BBC's Terrifying THE BOY FROM SPACE Finally Coming To DVD

James Marsh, Asian Editor
British readers of a certain age may well still be haunted by images from the BBC's incredibly disturbing children's TV show The Boy From Space. Created as part of the Beeb's educational Look And Read series, it was originally broadcast in 1971 and again in 1980 and follows the startling discovery of an extra-terrestrial being by two inquisitive young British children. 

While perhaps a niche nostalgia item that may seem alien to many, The Boy From Space was a hugely influential piece of work when it first came out, and its surreal style and imagery dug deep into the memories and imaginations of a generation, where they have lain dormant until now. The Boy From Space will be released in a 2-disc DVD set by the BFI on 25 August and boasts a wealth of supplemental material as well as the entire 10-part TV series and a specially re-edited feature-length version.

Check out the press release below for full details about the release and the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder celebration of science fiction in film and television, and a couple of short clips from The Boy From Space too. 

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 (Catweazel, Adventures of Robin Hood), the series starred Sylvestra Le Touzel (Mansfield Park, Amazing Grace, Happy-Go-Lucky), Stephen Garlick (The Tomorrow People, The Dark Crystal), Colin Mayes (Scum, All Quiet on the Western Front), John Woodnutt (Z Cars, Children of the Stones, Doctor Who) and Gabriel Woolf (Emergency-Ward 10, Doctor 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
 
Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder will be a three month celebration of film and television's original blockbuster genre. It will include a three-month programme at BFI Southbank, from 20 October until 31 December 2014, and very special events, guests and screenings right across the UK. Classic Sci-Fi titles will be released into UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray. There will be an extensive education programme, 50+ films available online through BFI Player, a BFI Sci-Fi Compendium, nine new BFI Film Classics published with Palgrave Macmillan, exciting new partnerships, special guests and commentators, all of which will celebrate cinema's most spectacular and visionary genre, exploring how the fear and wonder at its heart continues to inspire and enthral.
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  • Gozan

    What's more terrifying, I wonder, this or the Slovak "She Came Out of the Blue Sky" (Spadla z oblakov)? The TV people certainly don't traumatise children like they used to...

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