Look and Read
Look and Read is a BBC schools TV series from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, covering Reading for primary school pupils.
Look and Read is one of the most treasured and well-regarded schools programmes in Britain. Each term it presented a fully dramatised, thrilling adventure story to be followed by children every week from cliff-hanger to cliff-hanger. Pupils could have the story in book form to read themselves, and in between the dramatised story segments on TV grammatical points would be made by characters related to the story and the funny, floating orange man Wordy. The purpose of all of this was to enthrall children with the adventure story to help encourage them to read first the Look and Read story book and then go on to other books and stories. It was not meant for children who could not read, but for those who were reluctant to read because they were not interested.
All of the Look and Read stories over the years are detailed in the pages below, as are the earlier serials shown in the miscellany programme Merry Go Round, which led on to Look and Read.
This section is slowly being rebuilt from my old website which was just about Look and Read. So far there is basic information about every story, and detailed coverage up to The King's Dragon in 1977. The rest will be restored as soon as possible, but in the mean time you can still read the old website on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
The schedules section has records of all previous broadcasts over 40 years!
Here are all the Look and Read stories listed in chronological order.
|Bob and Carol look for treasure|
|Len and the River Mob
|The Boy From Space (1971)
|Joe and the Sheep Rustlers|
A farm-hand tries to prevent two nasty brothers from stealing all the sheep, but comes up against blackmail, kidnapping and lots of secret messages. Joe also presents because, when this story was made, Wordy hadn't even been invented yet.
A lost remote-control plane puts two kids in contact with a scientist working on a secret weapon. Unfortunately, somebody is out to steal the weapon and use it for evil purposes. A rudimentary Wordy (in his first ever appearance) does the teaching alongside the story's author, Richard Carpenter.
|The King's Dragon|
Strange newspaper messages and a very scared archaeologist put a young lad and a newspaper reporter onto a plot to steal a lost golden artefact. The teaching comes from the newspaper office where Wordy lives in one of the pages.
Three children join forces with their elderly friend who runs a junk shop to stop theives from selling a rare peregrine falcon. But can they be completely sure who the real villains are? Wordy and his friend Dave present the teaching from Wordy's Word Workshop.
|The Boy From Space (1980)|
Two children befriend a frightened young alien and try to save him from a scary tall space-man in an old mac. Backwards writing, disappearing cars and a hidden spaceship - this is the classic Look & Read! Wordy presents alongside a squeaky-voiced alien bloke.
Two children search for a lost treasure in order to save an old house being threatened by ruthless antique collectors. They are helped by a friendly ghost and a spooky Tall Knight. Wordy presents the teaching bits from a children's library with the help of the librarian.
A lad tries to help investigate sabotage at a local funfair, but he is faced with unpleasant labourers and strange prophecies. He gets stuck on the ferris wheel, the fair is set on fire, and his young friend suddenly goes missing. Wordy and an artist friend present from just outside the fair.
A London girl goes on holiday to an isolated farm and has to discover which of the strange grown-ups she meets is up to no good, amongst the lakes, tors and churches of Dartmoor. The teaching comes from a wildlife photographer, and Wordy is stuck in a computer.
A pair of children in Newcastle investigate the connection between a series of thefts and the local pigeon racers. The lad's dad gets mixed up in the crimes, but they get help from a local DJ. Wordy joins the DJ in his radio studio to present the teaching bits.
|Through The Dragon's Eye|
Three children, a dragon, a mouse and an orange bloke go on a quest to save a magical land by retrieving the lost pieces of its life force, the Veetacore. A scary skeleton-bird thing wants to acquire the Veetacore for his own evil purposes. This one is all drama, no teaching bits.
|Sky Hunter II|
An alien boy comes to Earth and helps three local kids to combat pollution in their town, while racing to prevent an alien bomb from going off. The teaching is done in a local newspaper office with a thing called Zot instead of Wordy.
|The Legend of the Lost Keys|
|Zzaap and the Word Master|
|Spelling with the Spellits|
Cartoon characters the Spellits give fun tips on spelling, along with memorable comedy sketches and animations.
Taking shelter from a storm in a desolate house, a boy discovers that he can witness a mystery from Victorian times unfold in the screen of his camcorder.
Sources & References
All of the Look and Read pages copy liberally from my old website about the series, www.lookandread.myby.co.uk, formerly www.lookandread.fsnet.co.uk. This is not plagiarism because it is my own content and I am just moving it here.
There is a large amount of 'behind the scenes' information in this section, which is based on private research but not specifically attributed, in accordance with the wishes of my sources.
Schedule data collected from the Radio Times including microform copies published by Chadwyck-Healey, the Times Educational Supplement, BBC Online Schedules, BBC Whatson Schedules (& BBC Backstage), DigiGuide, BBC Annual Programmes for Schools and Colleges, BBC Primary Catalogues and Termly Timetables, and spreadsheets released directly by BBC Learning. Confirmed with reference to the BBC Schools Programme Guide, the BBC Programme Index for 1980, published on microfiche by Chadwyck-Healey, and the free public version of the BBC Programme Catalogue.
Some random programmes for age 7-9 from the 2000s
|BBC Schools TV|
|BBC Schools Radio|
|BBC Schools TV|
|Channel 4 Schools|