Thursday, 25 February 2010

Top to Bottom, Up and Over

Words and Pictures - Noisy Neville - Part 1

Great uploads from a Youtube user here, uploading quite a few "Words and Pictures" full episodes from mid-80s era of presenter Vicky Ireland along with her animated sidekick Charlie, set in a book library. This, along with "Look and Read" was one of the BBC Schools flagship shows, and the most fondly remembered too. The series would later focus on phonics, and use and sound of certain letters, however, here there is a focus on one letter and a themed around a word that starts with that specific letter. Here it is "N" and the theme is "Noise".

Of course, the iconic part of the show was "The Magic Pencil". It was a floating pencil with a sort of guiding light at the very end, slowly showing how a letter should be written, but all that "flick" nonsense, isn't completely neccessary! However, here it is "Top to Bottom, Up and Over" as voiced by the homely Vicky Ireland off-screen for that part of the show, as the orange levitating pencil - nobody holding it, honest-in a black background.

Charlie is the little man who will pop out of nowhere to talk to Vicky or associate himself with the group of strongly multi-ethnic children. The fluidity of the animation on his face now seem rather strange, it doesn't look computer generated or stock animation, you just know it's been developed slowly in any case. This era of "Words and Pictures" was superior to what followed, which feels more detached with less child attachment and no Charlie. Vicky Ireland would later be replaced by Stuart Bradley and cat puppet Nutmeg in 1990, followed by Sophie Aldred in 1992, of "Doctor Who" fame, and the animation sections were made by the same people (Alan Rogers which brought you the early 80's children's classic "Pigeon Street".

The show began in 1970 under the guidance of Gabriel Woolf and under a different name entitled "Up in the Attic". Gabriel would summon a magic lamp to bring out various puppet characters. Then it came under another name from 1972-73, called "Sam on Boffs' Island", a 20 episode storytale about little puppet men named Boffs, a huge host of characters like What-Boff, Paper-Boof, Sell-Boff. This also starred a young Tony Robinson and Miriam Margolyes. By 1975, it was "Words and Pictures" presented by Henry Woolf and the beginning of the Magic Pencil.

This website is my reference here, and there is alot of information about those early years of the show especially. I'll add this website to my blog links soon.

The show still runs in some form, with it's last series screened on the satellite channel "CBeebies" in 2006 named "Words and Pictures: Fun with Phonics". It also has it's own BBC interactive website. Why do you want to see it, heehee, the average age of people coming here is probably 30! It is still a widely used material used by schools today.

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