A Quest For Quincy

Tommy Steele in Quincy’s Quest.

Dear ITV Viewer Services,

To be honest this is a stab in the dark. Even finding this email address wasn’t easy. Please forward this on to the appropriate person if I have sent this to the wrong department.
I’m not even sure if I should be contacting ITV, but you have to start somewhere.

If you don’t get past “DVD Release” and Quincy’s Quest”, I understand. That is the point of this email. The rest is really a background on why I felt it important to ask.

I’ve been looking for a DVD release of a TV movie called “Quincy’s Quest”, which was aired by Thames Television in December 1979. As far as I am aware it has not been aired since and I can’t find any evidence of a DVD release either. I know that there are countless programmes and movies produced for TV that don’t warrant a commercial DVD release, but some of these programmes deserve a wider audience than they might have received when first aired.

Firstly I should say that I am a New Zealander, so this film didn’t air here until a year afterwards, in December 1980. In fact, it aired Christmas Eve 1980. I was 7 years old at the time. I think it takes until you are at least 6 or 7 before you really understand the magic of Christmas. It is one of the few times in life when magic is real and everything seems more defined, more alive than ever before.

That was probably the first Christmas I really remember well, but until recently I had forgotten one of the main reasons why. It is funny how sometimes memories come back to you. You’re supposed to forget things as you get older, but I find that as I age things find their way back to me. I’m not sure why Quincy’s Quest popped into my mind, but there it was.

I had looked forward to seeing it for what seemed weeks. TV advertising wasn’t as aggressive in those days, but I do recall some blanket advertising for the Christmas programming, and Quincy’s Quest was the highlight, the Christmas Eve feature. With only two channels at the time (and one network), there was usually one aimed at kids and one at adults on the other channel. I didn’t know who Tommy Steele was, but the advertising did its job. I was sold. Not surprising really – the storyline involved unwanted toys (led by toy Tommy) in a quest to find Santa so that they didn’t end up on the scrapheap (or worse I think!). Toys, Santa, adventure. Fantastic. It’s no wonder I fell in love with the Toy Story movies later on.

So Christmas Eve arrives. That Christmas feeling hits big time. Excitement? I don’t think you can ever replicate the feeling of excitement for a 7 year old on Christmas Eve. I think sometimes that the joy of anticipation is lost on us until it is too late, but I remember enjoying every moment of that wait. I don’t even remember what time it started, but I’m guessing it was something like 7.30. I don’t remember a lot of the content of the film, only that I loved every second of it. Every second that I saw, that is.

I now know that the film ran for about 80 minutes, but that was about 15-20 minutes too long for a 7 year old. Alas, my bedtime arrived, and despite desperate pleading, I was off to bed and left wondering if Tommy would ever find Santa. Of course in the morning it was Christmas Day, so in the excitement of opening presents I forgot about Tommy and the toys. And there it ended, until today that is.

I have to admit I don’t know if Quincy’s Quest is a good film, by any measure. In a way, it doesn’t really matter. When I remembered the film I was remembering that Christmas as a 7 year old, and the feelings I experienced. Excitement, joy and desperate disappointment. It is a strange thing to feel those things again, it is like you are 7 years old all over again except the emotion is magnified because it has been hidden away for 32 years.

I can’t bring my childhood back, nor would I want to. I guess I want a bit of closure, and perhaps to find a lost piece of my childhood. We all have fragments of our life that are lost along the way, and some of them shape who we are and what we will become. Some of them however, are no more than moments that remind us that life isn’t perfect, and neither are we. This film represents one of those moments.

It won’t be the end of the world if my search proves fruitless, but if there is an opportunity to get one of those moments back, I have to try.

 As a sidenote, I am aware that the film has been posted on YouTube in several parts, however I would rather experience the film as I remember it, on a television screen.

 If you have read this far, thank you for your time and patience. I expect that there is no plan for a DVD release, but even confirmation that the film still exists somewhere in an ITV vault would at least give me hope that the film will see the light of day, one day.

Kind regards

 Villager at Large.

5 thoughts on “A Quest For Quincy

    • Hi Lee, thanks for the kind offer. Since I wrote this I’ve been able to access a digital copy that I can watch on my TV. I’m glad you or someone had the foresight to record it at the time, though you might want to copy it to a digital source for safekeeping as well. Thanks again and Merry Christmas 🙂

  1. Isn’t the internet absolutely brilliant! I’ve thought about this programme most Christmases since I say it s a youngster but never really tried to bother finding it. This year though this advert for Barclaycard in the UK http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wUo3r76KeBo really reminded me of it and I thought I’d have a quick search. Took a while as I could only remember it starred Tommy Steele and he was a toy but then eventually stumbled on your site.
    It really hasn’t aged well and Tommy Steele is not that great an actor but I still enjoyed it. It seems a lot scarier than I remember it when the witch takes over.
    Anyway, thanks to both of you for searching for it and finding it. WOnder how impressed my kids will be with it!

  2. I live in Australia now, but I have the same fond memories of this show, watching it as a child in England, christmas eve 1979! I now have my own children and have wondered for years how to come by a copy. I’ve just found it on You Tube in 9 parts-first link is

    It is very dated, but still lovely to watch and at least you’ve get to know the ending after 30+ years!!

    • Hi Melanie, glad that someone else has a similar memory of this film! You’re right, it is dated, but that doesn’t really matter when it brings back childhood memories. It is great that it is on youtube, I agree. Hopefully one day I will be able to afford the DVD, would still love to have it.

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