Near and Far
Near and Far is a BBC schools TV series from the 1970s and 1980s, covering geography for primary school pupils.
A wide-ranging geography series for primary school children, which covers different aspects of physical and social geography in an accessible and understandable way to help children to understand their environment.
The series presents independent units, 2 to 4 episodes long, on different topics which were designed to be taken on their own without committing to the entire year of programmes. They are particularly designed to support non-specialist geography teachers but they are also designed to present facts and approaches without covering any topic in its entirely, but supporting follow-up classroom work.
Near and Far replaced the earlier series People of Many Lands which had been running since the 1950s and which had presented a very straightforward, narrative account of different cultures around the world. People of Many Lands programmes on India, Sri Lanka, Australia and Italy were repeated as part of Near and Far in its first two years while it was establishing a full roster of new programmes.
Between 1976 and 1979 Near and Far established a solid two-year roster of programmes - although as the series was shown fortnightly to allow for follow-up time between broadcasts there were only 28 individual episodes needed to fill 2 years of broadcasts. This cycle of 28 programmes was repeated practically unchanged until 1983.
From 1983 the series begun to be updated to reflect recent trends in the teaching of geography, including additional programmes on leisure and recreation activities. Each of the two years in the broadcast cycle was rearranged so that they started at a local geographical level of a neighbourhood street and building, and moved to national and then international studies later in the year.
Near and Far: Now and Then
Now and Then was specifically conceived as a companion to Near and Far. It was broadcast fortnightly in alternate weeks to Near and Far in the same slots, and covered the same topics as the geography series at broadly the same times, so that teachers could explore them from both a geographical and historical perspective.
In 1987 the two series were brought even closer together: still broadcast as separate series with different opening titles, but billed as a single programme called Near and Far: Now and Then, with the geographical Near and Far programmes mixed in amongst the historical Now and Then programmes in a more organic way, not alternating every fortnight.
Finally in 1988 the combination of geography and history programmes for this age group was completed, as both Near and Far and Now and Then were replaced by a new, combined series called Landmarks, which included repeats from both of its predecessors, rebranded with the Landmarks title, alongside new programmes.
Titles & Theme Music
The camera pulls out from children playing in their school playground to an aerial shot of the playground, then a satellite view of the town, a view of England, and finally the entire globe, from which the title Near and Far appears.
The theme music is a frankly eerie, Radiophonic rendition based on the nursery rhyme Girls and Boys Come Out to Play, with unsettling noises and increasing pitch and urgency as the picture moves out!
|1.||What is a Street?**||25 Sep 1975|
|2.||Overground, Underground||9 Oct 1975|
|3.||The Changing Street**||23 Oct 1975|
|Wind and Water|
|4.||When the Wind Blows||13 Nov 1975|
|5.||Water, Water Everywhere||27 Nov 1975|
|6.||Earth in Action||29 Apr 1976|
|7.||Life Must Go On||13 May 1976|
|Mound and Mountain|
|8.||Not on the Level**||27 May 1976|
|9.||Up in the Mountains**||17 Jun 1976|
|Where We Live|
|10.||A Roof and Four Walls||22 Sep 1977|
|11.||Exploring Your Neighbourhood||6 Oct 1977*|
|12.||The Only Town for Us||20 Oct 1977|
|13.||Bars of Tin||10 Nov 1977|
|14.||Bags of Sugar||24 Nov 1977|
|Hills and Mountains|
|15.||Living in the Alps||9 Mar 1978|
|16.||Water Moves In||20 Apr 1978|
|17.||Office Moves Out||4 May 1978|
|18.||Moving Here for Work||18 May 1978|
|19.||Moving There for Work||8 Jun 1978|
|20.||Getting to Work||9 Nov 1978|
|21.||Going on Holiday||23 Nov 1978|
|22.||Snow and Ice||18 Jan 1979|
|23.||Streams and Rivers||15 Feb 1979|
|24.||The Sea at Work||8 Mar 1979|
|25.||Using the Elements||22 Mar 1979|
|26.||Moorlands||3 May 1979|
|27.||Deserts||17 May 1979|
|28.||Tundra||7 Jun 1979|
|29.||Grasslands||21 Jun 1979|
|Hills and Mountains|
|30.||Farming the Hills||24 Nov 1983|
|Leisure and Recreation|
|31.||Local Park||10 May 1984|
|32.||The Great Outdoors||24 May 1984|
|33.||Seaside||14 Jun 1984|
|34.||Greek Island||28 Jun 1984|
|Builders and Buildings|
|35.||Bricks||20 Sep 1984|
|36.||Concrete||4 Oct 1984|
|37.||Timber||18 Oct 1984|
|38.||Nations and Boundaries||16 May 1985|
|39.||Exploring the Rhine||6 Jun 1985|
|40.||Exploiting the Rhine||20 Jun 1985|
|41.||Meeting Points||26 Sep 1985|
|42.||Above and Below||10 Oct 1985|
|43.||Yesterday's Street Today||24 Oct 1985|
|44.||Floods||22 May 1986|
|45.||Drought||12 Jun 1986|
|All About Food|
|46.||Working the Land||11 Jan 1988|
|47.||The Dairy Farm||18 Jan 1988|
|48.||Superstore||8 Feb 1988|
|49.||Fast Food||15 Feb 1988|
|Children's Work Programme|
|50.||Over to You (1988)||20 Jun 1988|
* - Exploring Your Neighbourhood was first shown as a Preview programme on Friday 13th May 1977 at 2:30pm.
