Read All About It!
|Read All About It!|
|Created by||Clive Endersby|
|Developed by||Jeremy Pollock|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||40|
|Running time||15 minutes|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original run||1979 – 1983|
Read All About It! was a Canadian educational television series that was produced from 1979 to 1983 by TVOntario that aired during the early to mid-1980s; It also aired in repeats in the 1990s. It starred David Craig Collard as Chris, Lydia Zajc as Lynne, Stacey Arnold as Samantha, and Sean Hewitt as Duneedon, ruler of the galaxy Trialviron. In the second season Michael Dwyer joined the cast as Alex. The main goal of the show was to educate viewers in reading, writing and history. Each episode ran for approximately 15 minutes. Eric Robertson composed the music for the show.
The show is set in the fictitious town of Herbertville, where Chris inherited his uncle Derek's coach house after a mysterious disappearance. Chris and his friends Lynne and Samantha started a newspaper called The Herbertville Chronicle in uncle Derek's coach house. The coach house contained two artificially intelligent robots: Otto, a device which communicated by printing its thoughts on paper; and Theta, a talking computer with an integrated monitor. The coach house also held a transporter which allowed teleportation to and from the galaxy of Trialviron, as well as transporting many literary characters like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Merlin the Magician from King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, and Captain Hook from Peter Pan into the coach house. The first season focused on the newspaper uncovering a conspiracy by mayor Don Eden (the alter ego of Duneedon, the ruler of the galaxy Trialvaron) who wants to claim King's Park as his own to get a rare mineral he needs to invade Earth. The second season revolved around various storylines: Samantha moves away, but the group meets a new friend; the kids engage in battle with General Isaac Brock during the War of 1812 (with a notable appearance of Graham Greene); they have to stop the Book Destroyer; and have a final confrontation with Duneedon.
Read All About It! episodes are presented as "chapters" as in a book.
- Chapter 01: COACH HOUSE - Chris, Lynne, and Sam visit an old coach house that was passed on to Chris by his uncle who is presumed dead. They find out about a conspiracy in Herbertville after meeting two robots, Otto and Theta.
- Chapter 02: THE STRANGER - The three friends say they are using the house to publish a newspaper. Suddenly Samantha and Lynne find themselves wheeling through space by a transporter.
- Chapter 03: PROBLEM PIT - Samantha and Lynne meet Duneedon and become trapped in the Problem Pit where they must answer a number of word problems.
- Chapter 04: ACCIDENTAL VISITOR - The Queen of Hearts tumbles out of the transporter by mistake and Chris discovers her identity in the library.
- Chapter 05: THE FIRST EDITION - An unknown intruder tries to prevent publication of the Chronicle which contains Sam's story about Duneedon.
- Chapter 06: THE STOLEN MESSAGE - Chris and Samantha intercept a message from Duneedon ordering the Chronicle stopped.
- Chapter 07: STRANGE DISCOVERIES - Lynne discovers that the Mayor of Herbertville is none other than Duneedon himself.
- Chapter 08: 'TIS MAGIC - Merlin the Magician uses his magic powers to send Chris and Lynne to Trialviron.
- Chapter 09: RHYME TIME - In Trialviron, Chris and Lynne meet the poet, Doctor Crystal Couplet, who helps them reach the Place of Change.
- Chapter 10: THE PLACE OF CHANGE - After Lynne and Chris escape from Trialviron, they help Sam with the second edition of the Chronicle.
- Chapter 11: VOICES IN THE PARK - Lynne interviews a company of actors. An oldtimer, Mr. Walker, tells her about a mysterious house five decades ago.
- Chapter 12: AN EVIL PIRATE - The transporter suddenly produces an irate Captain Hook, who creates a few tense moments for the kids.
- Chapter 13: SEEK AND SPEAK - Lynne writes a speech to help preserve King's Park. Sam and Chris are trapped in an old factory by Duneedon and his agents.
- Chapter 14: CLOSER TO THE TRUTH - Lynne finds out about the mysterious Manor House fire. Sam and Chris find a document the evil Duneedon forged to grab control of the city park.
- Chapter 15: TIME FOR ACTION - The three friends put together a new edition of the paper and Lynne gives her speech to save the park.
- Chapter 16: TO THE RESCUE - Chris sends a message that he's trapped on Trialviron. The genie from Aladdin's lamp transports Sam and Lynne to the Shifting Sands.
- Chapter 17: PICTURE IN YOUR MIND - Doctor Couplet helps send Sam and Lynne to the Planet of Maze.
- Chapter 18: THE PLANET OF MAZE - Lynne and Sam help Chris and his uncle escape from the Planet of Maze by answering riddling questions.
