More TV Memories – Through The Dragon’s Eye.

Through The Dragon’s Eye (BBC2, 1989)

A while ago I reviewed the schools show Look And Read, which featured several stories and songs that helped viewers to improve their reading skills, along with the character Wordy. I do remember watching lots of these at junior school around the early-90s, but there was one that I remember enjoying so much that I have decided to give it an individual review.

Through The Dragon’s Eye was first shown on BBC2 in 1989, but I remember seeing it during one of the repeat runs, probably around 1991. It was a story that had something of a fantasy twist. One day, Amanda, Jenny and Scott are at their school in Acton, London (which is where the studios of the award-winning Bid TV used to be, isn’t that fascinating). vlcsnap-00335

They are working on a mural, which contains a picture of a dragon. Then, as they paint the eye, the fire-breathing dragon suddenly comes to life, and they all enter the magical world of Pelamar to go on an epic quest. Now, of course, their reading ability will help them to solve some of the puzzles in the story. The dragon was called Gorwen, and was just one of the bizarre characters that were featured in the show. vlcsnap-00333

I remember becoming really engaged with the story and I always looked forward to what was going to happen in the next episode. The idea was that the Vettacore has exploded, and it’s going to be a difficult task to put it back together as all of the individual pieces have to be recovered. Without it, people won’t be able to read. Can our team work together and come to the rescue? vlcsnap-00331

Also featuring was a talking mouse called Rodey that could become bigger or smaller (beware of those high fade zones!), and the baddie Charn, but best of all, there were the three Veetacore keepers. Boris was orange and had a cricket bat that could fly, Morris was green and had a pet caterpillar, and Doris was purple and had big glasses. And well, for me, you can’t go too far wrong by having random purple people in a show. They were also able to communicate with each other with videophones meaning they were somewhat ahead of their time. vlcsnap-00336

Through The Dragon’s Eye was shown for the first time around the same time that the original run of Doctor Who was ending after 26 years on BBC1. I don’t really remember watching it much, I preferred this show with its science-fiction story, and it probably had a bigger budget than Doctor Who did by this point too. Well I am only kidding, but it wouldn’t surprise me too much really. vlcsnap-00337

There were ten episodes of Through The Dragon’s Eye that were all about 20 minutes long. It was repeated on BBC2 until as late as 2000, and then it was repeated again about five years later on the CBBC Channel as part of the schools strand which was great. I don’t think that there were ever any tapes or books released though, but there was a computer game for the BBC Micro, and presumably there were also loads of factsheets available for teachers.

More TV Memories – Look And Read.

Look And Read (BBC2, 1967-2004)

Look And Read is one of those long-running shows that was watched by a lot of children, but it was never shown as part of CBBC, this is because it was a schools TV show which was designed to help improve reading skills with various stories and songs. I remember watching the show in my first and second year at junior school (1990-1992).

And yes, we really did all go and sit in a small room which had a TV in it to watch Look And Read live on BBC2 (although we did have a video recorder too, honest). The novelty of being able to watch TV at 10am even though I was actually at school! There were four ten-part stories that I remember watching, although some of them were repeats, and the year that they were first shown on BBC2 will be in brackets, along with a brief analysis of what I can remember about the story. vlcsnap-00065

Badger Girl. (1984) This is the first one that I remember watching. It featured some children who visited a farm and noticed that something was happening with the badgers and ponies. vlcsnap-00067

Geordie Racer. (1988) This was a story about a boy who liked to race pigeons and had to solve a mystery, while the rest of his family were in training to take part in the Great North Run. vlcsnap-00069

Sky Hunter II. (1992) A sequel to an earlier story from 1978, this one featured a lot about bird-watching and peregrine falcons and I found it rather dull compared to the other stories. vlcsnap-00070

Through The Dragon’s Eye. (1989) Now this was definitely my favourite one, I remember really enjoying this. This was a story which begins when three children paint a mural at their school which features a dragon that suddenly comes to life! They then go on an adventure in a magical land with a very odd range of characters, there were orange people and everything! I still remember this one fondly all these years later. vlcsnap-00072

Also along the way were helped by our old friend Wordy and there were also lots of memorable animations and songs (which all seemed to be sung by Derek Griffiths which is great). Look And Read eventually ran for almost four decades, and some classic stories were also repeated in the early days of the CBBC Channel. This really is one of those shows that is fondly remembered by generations of children, and I’m sure that just about everyone who went to school throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s will remember watching at least one of the 20 stories that were produced throughout that time and were encouraged to build a word. vlcsnap-00066