** - Several episodes were revised during the run of the series, but these are not listed as separate episodes above.
- What is a Street? and The Changing Street were first shown in autumn 1975, and then revised in light of teacher's comments when the series was repeated in autumn 1976, and the revised versions were shown thereafter (both episodes were repeated regularly until autumn 1983)
- Up in the Mountains from summer 1976 was shown in a revised form from spring 1980 onwards, as it has a separate programme number in the BBC archives (it continued to be repeated until spring 1986).
- Its companion episode Not on the Level also from summer 1976 was shown in a revised form for its final broadcast in spring 1986, as it also has a separate programme number in the BBC archives.
- 1975-76 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 10:25, repeated Mondays 14:18 on BBC1
- 1976-77 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 10:25, repeated Mondays 14:18 on BBC1
- 1977-78 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 10:25, repeated Mondays 14:18 on BBC1
- 1978-79 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 10:25, repeated Wednesdays 11:00 mostly on BBC1
- 1979-80 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Wednesdays 14:18, repeated Thursdays 11:05 on BBC1
- 1980-81 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Wednesdays 14:18, repeated Thursdays 11:05 mostly on BBC1
- 1981-82 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 11:05, repeated Wednesdays 14:18 mostly on BBC1
- 1982-83 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 11:05, repeated Wednesdays 14:18 mostly on BBC1
- 1983-84 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 11:05, repeated Tuesdays 14:15 on BBC2
- 1984-85 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 11:05, repeated Tuesdays 14:15 on BBC2
- 1985-86 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Thursdays 11:00, repeated Tuesdays 14:15 on BBC2
- 1986-87 (autumn, spring & summer) - fortnightly Mondays 14:15, repeated Tuesdays 11:17 on BBC2
- 1987-88 (autumn, spring & summer) - weekly Mondays 13:38, repeated Thursdays 11:15 on BBC2, intermingled with episodes of Now and Then and billed as Near and Far: Now and Then
A booklet of teacher's notes was issued for each term of broadcasts.
In the first year these were the traditional small A5 sized text booklets (right).
In response to teachers' feedback the notes were expanded from the second year into much larger, A4 sized publications with pictures and pages of extensive follow-up notes on every episode (below). They were given pictorial covers including the series logo & title screen and were designed in a way which stood out from other schools publications of the same era.
From the very beginning and throughout the entire life of the series, the notes booklets included a pull-out or separate section of photographs, maps and other worksheet material for use in the classroom
Once Now and Then started in 1986 the notes for both series were combined into a single publication each term. In 1976 the notes cost 27p per term, and by 1986 the combined booklet cost £1.25 per term.
A number of published classroom wallcharts from the Pictorial Charts Educational Trust (PCET) were recommended to support the series
At first in 1982 a wallchart called What is a Map? was recommended, and later expanded to include charts on Mapping the Streets, Maps and Scale and Mapping the Hills.
Some random programmes for age 9-11 from the 1970s
|BBC Schools Radio|
|Out of the Past|
|BBC Schools TV|
|Books to Enjoy (1970)|