Look and Read: The Legend of the Lost Keys

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started12th Jan 1998
ended23rd Mar 1998
last rpt30th Nov 2007
11 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚EnglishLanguage & Reading
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Look and ReadHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious story: Captain CrimsonNext story: Zzaap and the Word MasterHierarchyNext.gif

The Legend of the Lost Keys 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 The Legend of the Lost Keys 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 - The Legend of the Lost Keys

A passive re-invention of the Look and Read formula, that maintains the classic structure of episodes but does something that hadn't yet been managed in the programme's thirty year history: it seemlessly blends the teaching bits in with the story bit. The storyline is about twins on holiday with their uncle George, who discover that this uncle is descended from another world and is guardian of the gateway between this other world - Heritron - and the Earth, in the form of a mysterious old box. When some scientists come and take away the box, George realises that the evil rulers of the other world are trying to open up the gateway, which would allow them to come through and enslave Earth's children. He and the twins have to get the box back, find the three ancient keys which work it, and seal off the other world permanently. They are aided by two surviving rebels from Heritron living in secret in an abandoned shop, who use an old prophecy called the Legend of the Lost Keys to give guidance and advice. This prophecy comes in the form of various riddles and poems, one of which must conveniently be solved in the middle of each episode - they form the teaching bits.

The Story

Twins Mark and Lisa go to spend their annual holiday with their Uncle George, when they are disturbed by tycoon Sir Derek Janus and two scientists, Waters and Burns, who've got a court order to break into an ancient building on George's land and rob off with an old box that they find there. George then reveals himself to be descended from another world, Heritron, whose inhabitants are called Takers, and who used to send Catchers to kidnap Earth children to use as slaves on Heritron. This also means he has powers of telekinesis. Ages ago a rebellious Taker had closed the box thing, which is the gateway between Heritron and Earth, and George as his descendant is now the Guardian of the gateway.

There's this ancient Heritron prophecy which says that in order to permanently save Earth from the Catchers the box must be opened using three special keys and then closed again by the 'Children of Heritron', who turn out to be Mark and Lisa. There are still several Watchers from Heritron on Earth who are trying to open the gateway. Janus is the chief of them, Burns is also one and in a plot twist George's housekeeper Erica transpires to be one too.

The twins go and find the three keys, beginning to use their own powers of telekinesis. Janus soon nicks the box off of Professor Waters, who had been studying it and is just a normal Earth bloke, along with the three keys, but Waters gets the police to help him get everything back. George opens the box but can't close it again. Consulting two other Heritron rebels on Earth, Anna and Ariana, he discovers that someone has to go through the tunnel and lock the door on that end. George goes through but is captured.

The children, after nearly being abducted by Erica but rescued by Waters, go through after him, rescue him with their mind powers and then lock the door. The connection between Heritron and Earth is severed forever, the box disintegrates and everyone returns to their normal lives.


Quick episode list

# Title Broadcast
1. The Box 12 Jan 1998
2. The First Key 19 Jan 1998
3. The Watchers 26 Jan 1998
4. Kidnap 2 Feb 1998
5. The Crystal Connection 9 Feb 1998
6. The Trap 23 Feb 1998
7. The Box is Opened 2 Mar 1998
8. Into the Box 9 Mar 1998
9. Betrayed 16 Mar 1998
10. The Final Hour 23 Mar 1998

Episode listings from the old BBC Online Schedules, edited to remove a big plot spoiler!

Num Title Broadcast
1. The Box 12 Jan 1998
  Mark and Lisa must help their uncle prevent an ancient and mysterious box from being opened. For the box is a doorway to a dark and menacing world.
2. The First Key 19 Jan 1998
  George and the twins begin the search for the keys to the box of destiny. Lisa is woken in the night by intruders.
3. The Watchers 26 Jan 1998
  Lisa and Mark search for a second key, and are followed by the Watchers who have been ordered to kidnap them.
4. Kidnap 2 Feb 1998
  Having thwarted an attempt by the Watchers to kidnap them, the children team up with Uncle George and locate the final key at the Roman baths.
5. The Crystal Connection 9 Feb 1998
  George and the children have all three keys and they persuade Professor Waters to take them to the Box.
6. The Trap 23 Feb 1998
  When George breaks into the Janus Foundation to get to the Box, the children realise it is a trap.
7. The Box is Opened 2 Mar 1998
  The doorway to Heritron is opened. George and the children escape from the Janus Foundation, but are betrayed.
8. Into the Box 9 Mar 1998
  Professor Waters gets the Box back from the Watchers, and George goes through to lock the doorway into Heritron. But the Catchers are waiting for him.
9. Betrayed 16 Mar 1998
  George is held captive on Heritron. Anna tells the children they must rescue him.
10. The Final Hour 23 Mar 1998
  Lisa and Mark find George trapped in a crystal cell. They manage to set him free, but can they escape from Heritron?


Starring Andrew Sachs as George Gardener

Jonathan Kitchens as Mark Astor
Abigail Ansell as Lisa Astor
Sabra Williams as Erica Turner
Richard Morant as Sir Derek Janus
David Gant as Professor Humphrey Waters
Tatiana Strauss as Dr Burns
Nicola Arumugan as Ariana
Sonia Graham as Anna
Sita Ramamurphy as The Taker
Stafford Gordon as The Catcher

Singers Donald Greig
Miriam Stockley
Tony Wharmby
Michael Dore
Robert Fardell
Written by Jim Eldridge
Music composed by Debbie Wiseman
Production designer Alan Spalding
Executive producer Anne Brogan
Producer Cas Lester
Director Colin Cant
Education officer Chris Hughes
Production manager Terry Wright
Programme co-ordinator Nicki Coles
Location co-ordinator Elaine Herraghty
Programme cost co-ordinator Paulette Gardiner
Digital effects Ian Simpson
Paul Kavanagh
Animation by Ealing Animation
Graphic artists Barbara Horne
Monica Herman
Calligraphers Hammond & Hagon
Art director Sarah Milton
Properties buyer Nick Barnett
Property master Martin Carley
Standby props Simon Bailey
Ray Morgan
Make-up designer Kay Smith
Make-up design assistant Ashley Johnson
Costume designer Eric Doughney
Costume design assistant Sue Burrows
Digital sound editor Kian Wong
Dubbing mixer Chris Graver
Sound recordist Brian Robinson
Sound assistant David Webster
Gaffer Jim Russell
Best boy Tom Shirley
Grip Richard Toomey
Rigger Andy Robertson
Vision engineer Peter Lester
Cameraman Dave Hunter
On-line editor Duncan Bragg
Off-line editor Peter Harris
Lighting director John King


Here is a list of all of the broadcasts of this story on the BBC. See the Schedules section for precise dates and times.



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