Remember when the teacher wheeled in the TV? Oh the joy that you weren’t going to have to do any real work! The best part was that a lot of the programmes we were made to watch, we actually really liked! Here are some of them.
Look and Read
Look and read was first broadcast in 1967 and ran in one form or another until 2004. Wordy above was introduced in 1974! It was designed to improve literacy skills in children and it also included a number of ‘mini series’ that we all loved three of our favourite are next on the list. For the 1974 serial “Cloud Burst”, the new producer Sue Weeks created the character Wordy. A large orange character, vaguely resembling a ‘golfball’ type element from a contemporary typewriter of the age, with letters on his body, the character featured in the teaching section of the programme, introducing himself as Mr. Watchword, or “Wordy” for short. The character, voiced by actor Charles Collingwood, knew all about grammar and words and taught how to use and recognise them. With a high-pitched voice and distinctive appearance the character has since become one of the most remembered aspects of the programme, and last appeared in the 1992 story “Sky Hunter II”.
2. The Boy From Space
Peep-Peep the wierd Alien child who was helped by Dan and Helen! This series scared us half to death when we were kids, i mean, just look at him!
3. Dark Towers
Another scary one! Tracy Edward doing their best to stop Miss Hawk from stealing the treasures of Dark Towers! An excellent theme tune sung by the one and only Derek Griffiths too!
Part One (Dark Towers in Danger!): A loner named Tracey Brown and her dog Towser venture into a garden where Tracey meets Lord Edward Dark, who agrees to help her look for Towser. Tracey’s search leads her into Dark Towers where she meets Edward’s father, Lord Dark. Tracey eventually finds Towser barking at a picture on the wall. The picture comes to life and cries out that the house is in danger, and that the girl (Tracey) will save the house, but Edward and his father do not hear the voice.
Part Two (The Man in the Picture): Tracey and Edward encounter two men, Benger and Bunce, and soon become suspicious of the two. When they follow Towser to the Red Bedroom, they meet the Friendly Ghost, who is the man in the picture that spoke.
Part Three (The Old Legend): The Friendly Ghost tells Tracey and Edward the legend of Dark Towers, of the Tall Knight, his treasure, and gives them this warning: “Beware of Two B’s Buzzing Together. Beware of the Bird with the brown feather”.
Part Four (The Clue in the Book): After the Friendly Ghost disappears, a woman named Miss Hawk walks into the Red Bedroom, and offers to help Tracey and Edward look for the treasure. Tracey and Edward find a clue which tells them to “Go where old wheels go round”.
Part Five (The Old Coach House): Following the clue, Tracey searches the Old Coach House where she discovers Benger and Bunce are crooks, and overhears their plans.
Part Six (The Tall Knight’s Folly): Tracey is literally framed by Benger and Bunce (they stuffed a little gold picture into her pocket at the end of the previous episode), and she is sent away by Lord Dark. Edward finds a torn piece of paper in the Old Coach House. He seeks help from the Friendly Ghost, and learns that Benger and Bunce were the “two B’s” the ghost warned him about. Reading the clue, Edward and the Ghost come to the conclusion that the next clue (“think of a knight so tall, haunting the end of a wall”) is at the Tall Knight’s Folly at the end of the old wall. Edward goes there, and meets the Tall Knight who demands to know “Who comes to the Tall Knight’s Folly?”.
Part Seven (The Dark Tree): Edward asks the Tall Knight for his help, but he says he can’t help unless Tracey and Towser are there, because the old legend involves a boy, a girl, and a dog, and he vanishes. Luckily, Tracey and Towser are still hanging around, and they meet up with Edward after Towser drags her to the folly. The Tall Knight appears again, and instructs them to “go to the old library, and a gold key you will see, inside the inside of the Dark tree”. While trying to crack the Tall Knight’s riddle, Edward realizes that he meant the Dark Family Tree, and they find the final clue, which falls out of the spine of the book. The clue reads: “The knight’s treasure will rest inside the inside of a studded chest”.
Part Eight (Beware of the Bird!): Edward asks his father if they have a studded chest, and he says there is one in the Old Tower. Miss Hawk overhears. Edward looks at the picture of the Friendly Ghost, and the ghost repeats his warning: “Beware of the bird with the brown feather”, adding, “the hawk who hunts treasure”. Edward now knows Miss Hawk is the bird with the brown feather, and rushes off to find Tracey. They head up to the Old Tower, opening the chest with the key that came with the last clue. It’s empty. Benger and Bunce suddenly arrive with Miss Hawk. Bunce puts Tracey in the back of his and Benger’s van, and drives off, but the Tall Knight comes to Tracey’s rescue. (A similar plot later is also in Part Eight of the later Look and Read story Badger Girl, also by Andrew Davies, where the protagonists are taken away in a van)
Part Nine (Who Can Help?): Bunce abandons his van and runs back to Dark Towers. Meanwhile, Miss Hawk has her own ghostly encounter in the Red Bedroom where she is keeping Edward, who now knows Miss Hawk wants the Golden Book of the Tall Knight for herself. The Friendly Ghost appears, and Miss Hawk runs from the Red Bedroom screaming. The baddies all discover the Golden Book of the Tall Knight hidden inside the lid of the studded chest, and the Friendly Ghost tries to summon the Tall Knight.
Part Ten (The Last Laugh): Tracey arrives back at Dark Towers as darkness falls, meaning that the Tall Knight will soon appear. She convinces Lord Dark she is innocent, and he calls the police. Miss Hawk snatches the Golden Book of the Tall Knight and splits as all of Dark Towers plunges into darkness. Benger and Bunce go after her. As Tracey, Towser, Edward, and Lord Dark emerge from Dark Towers, the Tall Knight arrives, and scares the bad guys witless. As Benger, Bunce, and Miss Hawk are arrested, and the darkness lifts, Tracey gives Lord Dark the Golden Book of the Tall Knight. The Tall Knight has vanished, but throughout the house are strange sounds like laughter. The ghosts of Dark Towers are having the last laugh.