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!
|1.||Becky and the Scarecrow||18 Sep 1989|
|2.||The Café||25 Sep 1989|
|3.||The Red Shoes||2 Oct 1989|
|4.||Lost in the Supermarket||9 Oct 1989|
|5.||Cousin Rick's Pop Group||16 Oct 1989|
|6.||The Doll||30 Oct 1989|
|7.||Lucky Picture||6 Nov 1989|
|8.||Fearless Fergus||13 Nov 1989|
|9.||Charlie Goes Flying||20 Nov 1989|
|10.||Grandad's Birthday||27 Nov 1989|
|11.||Becky's Silly Wish||15 Jan 1990|
|12.||Mr Holly's Pigeons||22 Jan 1990|
|13.||The Carwash||29 Jan 1990|
|14.||Toffee Tina||5 Feb 1990|
|15.||A Bumpy Ride||12 Feb 1990|
|16.||Camping||26 Feb 1990*|
|17.||Desperado, the Green Cabbage Dragon||5 Mar 1990|
|18.||Telly-Mad Tom||12 Mar 1990|
|19.||Seaside Magic||19 Mar 1990|
|20.||The New Baby||26 Mar 1990|
|21.||Mrs Holly's Polly||22 Apr 1991|
|22.||The Magnet||29 Apr 1991|
|23.||Any Old Iron||9 May 1991|
|24.||Becky's Problem||16 May 1991|
|25.||Hide and Seek||23 May 1991|
|26.||Strawberries for Tea||6 Jun 1991|
|27.||Castle Ghost||13 Jun 1991|
|28.||Going up the Mountain||20 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, likely one of the new summer term programmes due to be shown in 1991, but I don't know which one. If you can help please get in touch by email.
- 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|
|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)
|Halcyon Productions Ltd for Granada Television|
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.
Each of the 20 stories was issued as a small, illustrated reading book, sold to schools in termly packages.
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.
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.
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