Words And Pictures (BBC1/BBC2, 1970-2001)
This is another show that was made for children, but it was usually shown in the schools strand in the morning, and not as part of CBBC. I’m not sure if I ever watched this one when I was at primary school, the only show that I do remember going into the TV room for was Look And Read. But this show was just about a spin-off from that one as it also aimed to teach viewers about literacy.
Words And Pictures was designed to teach viewers about how the letters of the alphabet sounded, and there were so many to choose from, all 26 of them. There were several ways that this was done over the years, and I remember the editions shown during the 80s and 90s the most. There were also various hosts, including Sophie Aldred, and every edition usually concentrated on a different letter.
We would be told various words that began with that letter, and there would also be stories accompanied by various animations, and even a few songs that we could sing along to. The thing that most viewers seem to remember most about the show though was the magic pencil. This was where we shown how to write the letter in lower-case several times by an orange pencil that somehow floated through the air.
Sometimes the show would be made on location, and if we were really lucky, we would even be treated to a contribution from poet and plum enthusiast Michael Rosen, which was nice. Even I though I have said this before on here, I can’t help but be reminded at this point of the time that Michael came to my school and told some stories, in his continuing quest to perform at every school in the country. I was so thrilled.
In all of its variations, Words And Pictures was usually 15 minutes long, and ran on and off for about three decades (in the 90s there was also the spin-off series Words And Pictures Plus that was aimed at the youngest of viewers), and there were hundreds of editions altogether, so many generations of children long before and after I was at school will be familiar with this one I’m sure.
There were also plenty of editions that were compiled together and released on VHS, along with several notes that were made available for teachers. There was also a show with a similar idea on CBeebies about five years after the original version ended.