’s adaptation and direction of Lucy M. Boston’s 1958 novel The Chimneys of Green Knowe flows smoothly through its time continuum, swirling between past and present as Green Knowe gives up its secrets in a tangle of prejudice and greed. Adventurous and romantic, its message that the past can inform and heal the present is an oldie and a goodie for any generation.