Saturday, 13 September 2014

Robin Hood

Today we have another take on the classic legend, this time in the form of a Japanese anime from 1990. A few episodes of this were released on video in the Uk in the early 90's, but I think it aired on Saturday mornings in the US. It's Robin Hood! (aka Robin Hood No Daibouken in Japan)

Robin's home is burned to the ground by the order of Lord Alwine, the Baron of Nottingham. Robin and his cousins flee into Sherwood Forest hoping to escape persecution, and end up encountering a group of bandits led by Little John. Together, Robin and the bandits must stop Lord Alwine's persecutions and greed as well as prevent the greedy Bishop Herfort from adopting Marian Lancaster and obtaining her family's wealth.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Through The Dragon's Eye

Our next show in the series of Look and Read programmes is the much loved Through The Dragon's Eye!

The story was all-out fantasy, with three kids pulled into a mural they'd painted in their playground and asked to help save the dying land of Pelamar by retrieving the missing parts of its mysterious power source, the Veetacore. This involves a lot of trying to read difficult passages, and charging off round the neighbouring country of Widge, inhabited by the horrible furry little Widgets. The children are lead and helped by a flying dragon called Gorwen and a big talking mouse called Rodey (who inherited the arrogance and the voice - Charles Collingwood's - of Wordy). Until they succeed, Pelamar turns increasingly barren and its inhabitants just fade away to nothing. The situation is further complicated by the big baddie Charn, who wants to hijack the Veetacore for his own evil purposes.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dark Towers

Up next in our series of Look and Read programmes, comes the creepy Dark Towers!

An excellent and much-loved programme with a story that's comic, atmospheric and occasionally very scary ("Who comes to the Tall Knight's folly?") involving a young girl called Tracy who chases her dog into the gardens of a strange old house, Dark Towers. She meets the residents, Lord Dark and his son Edward, and becomes involved in a race to find the hidden treasure of Dark Towers. This race also involves three self-styled antique experts who're really searching for the treasure, and the house's two ghosts - the recently deceased Friendly Ghost and the more scary Tall Knight.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Badger Girl

Presenting the second in our small series of Look and Read programmes, here's Badger Girl!

Three city children go on holiday to a country farm and mess about with the wildlife, in particular a wild badger that they find in the farmyard. They stumble across a pair of crooks engaged in pony-rustling, spy on them to see what's going on, then have to come up with a way to stop it. Three grown-ups are also hanging around the moors: a wildlife photographer, a strange old hermit and the farmer's son. The kids have to decide who they can trust, and who has been helping steal the horses.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Boy From Space

Today's show comes from a series of educational programmes called Look and Read that aimed to teach children how to read and spell neatly hidden within gripping dramas, and this is the one that stuck in my mind the most. The Boy From Space!

It told the story of Peep-Peep, a mysterious alien child, who was helped by two children, and kindly local astrologer, Mister Bunting. In an eerie echo of Terminator, Peep-Peep was being relentlessly stalked by an evil alien hunter, and only the children’s quick-witted reading ability could save him.

One of the problems the children faced was that Peep-Peep’s language was different to our own. It turned out, in a dramatic twist, the Peep-Peep was in fact speaking English, only written backwards. A crucial plot point was the discovery that "Pots" was in fact alien for "Stop".

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Let's go and spend some time with the intrepid inventor, Aubrey!

Aubrey is a round orange humanoid character with a bulbous nose. He is also an aspiring inventor. Aubrey creates devices, contraptions and inventions in his garden shed, which he uses to solve his everyday problems. Sadly, his ideas are somewhat mightier than his skills and his poorly constructed designs regularly let him down. But Aubrey is a tenacious chap, which means he
often finds an even better use for his broken endeavours, come the end of each episode. Amongst other things, Aubrey builds a boat, he plays with a fire engine, puts his apple tree to good use and accidentally discovers soap.
There's no narration, instead each calamity plays out to the accompaniment of a blomping synthesised music track...