Zig Zag: Tales from Europe (1992)

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started20th Jan 1992
ended23rd Mar 1992
last rpt12th Jun 1996
5 school years
duration20 mins
subject 📚English
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English

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Tales from Europe (1992) is a unit of the BBC Schools TV series Zig Zag from the 1990s, covering English for primary school pupils.

A selection of traditional stories from countries all across Europe, re-told and animated for Zig Zag.

The episodes are presented by the enterprising Molly, who burrows her way across Europe in a 'hypersonic mole' vehicle, accompanied by her teddy bear Esperanto. Each week she goes underground and drives the mole to a new country, observing it's geography and lifestyles through her periscope before telling a children's story from that country accompanied by puppetry or animation.

An introductory teacher's programme was shown in 1992 in the week before the pupils' programmes began, including extracts from the unit and suggestions for using it in the classroom. The teacher's programme was also repeated in the week before the summer 1996 repeat run began.

This unit was soon joined by a Tales from Europe radio series featuring the same tales narrated by noted actors including John Hurt, Helen Mirren and Griff Rhys Jones.

A decade later the unit was re-edited to remove the introductory sequences with Molly and her hypersonic mole, and present just the features about each country and the stories in shorter 15 minute episodes. There is a separate page about the re-edited version of this unit.

Episode List

# Title Broadcast
- The Teacher's Tale #1992-01-13-00-00-0013 Jan 1992
1. Switzerland #1992-01-20-00-00-0020 Jan 1992
2. Germany #1992-01-27-00-00-0027 Jan 1992
3. Britain #1992-02-03-00-00-003 Feb 1992
4. Denmark #1992-02-10-00-00-0010 Feb 1992
5. Netherlands #1992-02-17-00-00-0017 Feb 1992
6. Czechoslovakia #1992-03-02-00-00-002 Mar 1992
7. Belgium #1992-03-09-00-00-009 Mar 1992
8. Finland #1992-03-16-00-00-0016 Mar 1992
9. Greece #1992-03-23-00-00-0023 Mar 1992


Year Term Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Channel Details
1991-92 Spring 1992 Monday, 11:00am Wednesday, 1:40pm BBC2
Summer 1992 Tuesday, 10:15am Friday, 1:40pm BBC2 Provision for hearing impaired children
1993-94 Summer 1994 Monday, 11:00am Wednesday, 1:40pm BBC2
1995-96 Summer 1996 Monday, 9:05am Wednesday, 1:20pm BBC2


Presenter Denise Coffey as Molly
Stories adapated by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Producer Tom Stanier


Tales from Europe
Tales from the Old World

There were teacher's notes and a book available.

The Tales from Europe hardback story book by Kevin Crossley-Holland was later reissued as a paperback called Tales from the Old World.


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