The Boy From Space (1971) (DVD review).

October 6, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More

‘The Boy From Space’ is a BBC educational series which first appeared in the 70s and was then rehashed in the 80s in a much more substantial format. Its purpose was to educate children and help them to read and write. By all accounts, it was a very successful project and many people, especially of an age 40 plus, will remember it vividly. The BFI has collected everything together for a DVD release. Why, you may ask? Is it still relevant? Maybe the kids today would not be able to appreciate this type of material but the world hasn’t changed that much and I think it will still find a home somewhere or other. The main purpose for its release is probably one of posterity because the considerable efforts put into the series by everyone involved at the BBC should not go by the wayside. This is a sort of testament to their exceptional work.


Being too old when it came on radio and TV, ‘The Boy From Space’ is something that passed me by all these years ago, so this is my first encounter of any kind. If the package is to achieve a moderate success it will have to appeal to a wider audience than those of a childhood age when it was first broadcast. On looking at it, the first impression was the music from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. I think it would be a winner just for this alone but the rest of the stuff is well worth watching and I’m sure it will appeal to children today.

A brother and sister meet up with an alien who arrives via a meteorite of sorts and from this appears an alien boy called Peep Peep. What were they trying to do here? Not long after Enoch Powell’s speech about immigrants, is this an attempt to make children familiar with aliens speaking a weird language? Why not? If you can get used to an alien from outer space then encountering a Punjabi, Bangladeshi, Jamaican or Vietnamese would be a doddle in comparison. Maybe this was the real reason behind the series?

The series was written by Richard Carpenter, who was also responsible for ‘The Adventures Of Robin Hood’ and ‘Catweasle’. In it, you will find 10 episodes plus lots of other features, the most impressive being a 70 minute presentation especially edited for this release. It also contains extensive audio material originally put out on vinyl records. In all, the material from 1971 and 1980 is well over three hours in length. It comes in English with optional sub-titles.

This isn’t something I would particularly go out to purchase myself but, if you have a child of primary school age, it could be a good present for a birthday or for Christmas. Alternatively, for someone with an interest in broadcasting history, there’s a lot of material here which will be of interest. At least, now with the BFI collection, ‘The Boy From Space’ will not disappear into obscurity.

Rod MacDonald

September 2014

(region 2 DVD: British Film Institute. 2 DVDs 200 minutes 10 * 20 minute episodes plus extras. ASIN: B00L567NVC. Price: £22.99 (UK))

cast: Sylvestra Le Touzel, Loftus Burton, Stephen Garlick, Colin Mayes and John Woodnutt

Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English

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Category: Scifi, TV

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Comments (2)

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  1. Michelle Wilbye says:

    Just thought you’d like to know I’ve just read two reviews of the CFF dvd releases on SFcrowsnest.


  2. Michelle Wilbye says:

    Whoops! Thought I was sending the last comment to the Children’s Media Foundation.

    Excellent reviews! Many thanks for your efforts.

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