Look and Read: Spywatch

From Broadcast for Schools.co.uk.co.uk
Jump to: navigation, search
started15th Jan 1996
ended25th Mar 1996
last rpt29th Mar 2007
12 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: LRTVNext unit: Captain CrimsonHierarchyNext.gif

Spywatch is a unit of the BBC schools TV series Look and Read from the 1990s and 2000s, covering Language and Reading for primary school pupils.

This page about the Look and Read story Spywatch 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 - Spywatch

Look and Read's modern era begins with this thoroughly satisfying story which successfully blends the classic L&R format with topical curriculum requirements. Seriously.

The story bits are skillfully balanced with the in-between bits, and both segments share the main narrative: In modern times (the in-between bits) 60-something Norman Starkey returns to the village to which he was evacuated in the Second World War, and writes the story of his previous adventures with the help of the librarian, Miss Lee. These adventures (the story bits) involve Starkey and two other evacuees, Dennis and Mary, plus a local girl called Polly. Between them they have to keep Polly's gran's farm running in tough times, and keep out of the way of the bullying owner of the local Hall and his strange housekeeper. They think they're on the trail of spies when a suspicious-looking woman arrives in the village, but also have to deal with prisoners-of-war, downed enemy pilots, rationing and the black market.

Also in the in-between bits was Professor C. D. Rom, a computer program whose grammar knowhow and arrogance was more than a little reminiscent of Wordy, and some nice character-based educational songs.

I really like Spywatch.


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. Sent Away 15 Jan 1996
2. Grainger Danger 22 Jan 1996
3. Spies All Around 29 Jan 1996
4. Trouble For Mary 5 Feb 1996
5. The Poster Comes To Life 12 Feb 1996
6. Bombs in the Country 26 Feb 1996
7. Surprise 4 Mar 1996
8. The Pilot 11 Mar 1996
9. The Secret Quarry 18 Mar 1996
10. Captured 25 Mar 1996

Episode listings from the old BBC Online Schedules.

Num Title Broadcast
1. Sent Away 15 Jan 1996
  Starkey goes to Westbourne Library and Museum to do some research for a book he is writing about his experiences as an evacuee in World War II.
2. Grainger Danger 22 Jan 1996
  The evacuees are finding it hard to settle down and Mary has to earn her keep by working as a maid. In the present day, Starkey explains rationing to Miss Lee and discusses why children were evacuated from the towns.
3. Spies All Around 29 Jan 1996
  Amy's cows have escaped and it looks as if the fence has been cut deliberately. Polly thinks Grainger wants to drive them off the farm, but Norman reckons he's a spy.
4. Trouble For Mary 5 Feb 1996
  An Italian POW arrives to help on the farm and Starkey looks back on some wartime posters. Miss Millington accuse Mary of stealing.
5. The Poster Comes To Life 12 Feb 1996
  Norman goes fishing and befriends an American GI called Mike Johnson. Polly and Dennis make contact with Mary at Westbourne Hall, and then meet Vivienne Belling, who looks just like the spy on the poster. Joan the goat has got loose and has eaten Amy's vegetables. Meanwhile, Norman gets a letter from his mum and feels homesick.
6. Bombs in the Country 26 Feb 1996
  Belling claims she is a government photographer but the children are convinced she is a spy. Mary overhears a suspicious conversation between Miss Millington and Grainger. Dennis and Polly spot a German plane.
7. Surprise 4 Mar 1996
  Mary searches Westbourne Hall for evidence that Grainger is a spy and there's a surprise in store for the children in the hideout.
8. The Pilot 11 Mar 1996
  The children capture a German pilot.
9. The Secret Quarry 18 Mar 1996
  The children discover a tunnel leading from an abandoned quarry to Westbourne Hall. Grainger catches the boys, but they are rescued by Luigi. The children's confidence in their GI friend is misplaced.
10. Captured 25 Mar 1996
  The children discover Grainger's secret.


Starring Raymond Pickard as Norman Starkey

Russell Tovey as Dennis Sealey
Sophie Ward as Polly Hobbs
Josie McCabe as Mary Parker
Rosemary Leach as Aunty Amy
Lesley Joseph as Miss Millington
Guy Henry as Phillip Grainger
Norman Bird as Cyril Jenkins
Joseph Alessi as Luigi Balzoni
Abigail Thaw as Vivienne Belling
Terence Maynard as Mike Johnson
Rab Christie as Private Wilson
Pauline Delaney as Mrs Calver
Victoria Hasted as Ethel Higson
Carol Harvey as Mrs Starkey
Reinhard Michaels as the German pilot
Colin Starkey as Dr Simpson
Vincent Pickering as Harrison

Keith Barron as adult Starkey
Josephine D'Arby as Miss Lee
Roger Kitter as CD Rom
Andrew Tansey as bald-headed man / spiv
Jeannie Crowther as Polly Peters

Singers Janie Dee
Tony Timberlake
Written by Derek Farmer
Music by Peter Howell
Designer Alan Spalding
Executive producer Frank Flynn
Producer/Director Nicholas Whines
Programme consultant Wendy Body
Education officer Chris Hughes
Casting advisor Jane Deitch
First assistant director Alexandra Bridcut
Location manager Robert Tomlinson
Unit manager Jennie Watson
Third assistant director Olivia Spencer
Production assistants Faith Harris
Miriam Jones
Graphic designer Peter Wane
Video effects Malcolm Dalton
Maeve Stephens
Animations Animation People
Art director Norah Marshall
Properties buyer Nick Barnett
Make-up designers Sheila Werry
Sarah Grispo
Costume designers Annie Moon
Colin Lavers
Stunt pilot Mark Hanna
Aerial co-ordinator Alan Walker
Visual effects designer Steve Bowman
Stunt co-ordinator Nick Powell
Sound Tim Hodge
Location lighting Mark Brennan
Grip Andy Young
Lighting cameraman Desmond Seal
Videotape editors John Billingham
Hugh Parson
David Smith
Dubbing mixer Phill Barrett
Studio director Nicci Crowther
Studio facilities Hillside Studios


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.



Want more on this programme?

This site attempts to cover thousands of programmes and it will take ages to update them all. If you would like to see this one updated soon please click on the star to 'vote' for it and I will do my best to prioritise it!

Voting is anonymous and you can vote for as many programmes as you like. The number in the box above shows how many people have already voted for this programme. You can also see a list of all the votes so far.

More Programmes

Cookies help this website deliver its services. By using these services, you agree to the use of cookies.