Danny talks about the reshowing of the drama section of Look And Read on the CBBC channel on appropriately titled Do You See? I am lucky enough to still have the tie-in booklet (ie the bit we were supposed to READ) of The Boy From Space. A shoddy 48 page pamphlet printed with a two colour cover (those exciting, schoolyard bully favourites black and blue). Richard Carpenter, the author, was therefore responsible for the worst nightmares I had as a child, though in this format it is hard to believe my existential night terrors.

My fear was directed towards the villain of the piece, The Thin Grey Man, who drifted around the first five episodes standing in the distance in a flasher mac and looking sinister. However in Chapter Six (Where Is Tom) the Thin Grey Man confronts the Boy From Space (Peep-Peep, called so because he speaks funny) and kindly adult Mr Bunting.

“The thin man pointed the gun at them and they had to walk away from the cars. Then the thin man turned and pointed his gun at Tom’s car. There was a strange humming sound and it slowly melted away. Then he pointed at Mr Bunting’s car and made that melt, too.”

The televisiual presentation of this is not as big budget as the text suggests. Melting was beyong the Schools TV budget, instead we got a red light and the car vanishing. It was around about this point that I came to terms with the idea of not existing. Combined with a thoroughly creapy man in a stranger danger mac, it contributed to the odd sleepless night. That and the creapy old lady I had to take cans to in the Harvest Festival and who moaned at me because she didn’t like sweetcorn.

Anyway, the Boy From Space is pretty rubbish, both as literature and television. Proof of this comes from the climatic twist. Peep-Peep seems to be able to read, albeit by use of a mirror, which finally gives the kids a realisation that they can talk in mirror writing. The justification for this, I shall now repeat verbatim…(Feel free to scoff).

“‘How did they learn to write?’ I aksed
Peep-peep’s father had been showing Mr Bunting something. When Mr Bunting came back to us he was laughing. He held up a big plastic bag.
‘They’ve been on Earth before,’ he said. ‘They must have found this bag with writing on if.’
‘That’s mirror-writing,’ said Dan. ‘We don’t write like that.’
‘No, Dan,’ said Mr Binting. ‘The bag is inside out.’ He turned it the right way round. ‘ You see?’
Now we could read the writing on the bag.
‘Danger, keep away from children.’ There was a lot more writing on the bag.
‘That’s how they leanred to write,’ said Mr Bunting.
He turned the bag inside out again. ‘But they learnt like this, back to front.’
We all laughed. “

Too fucking right we laughed….