Capricorn Game is a BBC schools TV series from the 1980s, covering special educational needs for primary school pupils.
A pioneering series designed to support children with learning disabilities and special educational needs, promoting thinking skills such as decision making, sequencing and telling the difference between things. They draw pupils' attention with tunes, rhymes and an intriguing story, delivered in a completely straight-forward, and straight-faced, way.
The first six programmes do this through a drama serial, showing an animated magician called Mr Capricorn influencing some real people on a quest to mend an umbrella. The final two programmes present games and songs based on simple maths, presented in the studio but linked to the serial by the appearance of Mr Capricorn, this time as a life-sized puppet.
The series was supported by a radio series intended for teachers which also included follow-up material for use with children. This was called Capricorn Club, and the idea that pupils following the programmes were part of a club and joining in with the characters, presenters and children seen on screen was promoted throughout, but in the Maths Games programmes in particular.
In the drama serial, written by future Doctor Who writers Pip & Jane Baker, kindly but rather scatter-brained and untidy magician Mr Capricorn comes across a discarded umbrella, with a goat's head carved into its handle, which has ripped and needs a new cover. To help mend the umbrella he draws it to the attention of a pair of school workers, Linda and Fred, attaching a label with inviting them, the number to ring if you find me, is 1 1 2 2 1 2 3.
He then leads Linda and Fred on a trail around towns, motorway service stations and garages in their school minibus, using public telephone boxes to set tasks and games, and promising a prize if they deliver the umbrella. He calls this hunt the Capricorn game.
There are various setbacks to overcome as the umbrella is thrown away, a map is lost, the minibus breaks down, and the umbrella repair shop that Mr Capricorn was sending them too turns out to have closed down.
Along the way Mr Capricorn plays various games with the umbrella and sets challenges for Linda and Fred, involving finding the odd one out or identifying sequences. And he frequently sings a ditty about himself
The final two episodes of the series present a series of games and songs based on mathematics. The magician Mr Capricorn, now appearing as a large puppet, appears to "invent" the games and hand them over to presenters Carole Harrison and David Parfitt in a TV studio.
In the first programme, children in the studio play a card game called clue pelmanism, a memory game in which they have to match pictures of a sum with the mathematical symbols for that sum. The presenters also play a game of musical hats, count live chickens, sing a song about pairs, and build two towers to demonstrate that one is bigger than the other.
In the second programme the games and songs are about place value.
|Capricorn Game drama serial|
|1.||Part 1||5 May 1981|
|2.||Part 2||12 May 1981|
|3.||Part 3||19 May 1981|
|4.||Part 4||2 Jun 1981|
|5.||Part 5||9 Jun 1981|
|6.||Part 6||16 Jun 1981|
|7.||Maths Games 1||23 Jun 1981|
|8.||Maths Games 2||30 Jun 1981|
|1980-81||Summer 1981||Tue||09:58||BBC1||5 May to 30 Jun|
|Fri||10:15||BBC1||8 May to 3 Jul||Repeat|
|1981-82||Summer 1982||Tue||09:53||BBC1||27 Apr to 22 Jun|
|Fri||11:22||BBC1||30 Apr to 25 Jun||Repeat
|1982-83||Summer 1983||Tue||09:53||BBC1||26 Apr to 21 Jun|
|Fri||11:00||BBC1||29 Apr to 24 Jun||Repeat
|1983-84||Summer 1984||Mon||11:23||BBC2||14 May to 2 Jul|
|Thu||09:52||BBC2||17 May to 5 Jul||Repeat|
|Starring||Maurice Denham as Mr Capricorn|
|With||Pat Gorman as the umbrella owner (episode 1)|
|Maths Games Presented by||Carole Harrison|
|Assistant floor manager||Michael Darbon|
|Production assistant||Vivienne Steele|
|Sound recordist||Arthur Chesterman|
|Film cameraman||Brian Hall|
|Model maker||Alan Platt|
|Film editor||Neil Thomson|
|Drama serial written by||Pip & Jane Baker|
|Drama serial directed by||Vivienne Cozens|
|Executive producer||Claire Chovil|
|Maths Games Producer||Rosanna Hibbert|
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Some random programmes for age 7-9 from the 1980s
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