The Boy from Space (1980) - Episode 10: In the Space-ship

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Studio recording: Wednesday 16 January 1980, 8:30pm in studio TC1 First broadcast: Tuesday 25 March 1980, 10:16am on BBC1 Last broadcast: Friday 12 January 2007, 12:40pm on the CBBC Channel BBC Genome listing: f2ec5bb3e2... BBC programme number: ESBB610W

Story Part 1

Helen is marched towards the look-out platform at gunpoint.

Space-speech translator
A short extract from the soundtrack of the episode, with all of the "space-speech" snippets played backwards to work out what they are actually saying. Sources: episode audio reversed. Zooyixi is suffering from the sun and air on Earth at this point, his speech is slow, heavily distorted and hard to make out


Zooyixi: Where did you [?]?
V/O: The thin space-man made me go back through the woods to the lake.

Later:

Zooyixi: Back to the ship. Go on.
V/O: Dan looked for the switch to open the window. Which one was it? Then he saw that Peep-peep was pointing.
Zooyixi: [distorted]

Dan is inside the space-ship but cannot hear what Tom and Mr Bunting are saying behind the invisible window.

Peep-peep uses his writing ring to give Dan instructions on how to release the window. Peep-peep writes backwards on his side of the window, and Dan can read it the right way round from his side.

Dan at the controls.

As the thin space-man enters the space-ship with Helen he is rushed by the freed grown-ups and Peep-peep's father forces the space-gun from his hands.

Space-speech translator
Sources: episode audio reversed. The father's last line when reversed sounds really quite like "I'll kill you!" but surely it couldn't be that!


Father: Put your hands up!
Bunting: Watch the gun, Tom!
Father: Watch where you are!
Father: [indistinct]

Teaching Middle

Cosmo is pleased that the thin man has been captured, because it serves him right. He and Wordy talk about how Peep-peep was able to write a message back to front yet Dan was able to read it.

Cosmo visits the word-builder machine and uses it to make the plural form of words including 'switch,' 'compass' and 'lens' by adding -es. He looks in the book for more words meaning "more than one" and sees that they don't all need -es to be added.

Wordy wants to know the answer to the question in the song we hear every week, "is there a place where the Universe ends?" and Cosmo shows him a video cassette about distances in space including light years.

Wordy needs to pack as he is going back to Earth after the story. Cosmo must go "here and there" as well. Wordy gives a riddle about what can be seen and not heard in the word 'writing' and thinks-up a song about the mystery letter.

SongSong of the Mystery Letter W

I write a mystery letter, it doesn't make a sound.
Can you write the mystery letter I have found?

Lyrics by Gordon Snell, music by Paddy Kingsland, sung by Neil Fitzwilliam
Look and Read Boy from Space 1980 ep10 06 sleeve w.jpg

Featuring Professor Grab


Cosmo asks for one more think-up and Wordy offers a goodbye song.

SongThe Goodbye Song

It's time for us to go, we're sorry that we're going
But it's time to end the show so we're going, going, gone.

Lyrics by Gordon Snell, music by Paddy Kingsland, sung by Jeffrey Shankley, Sheila Steafel, Gwen Watson, Neil Fitzwilliam & Stephen Tait
Look and Read Boy from Space 1980 ep10 05 songs.jpg

Featuring the two stars, the space moles and the space monster, Professor Grab and Rip van Twinkle


There is just time to finish reading the last chapter of the story to find out why the space-people were on Earth and what has been happening, and Wordy and Cosmo say goodbye.

Story Part 2

The thin space-man is marched away by Peep-peep's father as Dan, Helen, Tom and Mr Bunting are reunited.

Space-speech translator
Sources: episode audio reversed. As usual these are my best guesses at interpreting what is being said.


Dan: Thanks to Peep-peep
Father: (to Zooyixi) Sit!
Peep-Peep: We'll be in space together.
Father: (to Zooyixi) These aliens have upset your plans.
Zooyixi: Perhaps you will forgive me.

The thin man under guard.

Tom and Mr Bunting have been able to find out the whole story of what has happened. A flashback shows that the space-men were journeying home from Mars when the thin man decided he wanted all of the meteorites they had collected for himself and attacked Peep-peep and his father. The controls were upset and the space-ship fell to Earth.

Peep-peep's father locks the thin space-man in the meteorite room.

Space-speech translator
Sources: episode audio reversed. The father's final sentence is clearly dialogue that belongs in episode 7, though it was not used there (in this 1980 version at least), dubbed across to provide some extra, incomprehensible space-speech to fill a gap here. It doesn't fit with this part of the story once you have reversed it and understood what he is saying.


Bunting: A long way away, in space.
Father: (to Zooyixi) Up!
V/O: Peep-peep's father made the thin space-man go into the meteorite room.
Bunting: (chuckles)
V/O: The big window shut him in. We were safe.
Father: (to Bunting) Come. I wish to show you something. He doesn't know the controls to start.


Mr Bunting is shown a clear plastic bag that the space-men had found on a previous trip to Earth. They learned to write from the bag - but it was inside out.

Space-speech translator
Sources: episode audio reversed. Peep-peep speaks while others are speaking, but it sounds a little like he says "The Boy from Space"!


The humans leave the space-ship and Peep-peep says goodbye to Dan and Helen from the look-out platform. Dan offers his compass as a parting gift.

Space-speech translator
Sources: episode audio reversed. A better rhythmic fit for what Peep-peep says might be "It's for me, from you"


Dan: Not much good to you but, well, I'd like you to have it.
Peep-Peep: It's lovely. Thank you.
Dan: Good-bye.


Dan, Helen, Tom and Mr Bunting all watch the space-ship climb back into the sky from the children's little hut.

Watching the space-ship leave from the hut.

Production notes

All of the songs in this unit were 'scripted' by the lyricist, with an indication of what the animation would show to tie in with the lyrics, though the animator Richard Taylor had his own vision which could vary quite a bit. Professor Grab's song in this episode was planned to conclude with a wrestler grabbing Grab by the wrist, where Grab reveals "wr" to be written. In the final animation Grab simply moves in front of his chalkboard and shows "w" written on his sleeve.

The Professor Grab song was originally titled the 'Song of the Lazy Letter W', but was changed to the 'Song of the Mystery Letter W,' as the title used in the studio script and the teacher's notes.

The recorded version of this episode follows the studio script very closely, apart from skipping over a planned repeat of the last verse of the Goodbye Song for viewers to sing along with, and a specific correction that the distance from the sun to Pluto (officially a planet at the time of recording) has been updated from 3,666,000 miles in the script to 3,674,000 miles on screen.

Wordy was always scripted to call Cosmo by his proper name. The affectation "Cossy" used on screen was clearly improvised by Charles Collingwood in Wordy's persona!

Read about how this episode was re-cut from the original 1970s version on the page about the 1970s episode.

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