Look and Read: Geordie Racer

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started12th Jan 1988
ended22nd Mar 1988
last rpt15th Jun 2007
20 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious series: Badger GirlNext series: Through the Dragon's EyeHierarchyNext.gif

Geordie Racer is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Look and Read from the 1980s and 1990s, covering Language and Reading for primary school pupils.

This page about the Look and Read story Geordie Racer 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 - Geordie Racer

Completely contemporary (to 1988) story set in Newcastle about the invigorating amateur sports of marathon running and pigeon racing, and the unsavory world of art theft, and about the Hilton family which manages to get itself embroiled in all three. Spuggy Hilton isn't a Runner like the rest of his family, but is a keen pigeon fancier and owns one of the bonniest birds in NewCAStle. He and his friend Janie observe some suspicious activity, and link a spate of local robberies with obscure messages they find on some of the pigeons, but find they have even more problems when they go to spy on the crooks.

A local radio DJ called Mickey Stone also helped Spuggy in the story and did the Wordy bits from his studio, while Derek Griffiths played a hilarious 'High-Powered DJ' in some of the songs.

The Story

Young Richard Hilton, known as Spuggy, can't be bothered with the Great North Run (a sort of mini marathon thing that the rest of his family are taking part in), preferring to spend time at the local pigeon lofts with his favourite bird, Blue Flash. He meets a pigeon trainer called Baz and spends some time in his lofts, where he gets a look at several secret messages that Baz receives by pigeon. Spuggy and his friend Janie link the messages with a series of robberies that have been taking place. Learning of the next robbery from a message, they go to spy on the robbers and Spuggy is shocked to see that his unemployed dad (Kevin Whately) is working as their driver. When Spuggy eventually talks to his dad about this, he finds that dad didn't know they were actually commiting theft, he just wanted a job.

The final, big robbery is due to take place during the Great North Run, but when Janie discovers the details she is (accidentally) imprisoned by Baz. She gets a message to Spuggy by sending off Blue Flash - who had been lost during a race and discovered by Baz, who planned to keep the bird for himself - with a message. Spuggy is able to summon the police and gets his sister to chase the villains and get their stolen money back. Well, chuck it all over the street anyway.


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Runners and Fliers 12 Jan 1988
2. Down in the Cellars 19 Jan 1988
3. Pigeon Post 26 Jan 1988
4. 'This is Radio Newcastle' 2 Feb 1988
5. Race Day 9 Feb 1988
6. Light of St Mary 16 Feb 1988
7. Lost Bird 1 Mar 1988
8. 'Have You Gone Daft, Man?' 8 Mar 1988
9. 'If Only We Knew When…' 15 Mar 1988
10. Run! 22 Mar 1988

Episode descriptions from the Radio Times.

Num Title Broadcast
1. Runners and Fliers 12 Jan 1988
  The Hilton family is in training for the Great North Run - with the exception of Spuggy. Racing pigeons are Spuggy's great love and he's sure Blue Flash will be a champion
2. Down in the Cellars 19 Jan 1988
  Spuggy has managed to surprise his family with his sponsorship idea. Meanwhile a surprise of a different kind awaits the children in the gloomy cellars of Seaton Delaval Hall.
3. Pigeon Post 26 Jan 1988
  Baz shows Spuggy how he uses his pigeons to carry messages - but is the message Spuggy sees really just 'a racing tip'?
4. 'This is Radio Newcastle' 2 Feb 1988
  Spuggy's interview with Mickey goes well and Blue Flash is sponsored by the time he leaves for the big race.
5. Race Day 9 Feb 1988
  While Spuggy waits for Blue Flash to return from the big race, he puzzles over the message brought by Baz's pigeon. Is Baz up to something? Then Spuggy finds a second message...
6. Light of St Mary 16 Feb 1988
  Spuggy and Janie link the pigeon messages with the recent spate of burglaries and while hot on the trail they make an important discovery - but Spuggy gets a terrible shock...
7. Lost Bird 1 Mar 1988
  Spuggy spends a sleepless night worrying about his dad. Who can he turn to for help? Meanwhile Blue Flash has fallen into the hands of Baz Bailey who has great plans for him...
8. 'Have You Gone Daft, Man?' 8 Mar 1988
  The photographs taken in the cellars give Spuggy and Janie the final proof of Baz's criminal activities, but Dad soon finds that Baz is not easy to outwit.
9. 'If Only We Knew When…' 15 Mar 1988
  The police need more information before they can arrest Baz and Victor. Then, on the day of the Great North Run, Janie visits her dad's ship...
10. Run! 22 Mar 1988
  As the crowd cheer and the Great North Run gets under way, Janie is still trapped on the ship. Will her message about the raid get through? Can the crooks be foiled?


Narrator Michael Heath
Starring Leon Armstrong as Spuggy Hilton

Lien Lu as Janie Chung
Lesley Casey as Cath Hilton
Brian Hogg as Victor
Madelaine Newton as Bev Hilton
Fred Pearson as Baz Bailey
Peter Rowell as Mickey Stone
Kevin Whately as Ray Hilton
Bungo as Plod
Charles Collingwood as Wordy
Katie Hebb as Wordy puppeteer
Rachel Mackay as Bug-Bopper
Mary Edwards as Bug-Bopper puppeteer

Singers Derek Griffiths
Julie Stevens
Colin Marsh
Written by Christopher Russell
Music by Roger Limb
Design Paul Munting
Katia Montillet
Reading consultant Mary Hoffman
Assistant producer David Meldrum
Producer Sue Weeks
Bungo supplied by Pauline Clift
Pigeon advisers Jim Nicholson
Tom Young
Lyrics by Rosanna Hibbert
Gordon Snell
Film animation Richard Taylor
Graphic designer Peter Wane
Costume designer Dennis Brack
Make-up designer Jean Speak
Film cameraman Colin Munn
Film editors Ian McKendrick
David Painter
Sound Bob Roberts
Brian Clark
Studio lighting Chris Townsend
Studio technical co-ordinators Peter Granger
Michael Langley-Evans
CREW 5 {{Credit|Paul Kay|CREW 5}
Videotape editor Steve Knattress
Video effects Dave Jervis
Production manager Michael McDermott
Location manager Terry Wright
Assistant floor managers Angela de Chastelai Smith
Diana Barton
Production assistant Susan Lawton


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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