The Boy from Space (1980) - Episode 5: The Hold-up

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Studio recording: Thursday 13 December 1979, 2:45pm in studio TC4 First broadcast: Tuesday 12 February 1980, 10:16am on BBC1 Last broadcast: Friday 12 January 2007, 10:20am on the CBBC Channel BBC Genome listing: 3998b686cf... BBC programme number: ESBB605A

Story Part 1

Peep-peep is helped outside by Mr Bunting and the children, but the sun seems too bright for his eyes.

Mr Bunting sets off to drive Peep-peep to the hospital, unaware that the thin man is watching them.

Helen and Dan wait inside the observatory. Helen takes a telephone message from a Mr Miller, and while Dan puzzles over Peep-peep's mysterious written message, Helen realises that she can read it in the mirrored reflection of Dan's compass.

The message reflected in Dan's compass.

Teaching Middle

Wordy asks himself questions and shares them with Cosmo to help understand the story. Why did Mr Bunting take Peep-peep to hospital? Why did Peep-peep look so pale and ill? Cosmo theorises that he wasn't used to the atmosphere of the Earth. Finally the thin man was hiding outside the observatory, which suggests he is "against" Peep-peep. Wordy is concerned that Mr Bunting has taken a lonely road to the hospital.

Cosmo and Wordy.

Cosmo has a new game where he and Wordy tell each other knock knock jokes. Wordy takes the opportunity to point out the 'mystery letter' 'k' at the start of the word, and thinks up a song about Professor Grab.

SongSong of the Mystery Letter K

I knew it was knocking on the ceiling.
I knew it was knitting with a knife.

Lyrics by Gordon Snell, music by Paddy Kingsland, sung by Neil Fitzwilliam
Look and Read Boy from Space 1980 ep05 04 Ks.jpg

Featuring Professor Grab

Wordy plays a verse again with missing words to be sung along.

Cosmo is by the viewing window looking pale and paler, as he can see a large passing spaceship - "an unidentified stripey object" which gets bigger and bigger as it comes closer and closer. Luckily it moves off before it can hit the Wordlab, and Wordy thinks up another song, which he plays through twice.

SongThe -er Song (of Closer Encounters)

Oh dearie me - oh dearie me - what can it be?
It's big! It's getting bigger!
It's close! And it's getting closer!

Lyrics by Gordon Snell, music by Paddy Kingsland, spoken to music by Sheila Steafel and Gwen Watson
Look and Read Boy from Space 1980 ep05 05 longer.jpg

Featuring the space moles

We read a few sentences from the story, and then see the -ed song (from episode 2) again as well as its missing words repeat verse.

SongThe -ed Song

Let me tell you what happened to me,
How it all happened with -ed.

Lyrics by Gordon Snell, music by Paddy Kingsland, sung by Stephen Tait

Featuring Rip van Twinkle. Repeated from episode 2.

Wordy watches Cosmo is a mirror as he exercises, and notes that the reflection is a reverse image, including the writing on Cosmo's name badge. Wordy plays a game of I-spy, spotting things in the Wordlab that start with 'tele'- including 'television,' 'telephone' and 'telescope.'

Cosmo is eager to see what happens next in the story, so he fiddles with Wordy's remote control 'programmer' to rotate the sphere and obtain the pamphlet, then we read on.

Story Part 2

Mr Bunting and Peep-peep drive towards the lonely Rabbit Hill, with the thin man tailing them in Tom's car.

Dan and Helen have read 'danger' in Peep-peep's message. They determine to tell Mr Bunting, but have to keep waiting until he arrives at the hospital.

The thin man reaches the top of the hill first and hides in the trees. He points a space-gun device at Mr Bunting's car which causes it to stop.

Zooyixi targets the car.

Production notes

When Wordy and Cosmo are discussing why Peep-peep was ill in the Earth atmosphere, Wordy was originally scripted to add "I don't feel ill when I'm on Earth", and Cosmo to reply "Yes, but you're used to it," and talk about how it would be different at the top of a high mountain. The dialogue isn't used in the recorded programme, perhaps this was felt to be outside of a typical British child's experience.

After the I-spy game, the rehearsal script for this episode included a sequence to conclude the close encounter with the Unidentified Scary (or Stripey) Object from earlier, in which the Spacelab would receive a message from Earth which needs to be deciphered using context cues to reveal that the object crashed on the Moon at 9.00 hours, much to Wordy's relief. This sequence was removed in the final version of the script and replaced with the repeats of the -ed song from episode 2.

The space moles 'Of Closer Encounters' song is the second in a linked series of three songs telling a combined story about space moles - they first appeared in the 'Bright Light Song' in episode 1 and will appear again in the 'Of Even Closer Encounters' song in episode 7. This is the reason that the song as written lacks a 'pay-off line' conclusion and simply ends with the pink alien landing and moving towards the moles. When the sequence concludes in episode 7 there is some final ad lib 'pay-off' banter between them.

Read about what was cut from the film sequences on the page about the 1970s episode.

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