Look and Read: Fair Ground!

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started11th Jan 1983
ended22nd Mar 1983
last rpt9th Feb 2007
25 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious series: Dark TowersNext series: Badger GirlHierarchyNext.gif

Fair Ground! is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Look and Read from the 1980s, covering Language and Reading for primary school pupils.

This page about the Look and Read story Fair Ground! 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 - Fair Ground!

Screenwriter Christopher Russell's very first TV work is all about strange disturbances and crimes that take place around a travelling fair. Young Ozzie finds that there are lots of people interested in what happens at the fair - he and his mum, a smart local businessman, some grumpy old folk from the town, the hired hands from the fairground, as well as the fair owner and his daughter. One or more of them must be behind the sabotage - but which ones?

The learning bits featured (an actor playing) Martin Salisbury, who illustrated the pupil's book, in his artist's workshop just outside Thurston's Fair. Wordy spent most of his time bickering with a little mouse - also played by Charles Collingwood and Katie Hebb - that was infesting Salisbury's workshop despite his efforts to get rid of it, and the songs were given a fairground theme.

The Story

Ozzie Watson enjoys visiting the travelling fair that sets up in his town during the Easter holidays. A couple of local stuffy old people, Mr Grant and Mrs Leach, do not enjoy it and start up a petition to get it to stop coming to the town. Ozzie's mum runs the local sweet shop, where the Watsons live, and also the field where the fair sets up. A local businessman called Mr Turnbull wants to buy the field off her, but she refuses because it's the only place the fair can go and if she sold it the fair wouldn't come back. But Turnbull seems pleasant enough about it and even gives Ozzie some cash. When the fair's owner, Bert Thurston, turns up with his daughter Rachel and her parrot, Captain Cutlass, Ozzie goes along to watch them setting up the fair.

The Thurstons get a brick through their caravan window telling them to clear off and in the middle of the night someone pays off all the fair's labourers and tips up the rubbish bins. Bert is left with no 'hired hands' and has to employ two dodgy-looking blokes - Steve and Sidney - who turn up unexpectedly next morning. While he's clearing up the rubbish Ozzie discovers an envelope which contained the cash for getting rid of the labourers, addressed to "S and S" and with a bull logo on it. Then there's a set of strange incidents: on the fair's first night the power suddenly goes out, trapping Ozzie on the top of the big wheel for a bit; Rachel is kidnapped and all the sweets are stolen from the Watsons' shop.

Ozzie sees the bull logo from the envelope on Mr Turnbull's business card and goes to suss out his offices. He discovers Rachel locked in an office, along with all his mum's sweets, and they run back to the fair. At the fair Steve accidentally reveals his involvement in Rachel's kidnapping so Bert sticks him and Sidney on the big wheel until they disclose that they were hired by Turnbull. The villains are all arrested, the petition is torn up by Grant and Leach and everybody has a nice ride on the merry-go-round.


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Trouble in the Tea-Leaves 11 Jan 1983
2. Comings and Goings 18 Jan 1983
3. Hired Hands 25 Jan 1983
4. In The Dark 1 Feb 1983
5. Come To The Fair! 8 Feb 1983
6. Where Is Rachel? 15 Feb 1983
7. Ozzie Thinks Again 1 Mar 1983
8. A Piece of Cake! 8 Mar 1983
9. Talk or Ride… 15 Mar 1983
10. Mixed Fortunes 22 Mar 1983

Episode descriptions from the Radio Times.

Num Title Broadcast
1. Trouble in the Tea-Leaves 11 Jan 1983
  The Easter fair comes to town and Ozzie Watson is thrilled, but some people don't share his enthusiasm.
2. Comings and Goings 18 Jan 1983
  Is someone out to give the fair a bad name? Ozzie gets suspicious.
3. Hired Hands 25 Jan 1983
  Bert has to take on two new men in a hurry. They seem to be good workers - but Rachel is uneasy.
4. In The Dark 1 Feb 1983
  The fair opens on time, but Mr Turnbull is still hoping to buy the field. Then, disaster strikes...
5. Come To The Fair! 8 Feb 1983
  Bert is determined to stay in business, but Steve and Sidney have other plans.
6. Where Is Rachel? 15 Feb 1983
  Ozzie and his mum have a great time at the fair... until they find out that Rachel has disappeared. Then a nasty surprise awaits them on their return home.
7. Ozzie Thinks Again 1 Mar 1983
  Ozzie becomes convinced that Mr Turnbull is behind all the trouble - but Bert will not listen to him.
8. A Piece of Cake! 8 Mar 1983
  Captain Cutlass gives Ozzie a vital clue - but will he find Rachel?
9. Talk or Ride… 15 Mar 1983
  As the extent of Mr Turnbull's villainy is revealed, Ozzie rescues Rachel and Captain Cutlass takes a hand.
10. Mixed Fortunes 22 Mar 1983
  As the big wheel turns and the gallopers spin round, the petition is torn up and the fair's future seems assured.


Narrated by Sean Barrett
Starring Judy Cornwell as Jean Watson (mum)

Percy Herbert as Bert Thurston
Bruce Montague as Mr Turnbull
Lynne Pearson as Rachel Thurston
Paul Russell as Ozzie Watson
George Sweeney as Steve
Iain Ormsby-Knox as Sidney
Elizabeth Morgan as Mrs Leach
Kenneth Waller as Mr Grant
Percy Edwards as Captain Cutlass voice
Wayne Laryea as Martin
Charles Collingwood as Wordy and Mouse voices
Katie Hebb as Wordy and Mouse puppeteer
with Jack as Captain Cutlass
and Rosie as Sherry

Singers Derek Griffiths
Julie Stevens
Written by Christopher Russell
Music by Roger Limb
Designers Chris Robilliard
Colin Blaymires
Reading consultant Mary Hoffman
Assistant producer Rosanna Hibbert
Producer Sue Weeks
Lyrics by Rosanna Hibbert
Gordon Snell
Jack trained by Pauline Clift
Fairground advisors The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain
Ian Starsmore
Film animation Richard Taylor
Roger McIntosh
Graphic designer Anne Smith
Videotape editor Graham Taylor
Sound Rodney Lewis
Lance Andrews
Keith Gunn
Alan Stokes
Lighting Derek Fawley
Duncan Brown
Production unit manager Robert Checksfield
Production assistants Jane Leonardi
Elaine Harries

Thanks to James Taylor-Goddard for helping me finally get the character identification right.

Who was in which episodes:

	  C A S T   D E T A I L S

starring                             EPISODES
JUDY CORNWELL                 1 2   4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PERCY HERBERT                 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
BRUCE MONTAGUE                1 2   4     7 8 9 10
ELIZABETH MORGAN              1 2   4     7 8   10
IAIN ORMSBY-KNOX              1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
LYNNE PEARSON                 1 2 3 4 5 6   8 9 10
PAUL RUSSELL                  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
GEORGE SWEENEY                1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
KENNETH WALLER                1 2 3 4   6 7 8 9 10
PERCY EDWARDS                 1 2 3 4 5 6   8 9 10
SEAN BARRETT                  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CHARLES COLLINGWOOD           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
KATIE HEBB                    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
WAYNE LARYEA                  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
DEREK GRIFFITHS               1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
JULIE STEVENS                 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
with Jack                     1 2 3 4   6 7
and Rosie                     1 2 3 4   6 7


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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