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Bernard's Watch
Bernard's Watch original opening.jpg
David Peachey as Bernard in the opening title used throughout the original run of the series (1997-2001)
Created by Andrew Norriss
Directed by David Cobham
Starring David Peachey
Martin Nei
Ruth Hudson
Barry Jackson
Phoebe Allen
Samantha Birch
Ryan Watson
Ezrah Roberts-Grey
Rosie Day
Narrated by Liza Goddard
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 79 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Lewis Rudd
Production company(s) Central Independent Television (Seasons 1-5)
Carlton Television (Season 6)
Granada Yorkshire (Season 7)
Release
Original network ITV Network (CITV)
Original release 1995 (Pilot), 14 November 1997 – 31 March 2005 (2005-03-31)

Bernard's Watch (informally known as Bernard in the final series) is a British children's drama series about a young boy who could stop time with a magical pocket watch. The show was created by Andrew Norriss and was produced for seven series that aired on CITV from 14 November 1997 to 31 March 2005.

Synopsis

Original series (1997-2001)

The first run told of a young boy called Bernard, played by David Peachey, from Oakwood, Nottinghamshire, who was always late, until a postman gave him a "magic watch" which could stop and rewind time. He soon found out that the postman had magical powers, and that these watches were given to people who needed them. The rules of him keeping his watch were that he must not use it to commit crimes or hurt anyone. Every episode focused on Bernard or someone to whom he'd lent the watch facing a problem or simply doing day-to-day things and trying to sort them out, using the watch.

New series (2004-2005)

The second run was significantly different. According to the final opening sequence, the watch simply flew through Bernard's window. The character of the "postman" did not exist, and Bernard seemed to be the only person in the world who had such a watch. His best friend Nathan knew about the watch. This series revolved mainly around Bernard's school, Pentup Primary, where he'd usually get the better of his bullying schoolteacher Ms Yvonne Savage and a popular girl called Nicolette. By this series, David Peachey moved on from his portrayal of Bernard; he has since moved on from a career in acting and was studying art in Venice.

Novel

As well as the TV series, Andrew Norriss also wrote a novel based on the series in 1999. In the context of the novel, Bernard received the watch from an elderly aunt, who had received it from her husband who acquired it from an old friend, although they never knew how the friend had obtained the watch as by the time he passed it on he had suffered a stroke and couldn't speak. Unlike in the TV show where using the watch was harmless, the watch has a subtle side-effect on the user in that it uses up the iron in their blood, requiring regular users to consume iron vitamins on a regular basis, causing Bernard to collapse when he avoids taking the iron-tainted drink provided by his aunt because he didn't like the taste and was unaware of the side-effects of the watch. On a personal note, Bernard is only living with his father, as his mother died before the events of the novel, and Karen is also shown as only having one parent. At the novel's conclusion, the watch is briefly stolen by a woman who once worked as a housekeeper for Bernard's aunt, but she is captured when the watch runs down and she tries to threaten Bernard for the key. Ill at various points throughout the book, Bernard's aunt dies in the penultimate chapter, but her spirit appears to him after her death to tell him that the true purpose of the watch is for 'learning'. In the final chapter, Bernard uses the watch key on a chain his aunt gave him to wind it back up, Bernard and Karen enjoying the restoration of the watch as Bernard concludes that he has time to learn what she meant by that comment.

Main cast

Original series: 1997–2001

  • Narrator - Liza Goddard
  • Bernard Beasley - David Peachey
  • Postman - Jack McKenzie
  • Mr John Beasley - Martin Neil
  • Mrs Jane Beasley - Ruth Hudson
  • Grandad - Barry Jackson
  • Karen Hewitt - Phoebe Allen (series 1–3)
  • Nathan Hewitt - Patrick Ball (series 1–3)
  • Lucy Rownham - Elizabeth Mellor (series 4)
  • Sam Vernon - Samantha Birch (series 5)
  • American Postman - Derek Griffiths (series 4)

New series: 2004–05

  • Bernard Beasley - Ryan Watson
  • Robbie - Nick Baker
  • Nathan - Patrick Ball
  • Nicolette Ashbury - Rosie Day
  • Ms Yvonne Savage - Kay Purcell
  • Mr Steel - Martin Ball

Episodes

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