BFI to release BBC Sci-Fi classic ‘The Boy from Space’ on DVD on 25 Aug‏ust 2014


By Richard Carpenter

The classic BBC science fiction series

2-Disc set

Never available in any video format, the classic BBC series The Boy from Space (1971/1980) is at last being released on DVD by the BFI on 25 August 2014 as part of BFI SCI-FI: Days of Fear and Wonder, a celebration of Sci-Fi film and television.

This well-remembered Look and Read series is presented with a host of extras, including the complete audio from the 1972 BBC Records LP and alternative presentations of the filmed drama sequences which allow for this thrilling adventure to be experienced in new and exciting ways.

When brother and sister Dan and Helen see a mysterious object falling from the sky one night, they set out to look for traces of a meteorite in the nearby sandpit. There, they are confronted by a strange thin man, and discover a white-haired boy called Peep-peep who speaks a bizarre alien language.

Written by Richard Carpenter (CatweazelAdventures of Robin Hood), the series starred Sylvestra Le Touzel (Mansfield Park, Amazing GraceHappy-Go-Lucky), Stephen Garlick (The Tomorrow People, The Dark Crystal), Colin Mayes (ScumAll Quiet on the Western Front), John Woodnutt (Z CarsChildren of the Stones,Doctor Who) and Gabriel Woolf (Emergency-Ward 10Doctor Who).

The striking electronic music is by Paddy Kingsland of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Originally broadcast in 1971, as part of the BBC’s educational Look and Read strand, The Boy from Space was shown again in 1980 in a revised version featuring new presenters Wordy and Cosmo, as well as updates – including a new foreword and a voice-over – to the main drama.

Look and Read was a programme for primary schools, aimed at improving children’s literacy skills. The programme presents fictional stories in a serial format, the first of which was broadcast in 1967 and the most recent in 2004, making it the longest running nationally broadcast programme for schools in the UK.



The Boy from Space with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, live, at BFI Southbank in December 

On Saturday 6 December, to celebrate this DVD release, BFI Southbank will present  the specially-created 70 minute version of the series, directed by Maddalena Fagandini, followed by a panel discussion with key figures in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, who provided the original music for this and so many other series.

Following this our regular Sonic Cinema strand will provide a chance to hear the group play a specially selected set of Sci-Fi music from Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Quatermass to Doctor Who.


Special Features:

·         The complete 1980 series (10 x 20 mins): all ten episodes of the BBC’s classic Look and Read series, featuring Dan, Helen and Peep-peep’s story, as well as helpful reading tips from Wordy and Cosmo

·         Feature-length presentation (70 mins): exclusive version of Dan, Helen and Peep-peep’s adventures, edited specially for this release

·         BBC Records LP – audio version (55 mins): original spoken word recordings from the 1972 vinyl release, narrated by Charles Collingwood (the voice of Brian Aldridge in Radio 4’s The Archers)

·         BBC Records LP – film version (55 mins): an exclusive presentation, combining the audio from the 1972 LP with film and video footage from the 1980 TV broadcast

·         Wordy’s Think-ups: 19 original animations from the series

·         Downloadable PDFs of the original 1971 and 1979 pupil’s pamphlets

·         Illustrated booklet with essays by British TV experts Ben Clarke and Christopher Perry, and recollections by composer Paddy Kingsland


Release Date: 25 August, 2014

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