Look and Read: Sky Hunter

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started19th Sep 1978
ended28th Nov 1978
last rpt8th Jun 2007
29 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious story: The King's DragonNext story: The Boy From Space (1980)HierarchyNext.gif

Sky Hunter is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Look and Read from the 1970s and 1980s, covering Language and Reading for primary school pupils.

This page about the Look and Read story Sky Hunter 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 - Sky Hunter

A classic 1970s story which, like The Boy From Space, was brought back and updated years later. This page is about the original version Sky Hunter, and there is another about Sky Hunter II.

The plot was Leonard Kingston's third and final for the series, about the illicit trade in rare birds and their eggs, and a whole load of suspicious looking grown-ups - but which are the evil bird thieves, and which are trying to stop the thieves and save the birds?

The teaching bits were all made at BBC Bristol, where Wordy was based, in the rather strange setting of "Wordy's Word Workshop", full of massive books including a huge prop of the pupil's pamphlet, which for some reason was coloured green where the real printed ones were blue. His co-presenter was a moustached version of schools TV stalwart Michael Maynard, off of Scene, English File, You and Me and probably loads of other things too.

The Story

Three kids - Jackie, Butch and Trevor - holiday on a boat on the Regent's Canal in London. They spot a peregrine falcon (which was a rare bird at the time) flying about and also meet a pair of daft crooks who're trying to nab it. They confide in their friend Mr Trim, who runs a local junk shop, and together they go to investigate. Unfortunately Trim turns out to be the mastermind behind the illegal bird trade in the area, and he joins in the falcon plot with the others - a butch bloke called Badger and a woman called Cat Mary. The only threat to their plan is another dodgy-looking bloke, whom the children dub The Birdman because they reckon he's the thief.

The Birdman is keeping the real villains' house under observation, so Trim and co inveigle the kids into sending a coded telegram to Trim's buyer. The kids crack the code and realise what's going on, but when they go to check out Trim's shop Jackie is caught. The Birdman helps the two lads get away, and reveals himself to actually be an RSPB Investigator on the trail of Badger, Mary and Trim. Butch and Trevor find a secret message from Jackie and set off towards London Zoo, where the crooks are planning to steal another falcon since theirs escaped. They beat up Mr Trim, who repents and promises to help them catch the other crooks. It looks like he's really betrayed the kids but he comes through in the end, the crooks are arrested - including Trim - and Jackie is rescued.


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Strangers on the Canal 19 Sep 1978
2. For Sale 26 Sep 1978
3. The Birdman 3 Oct 1978
4. Are They Crooks? 10 Oct 1978
5. The Welsh Telegram 17 Oct 1978
6. Proof at Last! 24 Oct 1978
7. A Friend in Need 7 Nov 1978
8. Where's Jackie? 14 Nov 1978
9. Who Can Be Trusted? 21 Nov 1978
10. Back to the Wild 28 Nov 1978

Episode descriptions from the Radio Times.

Num Title Broadcast
1. Strangers on the Canal 19 Sep 1978
  Why was the strange, beautiful bird flying above London's canal, and why were the two bad-tempered strangers so interested in it? Jackie, Butch and Trevor get involved in a mystery.
2. For Sale 26 Sep 1978
  Why is a grim-looking young man so interested in Mr Trim's For Sale card?
3. The Birdman 3 Oct 1978
  When the children tell him, Mr Trim wants to know more about the strange bird. But so does the Birdman.
4. Are They Crooks? 10 Oct 1978
  The children watch brave Mr Trim knock on the door of the crooks' house. Is he in danger?
5. The Welsh Telegram 17 Oct 1978
  Why is Mr Trim so friendly with these crooks? What is strange about the Welsh telegram?
6. Proof at Last! 24 Oct 1978
  The children find Mr Trim's shop empty. Upstairs, they discover a room they've never seen before. What's inside?
7. A Friend in Need 7 Nov 1978
  The crooks chase the children. Someone gets caught. And who really is the Birdman?
8. Where's Jackie? 14 Nov 1978
  The boys set out to find Jackie - but get into danger themselves.
9. Who Can Be Trusted? 21 Nov 1978
  Can the children make Mr Trim tell them where the crooks have gone to steal another peregrine falcon?
10. Back to the Wild 28 Nov 1978
  The children are trapped in the zoo. Has Mr Trim tricked them again?


Narrated by Nigel Anthony
Starring Geoffrey Bayldon as Mr (Charles) Trim

Jayne Tottman as Jackie Blake
Luke Batchelor as Butch
Donald Waugh as Trevor
Isobil Nisbet as as 'Cat' Mary MacBride
Emma Jean Richards as Sharon Blake
Mike Savage as Bert Badger
Lennox Greaves as Tom Roberts, the Birdman
Charles Collingwood as Wordy
Michael Maynard as Dave

Singers Derek Griffiths
Dave Royal
Julie Stevens
Written by Leonard Kingston
Music by Roger Limb
Designers John Bone
Colin Green
Reading consultant Mary Hoffman
Producer Roger Tonge
Costume Dennis Brack
Make-up Ann Pollard
Graphic designer Peter Jones
Film animation Richard Taylor
Film cameraman Colin Munn
Film recordist Bob Roberts
Film editor John Lyle
Additional material Jean Kenward
Michael Maynard
Production assistants Pat Farrington
Pauline Seager


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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