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When Tom Long's brother Peter gets measles, Tom is sent to stay with his Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen. They live in an upstairs flat of a big house with no garden, only a tiny yard for parking. The elderly and reclusive landlady, Mrs. Bartholomew, lives above them. Because Tom may be infectious, he is not allowed out to play, and he feels lonely. Without exercise he is less sleepy, and awake after midnight, when he hears the communal grandfather clock strangely strike 13. He gets up to investigate and discovers that the back door now opens on a large sunlit garden. Every night the clock strikes 13 and Tom returns to the Victorian era grounds. There he meets another lonely child, a younger girl called Hatty, and they become inseparable playmates. Tom sees the family and the gardener occasionally, but only Hatty sees him and the others believe she plays alone. Tom writes daily accounts to his brother Peter, who follows the adventures during his recovery — and afterward, for Tom contrives to extend the stay with Aunt and Uncle. Gradually at first, Hatty catches up to Tom's age and passes him; he comes to realise that he is slipping to different points in the past. Finally she grows up at a faster rate, until she and Barty are courting and the old garden tend to be in winter. On the final night before Tom is due to go home, he goes downstairs to find the garden is not there. He desperately tries to run around and find it, but crashes into a set of bins from the present day courtyard, waking up several residents. He shouts Hatty's name in disappointment, before his Uncle Alan finds him and puts the events down to Tom sleepwalking. The following morning, Mrs. Bartholomew summons Tom to apologise, only to reveal herself as Hatty, having made the link when she heard him call her name. The events Tom experienced were real in Hatty's past; he has stepped into them by going into the garden at the times she dreamt of them. On the final night, she had instead been dreaming of her wedding with Barty. Whilst taking Tom home, Aunt Gwen comments on the strange hug that Tom had given Mrs. Bartholomew when he left- it was like he was hugging a little girl.
Intentions and Audience
- Adapting the Midnight Garden into a digital set for animation - Aimed for 10-16 year old audience
Concepts: Initial Thumbnails