Look and Read: Earth Warp

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started11th Jan 1994
ended22nd Mar 1994
last rpt18th May 2007
14 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: Sky Hunter IINext unit: LRTVHierarchyNext.gif

Earth Warp is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Look and Read from the 1990s, covering Language and Reading for primary school pupils.

This page about the Look and Read story Earth Warp is not yet finished.
But you can still read my old web pages about the story at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on this link:
Look and Read.myby.co.uk - Earth Warp

Remember how everyone was all hung up on pollution and stuff in the early 90s? Well here's Look and Read reaction to that - a story involving a funny alien boy coming to Earth and helping some kids from a seaside town to put a stop to the bad pollution coming from an evil factory.

This story somewhat of an epilogue to Weeks-era Look and Read: Charles Collingwood's gone but Derek Griffiths is still around, singing and playing a Wordy-esque "language probe" in the in-between bits, which are set in a local newspaper office. There's still the old song lyrics, but the music has been altered to remove all traces of a tune and the animations have been replaced with live action cartoony sequences: they've even got an actor playing Bill the Brickie!

It's very possible that writer David Angus was a long-term Look and Read fan and purposefully hid references to earlier stories in Earth Warp... For instance, when the children first meet Ollie, a boy from space, he talks in funny beeping noises just like Peep-Peep out of The Boy From Space; the learning bits are based in a newspaper office, as were the learning bits to The King's Dragon; and one episode of the radio spin-off Space Warp revolves around a giant weather computer that could come right out of Cloud Burst (actually it couldn't - there was no weather computer in Cloud Burst, but many people seem to have the impression that there was).

The Story

A hundred years ago an alien race sent a pollution-monitoring probe to the planet Earth. In the present day the probe surfaces from the sea near Southbeach, detects the terrible pollution coming from a nearby chemical factory owned by the local fatcat Mr Belcher, and sends out a distress signal. This calls one of the aliens down to earth to investigate. He is befriended by three local children - Martin, Jenny and Amina - and reveals that Earth's atmosphere makes things from his planet be clumsy (i.e. malfunction), so he keeps falling over and the probe is going to explode and blow Southbeach up. The alien boy talks in strange beeping noises, but is able to translate his speech into English, revealing that his name is Ollie.</

In brief then: Southbeach is suffering from an outbreak of a mystery illness which is turning away clients from Martin's mum's hotel; a national newspaper journalist called Joe Lowin is investigating the illness and hears about the landing of Ollie's spaceship and sets out on his trail; the kids investigate the pollution on the beach resulting in Amina and Belcher's daughter Claire being hospitalised; Ollie has a magic glowing ball thing that he uses to revive Amina and Claire; Lowin persaudes Martin to rat-out Ollie with the promise of money to save the hotel; Martin discovers that business is actually picking up on the back of the UFO trade and repents; Ollie gets away and everybody chases him leading to a final standoff on the beach; Belcher finally realises the harm his factory's done and wrestles with Lowin and the police long enough for Ollie to deactivate the probe; everything's alright again


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. It Came From Outer Space 11 Jan 1994
2. An Uninvited Guest 18 Jan 1994
3. Whoops! 25 Jan 1994
4. Code Name Charley 1 Feb 1994
5. Mystifying Magic 8 Feb 1994
6. Monster Mayhem 22 Feb 1994
7. Doctor Miracle 1 Mar 1994
8. Betrayed 8 Mar 1994
9. Hunt The Alien 15 Mar 1994
10. The Final Countdown 22 Mar 1994

Episode listings from the Radio Times and other official published schedules.

Num Title Broadcast
1. It Came From Outer Space 11 Jan 1994
  Nobody believes Martin when he claims to have seen a spaceship land in the sea at Southbeach, especially his friends Amina or Jenny. But at the dead of night a small creature creeps onto the shore of the little seaside town.
2. An Uninvited Guest 18 Jan 1994
3. Whoops! 25 Jan 1994
  Martin, Amina and Jenny find Ollie the Alien on the beach. He has come from the planet Gia to rescue Southbeach from a terrible fate.
4. Code Name Charley 1 Feb 1994
  The search for Ollie the Alien's malfunctioning space probe 'Charley' continues. Is Mr Belcher's chemical factory causing pollution?
5. Mystifying Magic 8 Feb 1994
  The children have to cover up for Ollie the Alien, who causes all sorts of problems with his special powers.
6. Monster Mayhem 22 Feb 1994
  Mr Belcher's factory continues to pollute the water at Southbeach, and his daughter is taken ill. Is it the fault of the pollution?
7. Doctor Miracle 1 Mar 1994
  Amina and Mr Belcher's daughter are in hospital with a mystery illness - but Ollie the Alien can cure them.
8. Betrayed 8 Mar 1994
  A newspaper discovers Ollie the Alien and scents a scoop. Amina and Jenny blame Martin.
9. Hunt The Alien 15 Mar 1994
  Ollie disappears - to escape the press, but his search for the missing space probe makes him weaker and weaker. Meanwhile, time is running out for Southbeach.
10. The Final Countdown 22 Mar 1994
  Ollie recovers just in time to defuse the probe and save Southbeach.


Starring David Cooper as Martin Rowlands

Rachna Kapur as Amina Patel
Ellie Beavan as Jenny Steel
Helen Martin as Ollie
Caroline Holdaway as Mrs Rowlands
Mark Benton as Chef
Dean Harris as Mr Belcher
Anthony Milner as Joe Lowin
Joanna Wake as Miss Enid Grant
Rhoda Lewis as Mrs MacDonald
Michael Garner as Mr Steel
Stephen Rashbrook as policeman
Anna Bosworth as Claire Belcher
Derek Griffiths as Zot
Zoe Hilson as Sarah Brightly
Roger Ratajczak as Chris Smith

Singers Derek Griffiths

Imelda Staunton

Written by David Angus
Music by Roger Limb
Designer Alan Spalding
Executive producer Frank Flynn
Drama director Peter Rose
Producer Ronald Smedley
Lyrics by Gordon Snell
Zot animation Sheila Dunn of CAL Ltd
Song animation Baxter, Hobbins, Sides Ltd
Reading consultancy and teaching section by Mary Hoffman
Production manager Peter Miller
Production assistant Maggie Elliott
Assistant floor manager Angela Scott
Production secretary Sarah Harrell
Properties buyer Francis Smith
Videotape editors Nick Peto
Mark Wybourn
Make-up designers Jan Musgrove
Carole Bernard
Costume designer Pat Godfrey
Video effects designer Dave Jervis
Visual effects designer Melvyn Friend
Lighting cameraman John Howarth
Sound Richard Manton


Here is a list of all of the broadcasts of this story on the BBC. Unless your teachers managed to get the video recorder to work, this is when you would have seen it in school. See the Schedules section for precise dates and times.

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