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Back to the Secret Garden
Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Characters from book)
Joe Wiesenfeld (story)
Directed by Michael Tuchner
Starring Camilla Belle
Joan Plowright
Aled Roberts
Cherie Lunghi
Leigh Lawson
Theme music composer Allyn Ferguson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Nick Gillott
Cinematography Ian Wilson
Editor(s) Keith Palmer
Running time 100 minutes
Distributor Hallmark Entertainment
Original release 2 September 2001 (2001-09-02)

Back to the Secret Garden is a 2001 family fantasy film. Produced for television, the film serves as a sequel to the 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame film, The Secret Garden. It contains some of the previous characters such as Lady Mary and Sir Colin Craven, who are now married, and Martha Sowerby, who is now the mistress of Misselthwaite Manor, which has become an orphanage for children whose parents died in World War II. They had appeared as children in the original story some 40 years earlier, and are now middle aged adults.


In 1946, Lady Mary Craven (Cherie Lunghi) visits an American orphanage, telling the children about an exchange program that will allow one child to travel to England and stay at Misselthwaite Manor, now an orphanage. She meets young Lizzie Buscana (Camilla Belle), who is in the garden trying to take care of her mother's rose bush. Lady Mary tells Lizzie about the exchange program and the secret garden, whereupon Lizzie agrees to participate so she can see the garden for herself.

Lizzie arrives in England and is met at the train station by Martha Sowerby (Joan Plowright), who runs Misselthwaite Manor. Lizzie quickly discovers that the children are only allowed to be in the garden on Sunday after church and must be on their best behaviour and not touch anything.

Making friends with Geraldine, Steven and Robert (Aled Roberts), Lizzie visits the garden after curfew and realizes that she must help it. Returning to the manor Lizzie notices a fire in Robert's room, caused by Robert having fallen asleep with a candle still lit. After alerting everyone and helping put out the fire, she is questioned by Martha as to why she is still dressed and how she knew there was a fire. Lizzie tells Martha about her illicit visit to the garden, and Martha discovers that Lizzie stole the key to the garden. Martha discovers that Geraldine told Lizzie about the key, but Geraldine believes the key should belong to Lizzie, and that the garden has chosen her, instead of Martha, who could not find the door.

Geraldine (Florence Hoath), who is jealous of Lizzie, learns that Ms. Sowerby gave the key to Lizzie, and persuades Steven to steal it in revenge for Lizzie's rejection of his feelings. When Lizzie finds the key missing, she assumes that Robert has taken it, knowing of his animosity towards her. She goes to find the key with Robert and discovers that it was Steven (Justin Girdler) who took it, on Geraldine's instructions, and threw the key in the pond. Lizzie confronts Geraldine, who initially denies it, but confesses when Martha punishes her for being a liar.

Lizzie is told that maybe she does not need the key, because of the magic door. When Martha goes to meet Lady Mary, who has returned to Misselthwaite, she tells Mary of the garden's untended state, even though it has been well-tended in her absence. Lizzie realises that the garden has been starved of children's love and fun; with the help of Robert she gathers the orphans, who run to the quickly-reviving garden.

Lady Mary and Sir Colin (Leigh Lawson) arrive with Martha and are amazed, as the garden does not look dead as Martha had described. Lizzie tells Lady Mary that the garden needed love and that she should not have it closed. Lady Mary informs Lizzie that the garden belongs to her, and that it took "a girl from across the sea, many years ago" to bring the garden back to life, and that it has taken a girl from across the sea to do it again, and that it is up to her to do as she wishes with the garden. Lizzie announces that the garden will stay open so that all the children can enjoy it.


  • Camilla Belle as Lizzie Buscana
  • Aled Roberts as Robert
  • Florence Hoath as Geraldine
  • Justin Girdler as Steven
  • Joan Plowright as Martha Sowerby
  • George Baker as Will Weatherstaff
  • Cherie Lunghi as Lady Mary Craven
  • Leigh Lawson as Sir Colin Craven
  • David Warner as Dr. Snodgrass
  • Danielle McCormack as Penelope
  • Liza Ross as Sister Mary
  • Lisa Martin as Doris
  • Sheila Steafel as Miss Chillblaine
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