David Robinson decides that his children hould continue their formal education as best as they can manage for as long they are marooned. Even Billy, who has never gone to school, is to be taught how to read and write by Emily.

Ernst tells his mother that his birthday is in two days and she is deeply shocked because she would not have known without him telling her. To make up for it she plans to make it a very special day for her son.

Emily is teaching Christina and Billy. She has not much patience for Billy's slow learning which leaves him quite frustrated.

After running out of sugar David, Joanna and Ernst go into the forest to look for honey. On their way they discover an imprint on the ground like a human hand only much bigger and wonder about it. Eventually they discover a beehive on a tree. They smoke the bees out and manage to extract the honey without being stung.

Parsons and Ben, who is not happy about his life with Parsons, once again row over to the Robinson's island. They sneak up to the vicinity of the treehouse and make camp near it, hidden in the forest. While Ben is away to find something to eat Parsons attempts to kidnap Christina while she is alone in the animal enclosure. The girl can escape him but she drops the big black pearl she had been playing with. Parsons finds it.

When David and his two elder children return to the treehouse with the honey they are told that Parsons is back. David and Ernst immediately start to search the area around the treehouse but they find no one.

Parsons also gets an unpleasant surprise. Instead of Ben returning, a big black gorilla suddenly shows up behind him. Parsons is shocked to the bone and attacks the animal with a sharpened stick. The gorilla is injured and retreats. When Ben finally does return Parsons tells him about the animal and about the black pearl. Parsons believes that the pearl proves that the Robinsons have a treasure and he wants it.

The Robinsons are on their guard and keep looking for a sail on the horizon, still hoping for rescue. Due to the recent events Elisabeth is on the edge and takes some of it out on Billy who is already unhappy and frustrated with his lessons and Christina's teasing.

That night Billy finally had enough and he decides to leave. He quietly packs his things and slips from the treehouse and past Ernst who is standing watch. During the night the gorillas roaring echoes through the forest and can be heard at the treehouse. At midnight David relieves Ernst from watch duty. Ernst decides to check on Christina and Billy and finds that the boy is gone with all of his belongings. Everyone blames him- or herself for being unkind to him and not seeing his unhappiness. Immediately David and Ernst take Bruno into the forest to look for Billy. Their leaving is watched by Parsons and Ben.

Joanna takes over the watch. When she hears something she calls for her mother who comes down. Meanwhile Parsons sneaks up to the treehouse from the other side and grabs Christina. He demands that they hand over the treasure. When he finds that they have none he demands that David gives himself up for his youngest daughter as soon as he comes back. Then Parsons takes Christina with him as a hostage. Ben, who is not happy about the abduction, follows him reluctantly. Helplessly, Elisabeth and Joanna must watch how Christina is carried away.

At dawn, after getting up from sleeping under a dry palm leave, Billy encounters the gorilla and flees deeper into the forest. David and Ernst have also rested a few hours. They hope that Bruno will find Billy for them.

Meanwhile Parsons and Ben find out that Christina has a strong will. She can convince them to cut her loose in order to start a fire and cook breakfast for all of them. Later that day Parsons sends Ben over the Robinsons to tell them to light the beacon when they are ready for the exchange. No one is home when Ben arrives so he leaves a note.

While running through the forest Billy steps into a small mud hole and his leg sinks in up to his knee. He manages to free himself and continue on, not noticing that something has bitten him. Searching for Billy, David later also steps into the same mud hole and is bitten as well. Rain starts to fall and Bruno looses the scent. Billy finds shelter in a cave. By now he is suffering from a fever caused by the bite. Reluctantly, David and Ernst start going back to the treehouse without Billy. Upon their return they find out what has happened to Christina and that Parsons has also cut the ropes that held together their raft.

David, Ernst, Joanna and Elisabeth are tying the raft back together again, when David suddenly faints. He suffers from a high fever. Ernst discovers the swollen insect bite on his father's leg.

The gorilla enters the cave that Billy has taken refuge in. The animal is trying to recover from the wounds that Parsons has inflicted to it and eats a certain kind of leaves. After being initially scared Billy starts to trust the gorilla and shares his cave, water and the leaves with it. Eventually, Billy recovers.

David's condition is worsening. Nothing Elisabeth tries to heal him seems to have any effect at all. As a last resort they want to cut the wound and get the poison out. Surprisingly Emily offers her help with that. When Joanna goes to Emily to thank her, she discovers that the Chinese girl has precious jewels hidden in her room. Joanna is very upset that Emily has kept the jewels when they could have saved Christina from being taken by Parsons. Ernst hears her scoldings and when he finds out what is going on he tries to take the jewels from Emily by force when she is unwilling to give them up. Emily however protests that her jewels are her dowry and that she cannot part with them. Elisabeth decides that taking what is not freely given is stealing and leaves the matter up to Emily's conscience.

