Goodbye, Mr. Thaw
Harry (John Thaw) hadn't spoken to his daughter for 10 years after falling out, and was unaware that she was living just 6 miles away. But then he is met by the police at his home with bad news as she has died in a car accident. When Harry goes to where she was living to sort out her affairs he is told that he has a granddaughter, Saffron (Dominique Jackson), who has no one else as her father walked out years earlier. Despite not feeling like he is the right person to look after a young child Harry ends up taking Saffron home and despite some initial awkwardness end up becoming close. After a while they decide to take a trip down to London to try and find her estranged father.
As a fan of TV movies I have to say that I have come across similar stories to "Buried Treasure", which is also known as "Hidden Treasure", before both on the small screen and the big screen with Kevin Costner as the grandfather struggling to care for a granddaughter. But the thing is that the emotional power of this storyline, of an old man who is set in his ways bonding with a young child who starts to look up to them is always a good one. In fact John Thaw has sort of been in this sort of movie before with the wonderful "Goodnight, Mister Tom".
What this all means is that "Buried Treasure" has a certain amount of predictability to it as you know a big slice of this movie is all about Harry realising how much Saffron means to him and despite the fact she infuriates him at times wants the best for her even if it isn't obvious to him to start with. It is charming and often mildly amusing such as when Harry decides to let his hair down and make their trip to London a sightseeing one. But for me this is nothing out of the ordinary and just a British take on a story I have seen done before for American audiences.
But what "Buried Treasure" has is John Thaw who was one of Britain's finest TV actors and brings that aged paternal side out of Harry so whilst he is wise he also struggles caring for a grand daughter he knew nothing about. It is that mix of wise, kind, angry but gentle which makes the character of Harry so charming. Plus Thaw works well with Dominique Jackson and there is this sweet chemistry between them.
What this all boils down to is that "Buried Treasure" is a charming, sweet drama which reworks a frequently used story in American TV movies turning it into a British version. Of course there is one other thing worth mentioning and that is this was sadly John Thaw's last acting role before he passed away in the following year and whilst not a great movie it is a good performance.