This film is part of Free

The Children of Eskdale

Five siblings run free over fields, feed the farm animals, pine for a pony or spotty dog, and a school dance exactly illustrates the difference between girls and boys.

Documentary 1973 55 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This lovely documentary on a farming family in Eskdale, was part of the acclaimed Yorkshire Television series Once In A Lifetime. It shows the daily life of the Raw family – John and his wife Dot, and their three daughters and two sons – on their fifty acre farm in Fryup Dale, North Yorkshire. The main story is of the children’s wish to have a pony, but centre stage is the tension between mum and eldest daughter, emerging from adolescence, over make-up, bras and boyfriend.

The producer and director of this film, Barry Cockcroft, and his team, made many highly regarded documentaries – three others in the same year as this, including his acclaimed film of Hannah Hauxwell, Too Long a Winter. Two years later he wrote a book about the difficulties of farming in the Dales. The film shows that even those in remote rural areas were being influenced by the fast changing times. The early 1970s, with glam rock and the beginning of disco, were a time of great upheaval for the average teenager – with girls feeling more confident, and boys not knowing how to be when confronted with Noddy Holder and the Spiders from Mars.