I watched this as avidly a child, both gripped and appalled from the scary music and credits onwards. Much of it resembles a well-acted panto, but there are enough stabbings, witches, hallucinations, poisonings, mad bats and dancing skeletons to make each twenty five minute episode fly by. The aforementioned second Doctor has a particularly good time as Nascar, the extravagantly made up High Priest, who will happily kill anybody who dares to threaten the supremacy of his bloodthirsty God.
Despite the polystyrene pillars and painted scenery, there’s an energy and realism about the show, perhaps because it has some proper actors in it who take it seriously, and because it presents a rounded view of what is often simply dismissed as a somewhat savage civilisation. For the most part, the protagonists want stability and peace, and the apparent demands of their God (human sacrifice, mainly) are viewed as an unpleasant but necessary evil. It is never made explicit whether Nascar is a religious fanatic or a power crazed lunatic, but then it isn’t always very clear, is it?
Here’s the opening credits which, even now, cause minor vibrations along my skeleton. The haunted house theme is by David Fanshawe, of ‘African Sanctus’ fame, and I've decided I'm going to have it as my new ring tone.