He was that strange silver haired boy that freaked out classrooms across the land. To some he gave nightmares, to others he gave strange noises to shout out in the playground! He was The Boy From Space!
Written by Richard Carpenter (Catweazel, Adventures of Robin Hood) and shown as part of BBC’s Look and Read Education series, The Boy From Space was originally shown in 1971 in black & white, then reshown in colour in 1980. It is the 1980 version than traumatised me as a child, especially the eerie electronic music provided by Paddy Kingsland of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
In the show we meet Peep-Peep, played by Colin Mayes (Scum, All Quiet on the Western Front) a mysterious alien child, who is helped by two children, Dan, played by Stephen Garlick (The Tomorrow People, Doctor Who, The Dark Crystal) and Helen, played by Sylvestra Le Touzel (Doctor Who, The Professionals, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, The Univited, Utopia) and a kindly local astrologer named Mister Bunting, played by Anthony Woodruff (The Tall Guy, Tales of the Unexpected, Mystery!: Malice Aforethought).
Peep-Peep is given his name by Dan and Helen due to the strange noises he makes. As they children get to know each other Dan and Helen discover Peep-Peep is being relentlessly stalked by an evil alien hunter known as The Thin Man played by John Woodnutt (Knightmare, Lifeforce). Peep-Peep is saved on a number of occasions by the children’s quick-witted reading abilities. Thus encouraging us viewers to get better at reading in order to help poor old Peep-Peep!
One of the problems the children faced was that Peep-Peep’s language was different to our own. It turned out, in a dramatic twist, the Peep-Peep was in fact speaking English, only written backwards. He had learned it from reading an inside out plastic bag, and took this to be the actual language of the planet.
Once this problem was ironed out, the power of reading saved everyone!