Meanwhile Parsons gets impatient. Christina's presence is getting on his nerves. During one night Christina manages to free herself from her bonds while Parsons and Ben are sleeping. Early in the morning Parsons sends Ben again over to the Robinsons as they have not heard from them yet. Parsons goes back to sleep and Christina quietly slips away.

Billy awakes in the embrace of the gorilla who dies shortly afterwards. Billy covers it with twigs and leaves the cave, having decided to return to the Robinsons.

Emily a offers her jewels as a bargain and Elisabeth is grateful to her. Ernst doubts that Emily's motives were selfless. David's condition has still not improved. Being at their wits end and still not having heard from Parsons - they never found the note Ben had left - they send Bruno with a message in a bottle around his neck over to Parsons. Christina finds the dog that lies exhausted on the beach and Parsons finds them both.

Upon his arrival at the treehouse Billy sees Ben and drives him away. Joanna, Elisabeth, Ernst and Emily are relieved to find Billy save and sound. He tells them what has happened to him while he was away. They ask him about the leaves, He finds some for them so they can at last concoct a working medicine for David.

Finally David is recovering. Ernst has been on the lookout for Parsons and when he reports that he, Ben and Christina are approaching David gets out of bed. They meet at the beach. Ernst hands over a small box to Parsons. But instead of treasure a swarm of angry bees meets Parsons when he opens the lid. Parsons and Ben start running away. The Robinsons are all reunited and recovered which in Ernst's opinion is the best birthday present he could get.

Ernst's Journal

Since we have been shipwrecked I've been keeping a daily journal of life and our adventures on our tropical island home. The mysterious Emily Chen continues to cling to the hope that she will be rescued by her fiancé, Kwang-Sen. Mother and father seem to be coping well and rediscovering life as well as each other. My sister Christina has found a true friend in the cabin boy Billy. I often wonder what our family and friends back home in Boston - which feels like a million miles away - would make of our life as castaways. No doubt the notion of being marooned in such a paradise would be romantic. We have all lost our concept of time. For the days and weeks have passed quickly with our daily routine of chores. Trying somehow to survive alone on a desert island against the forces of Mother Nature at times brings great joy. Other times great dangers.

Christina, Billy, Bruno and Mr Beak have found other ways of passing the time. Likewise Emily. Joanna has become adept with a bow and arrow. This, however, offered no protection against an unusual adventure which began quite innocuously when father made an announcement one evening over a makeshift dinner.

The day did indeed prove to be special. But not quite the way mother - or any of us - could have ever imagined.

While Billy, Christina and Bruno struggled with their lessons, father, Joanna and I tried somehow to make sense of an ominous discovery which was far removed from a beehive.

While father and I went to search the immediate area few could have foreseen that someone or something was waiting and watching. And also had the eyes set firmly on the unsuspecting Parsons. Who was patiently waiting for the return of his reluctant accomplice Ben.

We had no way of knowing that Parsons and Ben had set up their camp so near the treehouse compound. So we kept up our guard and tried to return to life as normal, searching the horizon for any sign of a sail. The only sign we noticed, however, was mother becoming increasingly tense and on edge as a result of the recent events.

Like Ben the animal's howling made me feel uneasy. And I decided to check on Christina and Billy when I made the awful discovery.

As dawn broke father and I were unaware that Christina was in such grave danger. Our only concern was to continue our search to find Billy.

Billy was clearly suffering from a fever having been infected by some kind of bite. Which was unbeknown to all at that point in time. Parsons meanwhile was also unexpectedly suffering from being exposed to the strong will and stubbornness of my little sister Christina.

While father lay dangerously ill Billy had made a surprising recovery. His fear of the creature with whom he was sharing the refuge was replaced with a fascination and intrigue as the creature also desperately tried to recover from the wounds inflicted on him by Parsons. Meanwhile our conventional remedy for father left us all with a feeling of foreboding.

Emily's gesture took us all by surprise. Though I couldn't help but feel that there was an element of selfishness in her attempt to clearing her conscience. Our prime concern, however, was for father. And for rescuing our beloved Christina who had escaped the bonds of Parsons but was now imprisoned on Parsons' outer island.

The dear Lord had answered our prayers with father making a full recovery. Now all we had to do was ensure that Christina was returned safely to us. And I searched the horizon for any sign of Parsons. As always, Bruno hadn't let us down and had successfully delivered our message.

With the love and support of my family, the full recovery of father and a safe return of Billy and Christina this is one birthday and adventure I'm sure I will never forget. Along with the bravery of Bruno, of course. And I'm sure Billy will never forget his alphabet.

© Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment & CLT-UFA International


Original US Airdate: 20 - 22, September 1998
(each 75 minute episode was devided into 3 parts)

Screenplay by Harry Duffin
Directed by Declan Eames

Guest Cast:
Sam Husson (Gorilla)


Swiss Family Robinson
German Site
Kieren Hutchison