Ponies, ponies, ponies


Black Beauty Annuals 1972-1985

Black Beauty Annuals were a dream of bliss for anyone who ever loved the television series. The first book, The Adventures of Black Beauty, is a collection of stories rather than an actual annual, and features the girl I wanted to be, Vicky, played by Judi Bowker. She was tall, beautiful and blonde, and she had the most amazing black horse. I was none of those things, and I had no horse, but I dreamed, and the first notes of the theme music spirit me straight back to being a gawky, horse-obsessed ten year old.

Judi Bowker was replaced by Stacey Dorning, who played Jenny, and who is shown on the covers of the annuals from 1974-1977. The last two annuals (1980 and 1985) no longer showed photos of the cast on the covers. I have never actually had my hands on either of them, so don’t know if they sprang from the television series, or whether they were simply based on the original book. The television series itself was billed as a continuation of Anna Sewell’s book, rather than as being taken from it, which gave its creators scope to transform Black Beauty into a sort of late Victorian wonder horse.

Links and sources

The theme music - because you now have to listen to it

Richard Carpenter’s novelisastion of the series

And a link to Cressida’s Pinterest board for all things Black Beauty: stills, models, View Master (remember them)....

Many thanks to Cressida for all her help with the photographs.

The Adventures of Black Beauty

Hamlyn, London, 1972

This annual contains the following stories:

The Fugitive
The Horse Healer
The Pit-Pony
Day of Reckoning


Black Beauty Annual 1975

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1974

This annual contained features on horses, puzzles, and stories. These included:

The Tinkers’ Curse

The Runaways


The Long Week

The Visitor

Smile, Please

Who’s in the Well?

Black Beauty Annual 1976

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1975

The usual mixture: articles, puzzles and stories:

Five for Silver

Harvest Home
Into the Night

Excitement on Market Day

Beauty to the Rescue


Snakes and Scarabs

Black Beauty Annual 1977

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1976

This annual was larger in format than the preceding issues, and was longer, weighing in
at 80 pages rather than 60 odd. The contents remained the usual mixture: articles,
puzzles and stories, with many more factual articles added to the mix.

Stranger from the Past

Night Ride

The Amber Ring

Beauty in Training

The Hoard

Albert’s Disastrous Day


The Story of Ruth

Black Beauty Annual 1978

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1977

The usual mixture: articles, puzzles and comic strip stories.

Black Beauty Annual 1979

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1978

The usual mixture: articles, puzzles and comic strip stories.

Black Beauty Annual 1980

World Distributors Ltd, Manchester, 1979

The usual mixture: articles, puzzles and comic strip stories.

Black Beauty Annual 1985

Opal Quill, 1985

The usual mixture: articles, puzzles and comic strip stories.