Story World

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started18th Sep 1989
ended20th Jun 1991
last rpt28th Jun 1993
4 school years
duration10 mins
subject 📚English
age rangeAge 4-6Age 3-5 & Age 5-7
languageenIn English
ITV early readingHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious series: Time for a Story

Story World is an ITV schools TV series from the 1980s and 1990s, covering reading for primary school pupils.

A series to encourage reading, about children from an exciting fantasy world of dragons and castles who visit the real world and discover shopping, holidays, farms and gardening. The children's excitement to discover how prosaic things work in real life exposes the young viewers to the same wonder, and the same interest in reading words and phrases in the environment.

Tony Robinson presents the programmes as an author called Tony, whose books concern fictional children Tom and Becky in the fantasy land (the "story world") of Dragonia. Tony discovers that when he types the magic word 'QWERTYUIOP' (pronounced as a word, "kwertiy-op") into his high-tech, green-print word processor, Tom and Becky come to life as real children in front of him.

Tony then writes a story for the children about an adventure in the real world, to their delight. The story is shown as a dramatisation with actors (rather than illustrations) allowing words to be seen and read from signs and papers in the course of the action.

After the story Tony types another magic word, POIUYTREWQ, into his word processor to return Tom and Becky to Dragonia, and in the last part of the programme he revisits key words and concepts from the day's story for viewers.

Like earlier ITV Schools early reading series such as Reading with Lenny and Let's Read with Basil Brush, Story World was not a full reading scheme in itself, but was designed to provide stimulation and reading books to fit into any scheme or teaching method. Those earlier series were presented in a straightforward way with a presenter telling stories, and Story World's fictional structure, with the story protagonists interacting with the presenter, set it apart from them.

And it is appropriate that ITV's schools service launched this series of children coming out of a fantasy world of dragons into real life at the same time as the BBC schools service launched Through the Dragon's Eye, an epic production of children going into a fantasy world of dragons!


# Title Broadcast
Term 1
1. Becky and the Scarecrow #1989-09-18-00-00-0018 Sep 1989
2. The Café #1989-09-25-00-00-0025 Sep 1989
3. The Red Shoes #1989-10-02-00-00-002 Oct 1989
4. Lost in the Supermarket #1989-10-09-00-00-009 Oct 1989
5. Cousin Rick's Pop Group #1989-10-16-00-00-0016 Oct 1989
6. The Doll #1989-10-30-00-00-0030 Oct 1989
7. Lucky Picture #1989-11-06-00-00-006 Nov 1989
8. Fearless Fergus #1989-11-13-00-00-0013 Nov 1989
9. Charlie Goes Flying #1989-11-20-00-00-0020 Nov 1989
10. Grandad's Birthday #1989-11-27-00-00-0027 Nov 1989
Term 2
11. Becky's Silly Wish #1990-01-15-00-00-0015 Jan 1990
12. Mr Holly's Pigeons #1990-01-22-00-00-0022 Jan 1990
13. The Carwash #1990-01-29-00-00-0029 Jan 1990
14. Toffee Tina #1990-02-05-00-00-005 Feb 1990
15. A Bumpy Ride #1990-02-12-00-00-0012 Feb 1990
16. Camping #1990-02-26-00-00-0026 Feb 1990*
17. Desperado, the Green Cabbage Dragon #1990-03-05-00-00-005 Mar 1990
18. Telly-Mad Tom #1990-03-12-00-00-0012 Mar 1990
19. Seaside Magic #1990-03-19-00-00-0019 Mar 1990
20. The New Baby #1990-03-26-00-00-0026 Mar 1990
Term 3
21. Mrs Holly's Polly #1991-04-22-00-00-0022 Apr 1991
22. The Magnet #1991-04-29-00-00-0029 Apr 1991
23. Any Old Iron #1991-05-09-00-00-009 May 1991
24. Becky's Problem #1991-05-16-00-00-0016 May 1991
25. Hide and Seek #1991-05-23-00-00-0023 May 1991
26. Strawberries for Tea #1991-06-06-00-00-006 Jun 1991
27. Castle Ghost #1991-06-13-00-00-0013 Jun 1991
28. Going up the Mountain #1991-06-20-00-00-0020 Jun 1991

* - Camping was first shown as a preview programme for parents and teachers on Monday 4th December 1989 at 9:56am on Channel 4 & S4C

A further preview episode was shown on Monday 3rd December 1990 at 9:42am on Channel 4 & S4C, but this was a repeat of the 1990 episode A Bumpy Ride due to be repeated in spring 1991, not one of the new summer term programmes due to be shown in 1991[1]


  • 1989-90 (Autumn & Spring only) - Mondays 11:29am on Channel 4 & S4C, repeated Thursdays 11:19am on Channel 4 (not on S4C who showed Day Return instead)
  • 1990-91 (Autumn, Spring & Summer) - Mondays 11:29am on Channel 4 & S4C, repeated Thursday 11:19am on Channel 4 (summer term not in Border, Grampian or Scottish TV areas on Thursdays)
  • 1991-92 (Autumn, Spring & Summer) - Mondays 11:29am on Channel 4 & S4C, repeated Thursday 11:19am on Channel 4
  • 1992-93 (Autumn, Spring & Summer) - Mondays 11:29am on Channel 4, repeated Thursday 11:19am on Channel 4 & S4C


Presented by Tony Robinson
Starring Carl Rice as Tom

Amy Newhouse Smith as Becky

With Carol Noakes as mum

Peter Rylands as dad
Al T. Kossy as Grandad
David Ross as Uncle Fergus
Mary Cunningham as Aunt Dorothy
William Maxwll as Mr Holly
Ebony as Tina
Martin Scott Price as Magico

Advisers Roger Beard, Pam Hutchinson
Theme music Rick Jukes
Associate producer Linda Bell
Stories written by Gillian Clayton (episodes 1-4, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, 23 & 26)

Constance Milburn (episodes 5, 7, 10, 11, 16, 19, 20, 24 & 27)
Karen D. Greaves (episodes 6 & 15)
Colin Bell (episodes 12, 21 & 28)
Hazel Townson (episode 14)
Peta Masters & Geraldine Griffiths (episodes 22 & 25)

Director Lyn Webster
Producer Marian Nelson
Halcyon Productions Ltd for Granada Television


Teacher's notes

Notes, 1989

Each term's broadcasts were accompanied by an A5 sized booklet of teacher's notes, with a summary, follow-up suggestions and a photocopiable worksheet for every episode.

The notes were written by Roger Beard, one of the series advisers and Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at the University of Leeds.

Reading books


Each of the 20 stories was issued as a small, illustrated reading book, sold to schools in termly packages.

Audio cassettes


The story books were also available on cassette, read at a measured pace by Tony Robinson. Each of the three published cassettes covered the stories from one term.


The series was released on video to schools in 1992, with the autumn & spring term tapes offering 10 episodes for £47 each, and the summer term tape 8 episodes for £41.13.

Computer software

Granada had released a literacy computer package called Wordspinner in the mid-1980s, which used customisable word banks to play games of word recognition, missing letters and so on.

It was advertised to accompany the previous early reading series Time for a Story. It was advertised again to accompany Story World, by now as a "best-selling computer software program", with the option to buy a separate "concept keyboard pack" allowing lower case letters to be typed in by small children.

Sources & References

With thanks to Gavin Martin

  1. Listings reproduced by The Television & Radio Database confirm the episode previewed on 3rd December 1990.


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