- Chapter 19: SPECIAL EDITION - The police round up Duneedon's agents. A special edition of the Chronicle exposes the conspiracy.
- Chapter 20: THE SHOWDOWN - When Duneedon tries to destroy Otto and Theta and trap Lynne and Sam, he is outfoxed and sent on a one-way trip to Trialviron.
- Chapter 01: ANNIVERSARY- The Herbertville Chronicle celebrates its first anniversary and the group is introduced to the "two-way" communication device.
- Chapter 02: BACK IN TIME- Chris and Sam find an old chart at the spot where the mysterious boy dematerialized and send a picture of it back to Lynne, who begins researching clues.
- Chapter 03: GENERAL BROCK - When General Brock finds Sam and Chris in his room, he has a hard time believing they are from the future and are not American spies. Once convinced, he offers to help them. (filmed on location at Fort George)
- Chapter 04: JOURNEY TO QUEENSTON - Sam and Chris meet an Indian named John Norton, who leads them towards Queenston and then leaves them in the care of his compatriot, Laura Secord.
- Chapter 05: DEATH AT DAWN - Sam and Chris finally manage to save the young stranger, and the three time-travellers narrowly escape being caught in the War of 1812.
- Chapter 06: A PLEA FOR HELP - After learning what their names mean from Otto and Theta, they hear a voice calling for help from the pages of Cinderella. They magically disappear into Book World to attempt a rescue.
- Chapter 07: WHERE VILLAINS ROAM - In their search for the Book Destroyer, Lynne and Alex must deal with both the "Mirror on the Wall" and the wicked queen from Snow White.
- Chapter 08: AN EVIL SMILE - Lynne and Alex encounter Count Dracula and Rip Van Winkle on their quest to find the Book Destroyer.
- Chapter 09: THE BOOK DESTROYER - The Book Destroyer traps Lynne and Alex in her mine and says they must help her erase all villains from books.
- Chapter 10: PROBLEMS - Chris and Samantha work on an advertisement to rent her house. Samantha is distressed and touchy at having to leave Herbertville.
- Chapter 11: THE FINAL DAY- Sam and Rita become fast friends and Sam promises to write from Victoria about her new experiences.
- Chapter 12: A NEW BEGINNING - Rita surprises Sam with the news that she is writing a book based on Sam's move to Victoria.
- Chapter 13: MANY DIFFERENT STORIES - Chris comes back from the library with a copy of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew". Lynne and Alex help him devise a fantastic story for Rita.
- Chapter 14: THE REMARKABLE MR. WETHERBY - Just when Chris and Lynne think they are having a dull summer, an unusual visitor turns up at the Coach House. It is the ghost of Mr. Wetherby.
- Chapter 15: ONE GHOST TOO MANY - Chris and Lynne are having a hard time coping with Mr. Wetherby's strict supervision. They research the former principal's likes and dislikes and embark on a scheme to get rid of him.
- Chapter 16: THE FORCE - Chris, Alex and Lynne are reading a letter from Sam when they receive an urgent message from Trialviron.
- Chapter 17: CHOICES - After realizing they are the only ones who can save the people of Trialviron, Lynne, Alex, and Chris set two conditions before agreeing to help.
- Chapter 18: THE AMBASSADORS - Alex and Chris arrive on the planet of Trivia and discover a strange tunnel.
- Chapter 19: TRAPPED - Alex and Chris work hard to get everyone off Trialviron, then discover that Duneedon has tricked them.
- Chapter 20: FINAL MOMENTS - It looks as if Chris, Alex, and Lynne will vanish with the rest of Trialviron unless someone shows up to help them. An unexpected visitor arrives at the Coach House, and Otto and Theta print out instructions to save their friends.
Lack of DVD release
There are presently no plans for a DVD release. According to writer Clive Endersby:
"Unfortunately, as far as I know there are no plans to do anything with them [Read All About It and Polka Dot Door]. Due to special 'educational' arrangements (ie: lower fees) that channels like TVOntario had with the various unions (Writers, actors, directors, musicians) renewals of clearance rights and royalties had to be paid in advance for a set number of years — rather than an after-payment of a percentage of sales as is normal for commercial programs.
"Because of the cutbacks (or lack of growth) in funding for these types of stations, they cannot afford to renew these clearances 'up front' which would decimate their program budgets in any one year. Both TVO and the various union members would dearly love to switch these contracts to a 'percentage of a sales' system but the law is the law and neither side can change an existing contract without agreement from all who signed it." 
- Read All About It! at the Internet Movie Database
- Read All About It! Fan site
- TVO theme songs
- It Came From Nowhere , a short story influenced by and containing several references to Read All About It! by Ottawa author Zachary Houle , originally published in The Danforth Review  online journal of Canadian literature.