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Zzaap and the Word Master

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Zzaap and the Word Master(from Look and Read)
Look and Read Zzaap and the Word Master title.jpg
BBC Schools TV
Company:BBC Scotland
First run:
16th January

- 15th February 2001

Repeated until
19th May

(8 school years)
Episodes:6 episodes
Duration:20 minutes
Subject:English: Language, Reading
Audience:Age 7-9
Language:In English
Browse programme details


This page about the Look and Read story Zzaap and the Word Master 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 - Zzaap and the Word Master

A thoroughly modern kids' drama, made deliberately without any separate teaching bits, or any songs whatsoever. Relevant bits of vocabulary do pop up on screen from time to time though, like in Captain Crimson, and the whole thrust of the storyline is jolly didactic in itself, with plenty of vocabulary and word puzzles to solve throughout. The story involves two kids, Josie and Peter, who have a go on an educational computer game in school, but get physically sucked in to the computer because the game's been hijacked by the malign Victor Virus, who wants to be unleashed onto the internet so he can take over the world. The kids then have to work their way through the levels of the game, facing various challenges - sometimes physical but mostly educational - along the way. They are helped from the real world by the school's computer technician, Simon, and Frances, another pupil.

The story is framed by scenes of the author, Berlie Doherty, actually writing it on her computer. She has a personalised Office Assistant, a blue bug called Zzaap, which comes to life and participates in the story, trying to help the children, though at first Victor persuades the kids that Zzaap is really the virus so they zap him.

The story is told in five episodes, then there's a sixth one which is all grammar and no story, just Zzaap reviewing all of the language points that we might have learned during the previous episodes - a sort of big long in-between bit. This final episode is something extra and not essential to enjoying the series, so it is often left out from repeat runs of just the story.


Episode listings from published BBC schedules.

Num Title Broadcast
1. Into The Crystal Caverns 16 Jan 2001
  In this new drama series two children travel through a mystery underground world and solve word clues to move up a level.
2. The Castle of Gloom 23 Jan 2001
  Things look bleak as Josie and Peter run into Sir Clifford Clank.
3. The Glen of the Green Man 30 Jan 2001
  Zzaap recovers - but now he is green instead of blue. Hamish struggles with adverbs. Victor Virus appears in disguise.
4. No Hope Valley 6 Feb 2001
  The Snow Queen provides a way through. Zzaap and Victor Virus face up to each other in a shoot-out.
5. The Word Master 13 Feb 2001
  Passing through Grendel's cave, Josie and Peter meet the Scarecrow and help him to sort out compound words before they reach the Word Master's study.
6. Zzaap Looks Back 15 Feb 2001
  A revision programme looking back over adverbs, adjectives, rhymes, spelling, punctuation, plot and suspense.


Starring Neil Morrissey as the voice of Zzaap

Jamie Gill as Frances
Amanda Riley as Josie
Kieran Hardcastle as Peter
Stephen Mapes as Victor Virus
Deborah Steele as Miss Wordsworth
Tom Mullion as Simon
Michael Windsor as Rock Face, Skinless and Grendel
Lawrie McNichol as the Carved Heads
Roy Barraclough as Sir Clifford Clank
Miriam Acharki as Scheherezade
Paul Sharma as the Green Man
James Bryce as Lord Hamish
Sarah Patterson as the Snow Queen
Nick Ball as Scarecrow
Philip Bird as the Word Master
with Berlie Doherty

Written by Berlie Doherty
Music by Gregor Philp
Executive producer Moira Scott
Producer Karen Johnson
Director Michael Kerrigan


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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